Agenda and minutes

East Herts Council and Stevenage Borough Council Joint Revenues and Benefits Committee
Monday 30th June, 2014 6.00 pm

Venue: Shimkent Room, Daneshill House, Danestrete, Stevenage, SG1 1HN

Contact: Peter Mannings  Tel: (01279) 502174 Email:

No. Item


Appointment of Chairman and Vice-Chairman


TheCommittee Clerkopened themeeting andnominations wererequested for theappointment ofthe Chairmanand ViceChairman ofthe Joint Revenues andBenefits Committeefor the2014 / 2015Municipal Year.


Itwas dulyproposed andseconded thatCouncillorM Tindalebe appointed asChairman forthe 2014/2015   MunicipalYear.


Therebeing noother nominationsa votewas takenand itwas RESOLVED thatCouncillorM Tindalebe appointedas Chairmanof theJoint Revenues andBenefits Committeefor the2014 /2015 MunicipalYear.


AsCouncillorTindale had givenhis apologiesfor themeetingit was proposed,seconded andRESOLVEDthat CouncillorL Hayseybe appointed asChairmanfor themeeting.


Itwas dulyproposed andseconded thatCouncillorMrs J Lloydbe appointed asVice Chairmanfor the2014/2015   MunicipalYear.


Therebeing noother nominationsa votewas takenand itwas RESOLVED thatCouncillorMrs J Lloydbe appointedas ViceChairman ofthe Joint Revenues andBenefits Committeefor theMunicipal Year2014 /2015.


Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest


Anapology forabsence wasreceived fromCouncillorM Tindale. There were no declarations ofinterest.


Minutes - 28 January 2014 pdf icon PDF 88 KB


Itwas RESOLVEDthat theMinutes ofthe meetingof heldon 28January 2014 beapproved asa correctrecord andsigned bythe Chair.


Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 127 KB

The Committee is requested to receive a report detailing the current position in the following areas:

·        Performance Reporting

·        Budget Outturn 2013/2014

·        Other Challenges.

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report detailing the current position in the following areas:


1.  Performance Monitoring

2.  Budget Outturn 2013/2014

3.  Other Challenges


The Committee was advised that the shared service was currently.under review with Directors of both authorities involved.


The Committee was further advised that the performance of the service should be judged against a backdrop of an increasing number of claimant cases and an increasing workload within those cases as the service was operating at a level 54.7% higher than when originally scoped.


In reply to a number of questions relating to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) the Committee was advised that as there were a high number of applicants reapplying for this benefit a decision had been taken to review the cases of those not reapplying to determine if they were missing out on potential benefits.  Demand for DHP had increased in Stevenage and it was noted that there had been a proactive working arrangement between the Housing Service in Stevenage and the Revenues and Benefits Team to identify those most in need.


The Committee was reminded that DHP was not a 'proxy' for benefits payments and that many claims had been turned down because the claimant was already receiving the maximum allowance.  A review of other refused claims had revealed no underlying trends in the reason for refusal. It was noted that the claimant had no right of appeal for a refused claim but that a second officer decision on the case could be provided should the claimant request it. To date very few had taken up that option.


The issues around the localisation of Business Rates and the changes to collection arrangements were discussed and the Committee was advised that both Councils had replied in strong terms to a Central Government consultation and had highlighted the issues that local authorities faced when dealing with businesses that were skilled in reducing their tax burdens.   Appeals by businesses tied up Council resources and led to uncertainty about future income levels.


The Committee was further advised that the administrative burden for a raft of discretionary  business  rate reliefs introduced  by the Government  was currently  the responsibility  of the Local Authority.


The Committee was advised of the intention  of the Department  of Work and Pensions  (OWP) to introduce  a Single  Fraud Investigation  Service into Stevenage  and East Herts from  1 May 2015.   Officers  were  currently considering  their options  and a report would  be presented to the Executive at both Councils in late Autumn.


It was RESOLVED that the report be received and noted.


Urgent Part 1 Business

To consider any Part I Business accepted by the Chair as urgent.




Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider the following motions:
1.That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs 1-7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by SI2006 No.88.
2.That Members consider the reasons for the following reports (if any) being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.


Not required.


Urgent Part 2 Business

To consider any Part II Business accepted by the Chair as urgent.