Agenda item

Use of Managing Director's Urgency Powers

1.   To note the use of urgency powers to agree to participate in the Worcestershire business Rates Pool for 2023/24 only;

 

2.   To delegate to the Corporate Director – Finance and Resources authority to finalise the arrangements for the pool in consultation with the Chair and the Vice-chairs of the Policy and Resources Committee;

 

3.   To note the use of urgency powers to implement a scheme for additional financial support for Ukrainian refugees; and

 

4.   To note the use of urgency powers to allocate Household Support Grant funding for the period October 2022 to March 2023.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the use of urgency powers. The Corporate Director – Finance and Resources presented the report and summarised the decisions, which were:

 

Continued Participation in Worcestershire Business Rates Pool for 2023/24

The report set out the rationale for the decision. The proposal was discussed at the Leaders/CLT Group meeting on 5 September. Urgency powers were used to enable a formal commitment and to delegate responsibility to Officers to finalise the agreement in discussion with other participating councils.

 

Discretionary Financial Support for Ukrainian Refugees

Worcestershire Leaders Board on 16 November 2022 had agreed a ‘One Worcestershire’ approach to ‘top up’ payments beyond the Government’s £350 pcm ‘thank you’ payment to host households. Further proposals were recommended by Worcester City Council and it was resolved to proceed with the agreed approach, with the additions, as outlined in the report. As this consensus was developed in advance of the timeline for publication of Committee papers, it was determined to use Managing Director’s urgency powers, subject to agreement with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Communities Committee, to achieve agreement and report to the next Policy & Resources Committee. The agreed split in funding of 70:30 (70% to the districts) will be maintained.

 

Household Support Fund Allocations

On 30 September 2022, the Government announced that a new Household Support Fund (HSF) grant will be made available to County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England to support those most in need with the rising cost of living. Proposals had been developed through workshops between County and District Council leads and key local delivery partners. The City Council had been allocated £189,089. The Government anticipates that the funding will be spent or committed by 31st March 2023. A summary of the proposals allocation of funding was set out in the report:

 

Free School Meals - £25,000

Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme - £50,000

Worcester Foodbank - £50,000

Spend to Save grants instead of loans - £30,000

Multi-agency crisis fund - £25,000

Administration of crisis fund - £5,000

Marketing and promotion - £4,089

Total - £189,089

 

To expedite this process and enable the funding to be defrayed in full within the required timetable, the Managing Director's urgency powers were used to proceed with allocating the funding as set out above, in agreement with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Committee. The outcomes will be reported to that Committee at a subsequent meeting.

 

Committee Members expressed support for the decisions taken.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee agree to:

 

1.    note the use of urgency powers to agree to participate in the Worcestershire business Rates Pool for 2023/24 only;

 

2.    delegate to the Corporate Director – Finance and Resources authority to finalise the arrangements for the pool in consultation with the Chair and the Vice-Chairs of the Policy and Resources Committee;

 

3.    note the use of urgency powers to implement a scheme for additional financial support for Ukrainian refugees; and

 

4.    note the use of urgency powers to allocate Household Support Grant funding for the period October 2022 to March 2023.

Supporting documents: