Making discretionary payments work for you
Can discretionary financial support systems be effective, transparent and robust?
FREE WORKSHOPS Spring 2017
|This is a great opportunity to find out more about local discretionary welfare and hardship payments
Local discretionary welfare awards are an increasingly important part of the welfare system. In times of austerity, discretionary financial awards with fixed budgets are likely to become more common. And without local payments such as Discretionary Housing Payments, some aspects of Housing Benefit legalisation would not be legal.
From the Government’s perspective, Discretionary Housing Payments and local welfare are really good value for money. For a relatively small investment, they take the sting out of welfare reform and allow Ministers to argue that provision has been made for vulnerable cases. It is clear that Ministers see more local discretionary awards as key feature in the future of welfare.
I am able to announce today a simplification and alignment of the application of the local housing allowance policy for general needs accommodation, in light of the changes that have been made to supported housing. We propose to bring in the policy for general needs accommodation in the social rented sector in 2019, instead of 2018 as previously announced, to align with the changes to supported housing…….For Housing Benefit it will apply, as announced at autumn statement 2015, to tenants who have signed new or re-let tenancies from 1 April 2016 and their social sector rent is higher than the local housing allowance rate.
For Universal Credit, to ensure simplicity and a streamlined process, local housing allowance rates will apply to all new and existing tenants, again only where their social rent is higher than the relevant local housing allowance rate……….
Additional discretionary housing payments were made available at autumn statement 2015 to protect the vulnerable and help people make the transition to the new rules. Damian Green, Hansard 21/11/2016
Therefore, it is becoming more and more important to develop software that enables you to define and develop DHP policies, and that provides a framework for all the processes leading to the DHP decision. Discretionary financial awards are not about making it up as you go along, or making awards on the opinion. It is decision made a balance of rights, needs, circumstance and outcomes. As such they need to be recorded and monitored for consistency and fairness. Arbitrary decisions not matter how regular or similar are open to legal challenge.
This half-day workshop gives you the opportunity to discuss a whole range of policy issues, from the wider context to the outcome of specific court cases.
You will be able to compare your own policy with others grappling with the same issues, and you will be able to test your policy against all the latest developments.
You will also be able to look at exciting new developments in the software designed to support DHPs and other discretionary awards. The software:
- provides a helpful framework for assessing DHPs and other awards whilst ensuring maximum flexibility.
- encourages consistency, because applications where circumstances are similar are treated in the same way, but also ensures that discretion is always applied.
- provides a mechanism for deciding priorities among applicants, because the budget will nearly always be inadequate to meet all needs.
- facilitates online applications and financial assessment for use by either by applicants or by those assisting them.
- Enables you to monitor the system in real time.
You decide the policy – the system helps you implement it. The principle all along is that you, the user, defines what the system should do.
Come along to discuss the best use of discretionary awards in an ever-changing welfare world!
Further information about the workshop can be viewed at:the Team Netsol Website
|9.30am||Registration and refreshments|
|10.00||Workshop commences with introductions by the Chair|
|10.15||Paul Howarth and Malcolm Gardner discuss the increasing role of DHP and local discretionary awards in welfare provision and the implications of recent Supreme Court rulings|
|11.45||Team Netsol presents its BECS DHP solution with a demonstration and interactive discussion|
|12.45||End of workshop followed by complimentary lunch to allow you to chat further with the other attendees, or engage Team Netsol and the Welfare Reform Club on their opinions|
Workshop Dates and Venues
|Westminster||De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, Great Queen St, London, WC2B 5DA|
|Maidstone||Hilton Maidstone, Bearsted Road, Maidstone, ME14 5AA|
|Lincoln||Hilton Hotel Lincoln, Brayford Wharf N, Lincoln, LN1 1YW|
|Leicester||Hilton Leicester Hotel, 21 Junction Approach, Leicester, LE19 1WQ|
|Cambridge||Hilton Cambridge City Centre, Downing Street, CB2 3DT|
|Oxford||Oxford Spires Hotel, Abingdon Road, Oxford, OX1 4PS|
|Tuesday 4 July||Solihull||The St John’s Hotel, Warwick Road, Solihull, B91 1AT|
|Wednesday 5 July||York||The Principal York (formerly The Royal York), Station Rd, York, YO24 1AA|
|Tuesday 11 July||Southampton||New Place, Shirrell Heath, Southampton, SO32 2JY|
|Wednesday 12 July||Exeter||Jurys Inn, Exeter, Western Way, EX1 2DB|