The significance of social safety nets in supporting vulnerable households and their importance in addressing poverty, inequality and social exclusion has grown in line with the cost of living crisis.
The government has announced the allocation of an £842 million Household Support Fund to councils in England. Councils must submit their plans for distribution of the Household Support Funds to the government by 17 May.
New research from Policy in Practice that evaluates how discretionary Local Welfare Assistance schemes are delivered can help Household Support Fund scheme design.
Guest speakers include Jonathan Flowers, ex Deputy Chief Executive of Bedfordshire County Council, Zoe Charlesworth, Associate Policy and Research Consultant, Policy in Practice and Abimbola Lawal, Emergency Support Scheme (ESS) Programme Manager, Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Listen back to learn about
- Understanding the strategic context for social safety nets and the best way for local authorities to respond
- Why we need localised support schemes and how effective they are
- How research findings on LWA can inform Household Support Fund scheme
- Case study: Royal Borough of Greenwich’s support scheme
View the webinar
Councils need solutions that are cheap and accessible easily. The budget increased public expenditure but the so-called unprotected areas of which local government is unfortunately one, are still going to face cuts. And despite that, our guilty knowledge is that £19 billion a year is waiting to help the most vulnerable people and they aren't getting it.
Local authority schemes such as local welfare assistance and household support were set up for emergency or crisis support but the original intention of these pots set up by six out of seven councils isn't being met. They are increasingly and almost overwhelmingly being used now general bills, general everyday cost of living.
The ESS (Emergency Support Scheme) used to receive 250 applications per month before COVID. After COVID, the applications have increased drastically to at least 750 applications per month. 60% of these applications are usually successful and the ESS is currently spending on average £80,000 per month.