Issue - meetings
Housing Benefit Grant Claim
The Committee considered the report of the Head of Revenues and Benefits summarising the outcome of the work undertaken by Grant Thornton, the External Auditor, to certify the Housing Benefits subsidy claim submitted by the Council for the financial year 2014/15. It was noted that:
· The claim related to expenditure of £46.6m.
· This year’s testing had identified errors in respect of the classification of overpayments relating to non-Housing Revenue Account rent rebates. In a number of cases, where the Council had paid rent in advance and the claimant had moved out, the overpayment was erroneously classified as eligible (which attracts subsidy) rather than technical (which does not). The Officers had reviewed all cases of this type and the External Auditor had retested a sample of their work. It was concluded that the majority of overpayments were misclassified, resulting in a reduction to subsidy payable of £22,552. The Officers had undertaken to review all overpayments relating to such properties raised during 2015/16 to ensure that they are correctly classified before completing that year’s subsidy claim. Revised procedures had been put in place to mitigate the risk of the error re-occurring.
· Whilst the work had given rise to minor amendments (99.96% accuracy), the overall assurance provided through the certification work confirmed that the Council continued to have good systems in place to ensure the accuracy of its grant claim.
RESOLVED: That the assurance provided by Grant Thornton that the Council maintains a strong control environment for the preparation and monitoring of grant claims and returns be noted, and that the Officers be congratulated on the outcome of the certification work.