Folkestone and Hythe’s work on improving social inclusion has seen them rewarded at the IRRV Awards 2022.
Winning the Benefits/Welfare Reform Team of the Year award, and being highly commended in the Excellence in Social Inclusion category, shows the impact of a data-led approach towards improving outcomes.
Folkestone and Hythe’s good news story of 2022
Due to the holistic approach we take with all our customers who look for our help, we are excelling in social inclusion and working more and more with external partners.
Off the back of these successes we now train people on welfare, how to run a data led campaign using LIFT, and how to use the Better Off Calculator.
Jane Worrell, Revenues and Benefits Senior Specialist, Folkestone and Hythe
Learn more about Folkestone and Hythe’s good news story
The number of households referred for welfare support from Folkestone and Hythe District Council has significantly increased. With the cost of living crisis escalating, this trend is expected to continue.
A key aspect of our work is the allocation of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) and financial support payments for council tax. In order to support residents holistically, a proactive approach was needed to identify and contact eligible households.
With a focus on social inclusion, a highly-targeted approach was needed to reach out to community groups who, typically, would either struggle to engage with the council or be reluctant to do so, such as armed forces veterans.
The Low Income Family Tracker (LIFT) platform is used by the team to identify potentially vulnerable residents in need of financial support or help with claiming benefits.
Our frontline staff, together with a network of partners such as the Money Advice Network and the Illegal Money Lending team, can then offer residents expert guidance to help tackle specific challenges.
The Better Off Calculator is also used to assess residents’ affordability levels, and once identified as eligible, to award DHP and Financial Support Payments (FSP). The calculator can also identify residents who might be eligible for additional benefits that they may not already be getting.
Communication with community groups has been greatly enhanced. Using data-led targeting, the team has engaged with previously reticent community groups.
The team has attended community events for armed forces veterans, spoken with them to identify the support required and taken proactive steps to offer the identified support; such as housing advice
As well as tackling social inclusion, we have a dedicated welfare team that has identified support available for the borough’s residents, and maximised claims for eligible benefits.
Using LIFT, the team has achieved incredible results during the 2021/22 financial year:
- £246,771 of financial support payments (FSP) were made to 493 customers
- £288,890 of discretionary housing payments (DHP) were made to 393 customers
- £221,358 was allocated to the household support fund