Publication - Advice and guidance

Guidance on monitoring of Discretionary Housing Payments in Scotland

Published: 4 Sep 2014

Purpose of this guidance is to ensure consistency of recording across local authorities on how to record cases which have been rolled over from a previous financial year.

Published:
4 Sep 2014
Guidance on monitoring of Discretionary Housing Payments in Scotland

Introduction

It has become clear that different local authorities have adopted different approaches to recording DHP awards which span 2013/14 and 2014/15, particularly for those affected by the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (also known as the “Bedroom Tax” by some commentators).

The purpose of this guidance is to ensure consistency of recording across local authorities on how to record cases which have been rolled over from a previous financial year.

Guidance

The information we currently collect on DHPs is:

1

What is the number of DHP applications you have received in the year to date? (If a claimant re-applies for DHPs, this should be recorded as a new application).

2

What is the number of DHP determinations you have made in the year to date? (This is the number of DHP applications where a decision has been made).

3

What is the number of DHP awards you have made in the year to date? (This is the number of DHP applications where a decision to make an award has been made).

4

What is the total value of DHP awards (in GBP) spent or committed in the year to date? (You should add up the total amount paid to each claimant. For example, if the award is £10.00 per week for 20 weeks, the total award value for the claimant should be recorded as £200.00. If the payment is a one-off payment, then the award amount for the claimant is simply the amount paid).

Where a DHP application has been rolled over from the previous financial year, for the purpose of these statistics, the application should be counted as a new application, a new determination and a new award. The value of the award (both spent and committed) should be also be included.

Within Year Extensions to existing awards

If a household has previously been awarded a DHP payment for some period of the financial year and the local authority decides to extend the award for a further period during the same financial year, this award should not be counted as an additional application, decision or award.  It should be counted only once during the financial year, as one application, one decision and one award.  The amount spent or committed should be updated to reflect the award extension. 

Example 1

At the start of the 2014/15 financial year, a local authority decides to fully mitigate the impact of the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (also known as the “Bedroom Tax”) for 600 households for the entirety of 2014/15.  The local authority commits a total of £351,000 for this purpose.

Up to 30 August 2014, a local authority has received 732 different applications for DHPs.  Some of these applications are from households newly affected by the RSRS since 1st April 2014 (and not counted in the original 600 applications).  The other applications are for other reasons entirely.  The local authority makes determinations on 682 of these applications, and decided to make an award in 652 cases.  These awards commit the local authority to DHP spending of £1,734,678 throughout 2014/15.

This information should be recorded as follows:

Question

Description

Working

Value to Submit

1

Applications

600+732=1,332

1,332

2

Determinations

600+682=1,282

1,282

3

Awards Granted

600+652=1,252

1,252

4

Total amount spent or committed

£351,000+£1,734,678= £2,085,678

2,085,678

Example 2

During September 2014, the same local authority has received new DHP applications from 100 households.  It has made decisions on 80 of these and decided to award in 75 cases.  The local authority commits to spending £18,200 during 2014/15 on these cases.

During the month, the local authority decides to extend the awards of 500 cases already on its system.  These cases are not counted as additional applications, decisions or awards.  These case were originally awarded funds totalling £271,000 for the first six months of the year.  However, the local authority decides to extend the awards for a further three months.  An additional three months has a value of £135,500.

This information should be recorded as follows:

Question

Description

Working

Value to Submit

1

Applications

1,332 + 100 = 1,432

1,432

2

Determinations

1282+80 = 1,362

1,362

3

Awards Granted

1252+75=1,327

1,327

4

Total amount spent or committed

£2,085,678 + £18,200 +£135,500 = £2,239,378

2,239,378