DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENTS REVIEW COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 14th February, 2018.
Present: Councillor K.F. McCaffer (Chairman); Councillors L. Burnett, K.P. Mahoney and N. Moore.
Also present: The Applicant’s Representative; Ms. C. Delaney, Ms. A. Rudman, Mr. N. Smith and Mr. J. Wyatt (Vale of Glamorgan Council).
694 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillor A. Parker (Vice-Chairman).
695 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations of interest were received.
696 DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENT APPEAL PROCESS (HOF) –
The Chairman welcomed those present to the hearing, facilitated introductions and outlined the hearing procedure as contained in the hearing papers.
The Chairman then invited the Operational Manager (Exchequer Services) to present the Part I report, who began by advising that the Council was responsible for administering Housing Benefit in accordance with the statutory requirement to assist claimants to pay their rental obligations based on their financial circumstances and the level of rent payable.
The Council had the discretion to further assist the claimant using Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) based on other circumstances brought to the Council’s attention to maintain their tenancy. The Council’s DHP policy was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. Attached at Appendix 2 was the Department for Work and Pensions’ Discretionary Housing Payment Guidance Manual.
The Council had the obligation to administer DHP on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the budgeted amount of DHP was decided by the DWP annually and allocated to each Council.
The Officer drew the Committee’s attention to paragraphs of particular importance within both the Local Authority’s Policy and DWP Guidance Manual that supported the following points:
- Each DHP application received would be assessed on an individual case basis;
- Any DHP application made would be assessed on the information provided within the application form and was reliant on the amount of information provided by the applicant;
- Any backdated payments would be at the discretion of the Local Authority.
An appeal had been lodged by an individual against the refusal to grant a DHP and the detailed paperwork relating to the appeal was contained in Part II of the agenda.
RESOLVED – T H A T the Council’s procedure in relation to an appeal against the Council’s refusal to apply a Discretionary Housing Payment in respect of Housing Benefit be noted.
Reason for decision
To apprise Members.
697 EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC –
RESOLVED – T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.
698 DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENT APPEAL: C (HOF) (EXEMPT INFORMATION – PARAGRAPH 14) –
The Committee received representations from the Vale of Glamorgan Officers and the Appellant’s Representative.
In reaching a decision, the Committee had considered the original Discretionary Housing Payments application and subsequent decision made, along with both written and oral submissions. The Committee had taken into account the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations 2008, Home Office Guidance and the Council’s Statement of Payments Policy.
RESOLVED – T H A T the original decision of the Local Authority of 4th April, 2017, to refuse an application for Discretionary Housing Payment, be upheld.
Reason for decision
In the absence of expenditure evidence to contradict the Local Authority’s decision.