Decision details

Household Support Fund (HSF) Grant Extension (HSF5) – 01st April 2024 to 30th September 2024

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member - Children's Safeguarding and Early Years

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

The Household Support Fund (HSF), first introduced in 2021/22, is being extended by the Government through 2024/25. Additional funding (the “Extended 2024/25 HSF Funding”) has been made available to County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England to support those most in need to help with global inflationary challenges and the significantly rising cost of living. The Extended 2024/25 HSF Funding is intended for use in the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024 inclusive.



The Extended 2024/25 HSF Funding is being provided for the purpose to provide support to households, who would otherwise struggle to buy food or pay essential utility bills or meet other essential living costs or housing costs (in exceptional cases of genuine emergency) to help them with living costs.



The purpose of this report is to seek the approval for the recommendations in relation to the distribution of the Extended 2024/25 HSF Funding (amounting to £3,692,483.14) that is being provided by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for allocation in the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024.

Decision:

In coming to this decision I have given due and full regard to the requirements of the public sector equality duty contained in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”) by reference to the law itself and also the relevant Equality Impact Assessment, which was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Act. Having fully considered all the available information, I have decided to reject the alternative options and take the recommended decision to:

 

 1. Approve the allocation of the Extended 2024/25 HSF Funding (amounting to £3,692,482) as follows:

 

 (a) £369,248 to the recruitment and remuneration of additional council staff in order to provide administration support in relation to the distribution of such funding to qualifying households during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024 as well as meet other necessary administration costs.

 

(b) £812,500 to the six District Councils in Gloucestershire to be apportioned between them in accordance with the delegated authority sought under Recommendation 3 below, for the purpose of them each providing their own localised schemes to target the needs of the most vulnerable during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024 (whilst complying with the grant conditions set by the DWP for delivery of the Extended 2024/25 HSF Funding i.e., to provide support with food, energy and water bills, household items & other essential items).

 

 (c) £300,000 to be allocated to the Holiday, Activities and Food (HAF) Programme for the purpose of extending the scope of the HAF Programme to provide support to vulnerable children and young people who would not otherwise be eligible under the criteria set by the national programme during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024.

 

 d) £529,350 to be allocated to the Gloucestershire Food Network and the Eat Well Wagon in order to provide additional holiday support for food during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024.

 

(e) £150,000 to be allocated to the charity known as Severn Wye Energy Agency for the provision of energy related support to Gloucestershire residents and those in need following a referral by Gloucestershire County Council’s (GCC’s) HSF team and/or any of the District Councils during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024.

 

 (f) £60,000 to be allocated to food banks for the supply of emergency food provision during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024.

 

(g) £640,000 to be allocated to funding the supply and/or distribution of food vouchers, fuel vouchers, white goods, and household emergency support during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024 under the call-off contract for which delegated authority is sought under Recommendation 2 below.

 

(h) £794,675 to be allocated to provide food vouchers to those eligible for free school meals during the school holidays (Summer 2024 and October 2024) under the call-off contract for which delegated authority is sought under Recommendation 2 below.

 

(i) £36,710 to be held in the 103524 cost centre to allow officers to assess progress with the above schemes and make further allocations in response to need in accordance with the terms and conditions imposed on GCC by the DWP in relation to GCC’s use of the Extended 2024/25 HSF Funding.

 

2. Delegate authority to the Executive Director of Children’s Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years to award a call-off contract, under the council’s Welfare Support Services Framework Agreement, to the sole appointed provider thereunder, namely Auriga Services Limited, for the supply and/or distribution of the following food vouchers, fuel vouchers, white goods and household emergency support during the period 1st April 2024 to 30th September 2024:

 

 (a) £640,000 in fuel vouchers, food vouchers, white goods, and household emergency support in response to applications received from residents of Gloucestershire for such vouchers, white goods, and emergency support; and

 

(b) £794,675 in food vouchers to children and young people who are eligible to receive free school meals, in order to provide holiday food support during school holidays and provide directly targeted support to low income households.

 

 3. Delegate authority to the Executive Director of Children’s Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years to determine the proportions in which the funding described in Recommendation 1(b) shall be allocated to each of the six District Councils in Gloucestershire following the conclusion of a planning exercise to determine the most effective method for providing localised schemes to target the needs of the most vulnerable. For the reasons set out in the report.

Publication date: 30/05/2024

Date of decision: 30/05/2024

Effective from: 07/06/2024

Accompanying Documents: