Decision Maker: Leader of the Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
Reason(s) for decision:
Government confirmed in late June that the COVID Local Support Grant would be extended over the Summer Break. While previous acceptance and management of related grants was possible via delegated authority arising from previous decisions, it is appropriate and necessary for these previous arrangements to be noted and the ongoing acceptance of the Grant to be subject to Executive Member decision-making.
Government confirmed on 6 July 2021 that the extension would make £4.239m available for use over the Summer break.
Reason for urgency
Confirmation from Govt of the latest extension and associated arrangements prevents compliance with normal Executive decision-making timeframe while allowing for implementation in advance of the School Summer break.
Urgent Decision 20/00110 was taken in November to accept the £4.5m Government’s Covid Winter Grant and allocate it as follows:
· £2.5m on providing vouchers during the Christmas and February school holidays to families with children in receipt of benefits-related Free School meals, and other low income families as set out in paragraph 2.4
· £900k to be allocated to Districts, on the same funding formula used by DWP, to target vulnerable households in their areas
· £800k to be used by KCC services to distribute to families in financial hardship
· £500k to be earmarked for low income families who need help with food and utilities bills
The grant had to be spent between early December 2020 and 31 March 2021.
Subsequent to this initial COVID grant, various extensions and additional grants have been provided by Govt. These have been processed by KCC through a mixture of existing Officer delegation (where permitted under the previous decisions) and additional Executive Member decisions.
The DWP advised LAs that “for the summer break it is unlikely that we will be in a position to notify LAs of any funding extension until early/mid-June 2021 and appreciate that this is not ideal as LAs would prefer much more notice in order to plan and prepare for a grant extension.” The DWP issued a draft letter to LAs on 21 June 2021 informing them that the Covid Local Support grant will be extended over the summer break, with funding to be spent by 30 September 2021. Therefore, it is certain that the usual democratic processes cannot be adhered to, and an urgent decision will need to be taken by the Leader.
As Leader of the Council, I agree to:
1) Accept the grant extension from the COVID Local Support Grant for use in line with the guidance published by Department of Work and Pensions and relevant terms and conditions
2) Confirm the arrangements used to deploy previous grant funding administered under the delegated authority from Key Decision 21/00038
2) Approve use of the grant to support the provision of vouchers to families with children in receipt of benefits-related Free School Meals or families in need of support through KSAS during the Summer 2021 school holidays.
3) Authorise the Corporate Director Finance to take any other actions needed to ensure that the grant is spent in full by the date stipulated by the Department for Work and Pensions.
4) Authorise the Corporate Director Finance to take other necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement this decision.
5) Authorise the Corporate Director Finance to accept and administer any further grant monies providing they are given by government on very similar terms of reference and that they can be appropriately managed under the funding / governance framework put in place by this decision.
Urgent item?: Yes
Publication date: 06/07/2021
Date of decision: 06/07/2021