Ms Smith (Assistant Director for Corporate Parenting) and Mr Patel (Team Manager, Care Leavers Service) were in attendance for this item
(1) Ms Smith briefly introduced the report which set out a proposal for Kent County Council to fund council tax payments for all young people eligible to pay council tax, who were Kent Care Leavers aged from 18 years, up to the age of 21 years.
Officers then responded to comments and questions from Members, including the following: -
(a) Ms Smith referred to the estimated cost implication for Kent County Council paying council tax for care leavers aged 18-21 of £594,230 per annum and confirmed that the estimated figure was based on the current amount that Kent’s care leavers were paying in council tax per year.
(b) Ms Smith stated that Kent’s care leavers would still be expected and eligible to claim for discounts, for example, Single Person Discount.
(c) Ms Smith confirmed that out of the 90 local authorities that currently offered council tax exemption or the funding of council tax, there were 11 that funded council tax up to the age of 25. Mr Dunkley added that the more substantive cost to funding council tax for care leavers was the cost of the social work associated with the care leavers and that Kent County Council did not have the social work capacity to offer to individuals who were not receiving a service.
(d) Ms Smith explained the ways in which Kent’s care leavers would be kept informed in relation to the funding of their council tax payments.
(e) Ms Hammond confirmed that all care leavers between the ages of 18 and 21 had to have a personal advisor and were open to Kent’s service.
(2) RESOLVED that the decision proposed to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services to:
(i) agree that Kent County Council will fund the council tax payments for Kent young people who are Care Leavers from the age of 18 years, up to the age of 21 years. All young people will be supported and expected to claim any council tax benefit/discount entitlement that they are eligible for. e.g. singled person, student, severe impairment of mental capacity etc. No back dated payments or arrears will be funded by Kent County Council;
(ii) implement from 1st April 2020 and to be published in the Kent Local Offer for Care Leavers; and
(iii)delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, or other nominated officer, to undertake the necessary actions to implement the decision,