Your Councillors

Policy & Resources Committee

18 September 2019

 

Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2020-2021

 

Final Decision-Maker

Full Council

Lead Head of Service/Lead Director

Stephen McGinnes

Mid Kent Services Director

Lead Officer and Report Author

Sheila Coburn

Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits Partnership

Classification

Public

Wards affected

All

 

Executive Summary

 

Each year Full Council has to approve the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for the following year.

 

Where there are changes proposed, it is necessary for a public consultation to take place, requiring an early decision on any proposed changes.

 

This report recommends there are no changes to the current scheme for 2020-2021 for the reasons set out in paragraph 2.8.

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That this committee recommends to Council to carry forward the 2019-2020 Council Tax Reduction scheme to 2020-2021 with no changes to the scheme.

 

2.    That this committee notes that in the absence of any proposed change, no public consultation will be undertaken.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Corporate Leadership Team

20 August 2019

Policy & Resources Committee

18 September 2019

Council

11 December 2019



Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2020-2021

 

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

Homes and Communities.

The council needs to balance

the needs of low income

households with the wider

interest of local taxpayers to

ensure that vulnerable

residents are protected

whilst providing a scheme

that is affordable.

Sheila Coburn, Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits Partnership

Risk Management

The risks associated with implementing and operating the scheme are low. Endorsement of a scheme helps reduce the risk.

Sheila Coburn, Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits

Partnership

Financial

CTR reduces the amount of

Council Tax that can be

collected. The cost of the scheme is met in full by the

council and preceptors.

The total cost of the scheme is £9.7 million

Finance Team

Staffing

No impact

 

Sheila Coburn, Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits Partnership

Legal

Section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 requires the Council to adopt a Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Schedule 1A of the Act requires the Council to consider whether to revise or replace its scheme for each year. 

 

The Act contains a statutory duty to consult on a proposed scheme, with guiding principles for fair consultation set out in case law. As the proposed 2020-2021 scheme is unchanged from the current year 2019-2020, and consultation took place in 2017, no further consultation is necessary

 

Keith Trowell, Team Leader (Corporate Governance), MKLS

Privacy and Data Protection

The Council already holds information on its residents and it is anticipated the same information will be held under any new scheme.

 

The data will be held and processed in accordance with the data protection principles contained in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

 Keith Trowell, Team Leader (Corporate Governance), MKLS

Equalities

The recommendations do not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment

 

Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer

Public Health

We recognise that the recommendations will not negatively impact on population health or that of individuals.

 

 

Crime and Disorder

No impact

Sheila Coburn, Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits Partnership

Procurement

No impact

Sheila Coburn, Head of Mid Kent Revenues and Benefits Partnership

 

 

 

 

2    INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1  The Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) was introduced in April 2013 as

       a replacement for Council Tax Benefit (CTB), a national scheme

       administered on behalf of the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP).

 

2.2  When the government gave responsibility to local government to introduce

       a local scheme, funding in the form of a Grant was cut by 10%.

       Government also protected the entitlement of elderly claimants meaning

       the reduction for working age population was in the region of 20%.

 

2.3  Councils introduced a local scheme which each year must be approved by   

       Full Council.

 

2.4   The scheme is ‘underpinned’ by the Kent-wide agreement, which recognises

        that all Kent districts (as the billing authorities) will seek to have a common

        ‘platform’.

 

2.5   Councils in Kent have, or are in the planning stages of implementing a

        banded scheme

 

2.6   Any changes to the scheme for any year have to go for public consultation

   before being approved.

 

2.7   The current scheme for 2019-20 was approved by Full Council in

 December 2018 with no changes being made.

 

2.8   With changes within the welfare system, the current scheme is

   becoming outdated, promoting consideration across Kent of a simpler

   banded scheme.

 

2.9   Whilst further analysis is being undertaken to model the impact of

        moving to a banded scheme, it is proposed  that no changes are made for

        2020-21 for the following reasons:

 

·         Universal Credit went live in November 2018 and the current financial year 2019-2020 is the first full financial year to assess the impact of the changes for households in receipt of welfare benefits

·           Simplified schemes are being introduced across the country and the

  impact for claimants and costs associated can be better measured using

  the knowledge gained from other authorities

·           Time needs to be spent modelling any changes to the current scheme. We

  will be able to use detailed and accurate data from software that has

  become available, but this could not be completed in time for

  implementation in 2020-2021

 

 

 

 

 

3   AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1   Option 1 – Move to a new scheme. The problems with implementing a new

        scheme for 2020-21 are detailed in 2.8.

 

3.2   Option 2 – Revise the current scheme.  Whilst work is being undertaken to

        model the impact of moving to a simpler banded scheme, the current

        scheme is held to be effective.  Should Committee seek to make any

        changes to the current scheme those changes would need to be modelled

        and a public consultation completed before making recommendation to Full

        Council in December 2019.

 

3.3           Option 3 – Maintain the current scheme.  In agreeing to the

   recommendation not to make any changes to the 2020-2021 scheme,

   recommendation would be made to Full Council to re confirm the scheme,

   with no public consultation required.

 

 

 

4       PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1   Option 3 is the preferred option for the reasons set out above.

 

 

 

5         RISK

5.1    The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the council does

       not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Council’s

       Risk Management Framework. The risks associated with implementing and

       operating the scheme are reduced through effective modelling and

       consultation to ensure that the impact of any change is understood.

 

 

6     CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1   Depending on the recommendation agreed by this Committee, a public consultation may need to take place.

 

 

 

7         NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1     The final decision at Full Council will be notified to those households’ affected and key stakeholders.

 

 

8         REPORT APPENDICES

 

None

 

 

9         BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None