Cost of living support – Elmbridge Borough Council best Practice note

The over-riding requirement is to distribute accurately and as quickly as possible the funds made available by Central Government to those who are eligible but without compromising appropriate control over taxpayer funds, whilst at the same time looking for ways the Council can improve, with an emphasis on digital services. 

£150 energy rebate mandatory scheme

By the end of July, we have paid 96 per cent of eligible taxpayers, two months ahead of the government deadline.

The action we took:  

  1. Paid those who pay their council tax by direct debit straightaway, covering 73 per cent of those eligible.
  2. For those who do not pay their council tax by direct debit, the Government required an application process with significant pre-payment checks.  To speed up this process, we worked with a service provider to implement an electronic application form that checks banks details and eligibility in real time.  This enabled us to make payment to over 10 per cent of those eligible.
  3. Those taxpayers who did not apply were credited the £150 to their council tax account to reduce their indebtedness where appropriate.
  4. A small percentage left over require more individual approaches.

£150 energy rebate discretionary scheme

  1. We are processing and paying applications as they arrive rather than build up large batches.
  2. Household Support Fund from the County Council
  3. We have avoided an application process and focusing on those with most need by paying to those on benefits and were also paid £150 from the energy rebate scheme.
  4. Allocated some of this funding to local charities to increase the focus on those with most need.

Working with the Citizens’ Advice 

  1. We are work closely with the local CA to offer payment plans for those struggling with council tax and other charges.

Benefits claims processing

  1. Whilst not a direct additional piece of additional financial support, prompt processing and payment of valid claims can help reduce the pressure many of the most vulnerable face.
  2. We implemented an online account service for benefit customers so they can track their claim and have visibility of when valid claims will be paid. Customers upload required documentation which ensures claim accuracy.
  3. We notify customers by email or text when they have an update on their claim. This real time communication has enabled us to process claims quickly and efficiently.