To consider a report from the Executive Director of People – Children.
The Corporate Parenting Board considered a report by the Executive Director of People – Children on Council Tax – Support for Care Leavers.
Officers informed the Board there had been a longstanding campaign from the Children’s Society to urge local authorities to exempt young people from Council Tax as generally they were more likely to get into financial problems than the rest of the population. In terms of what had happened since the campaign started, Council Tax was exempt for young people living in Scotland and Wales, 102 local authorities, both unitary and two tier authorities, in England had adopted the approach. Officers recommended that the Council should apply the discount to care leavers as set out in the report.
Members were hugely supportive of the report and felt that educating young people around financial matters should start very early.
A general discussion on the process of implementing the proposal took place.
One member was concerned that the financial calculations had been based on a Band D property as he did not think that care leavers would be living in a Band D property.
The Head of Revenue and Benefits commented that was the worse case scenario and would be part of further work to be undertaken so that the Council could make the final decision before March 2020.
The Chairman thought the report ought to go to Cabinet in January 2020 and commented on the recommendations in the report as follows:
Recommendation (a) those under our Corporate Parenting responsibility. Did the Board feel this should be Dorset Care Leavers or did the Board recommend it would be for everyone who was a Care Leaver in Dorset regardless of what their authority provided for them. They may have come from another authority living as a Care Leaver in Dorset, whose responsibility would they be in terms of this discount. The Head of Revenues and Benefits considered if the Council opened the discount to all Care Leavers living in Dorset, the Council would not necessarily know that a Care Leaver had moved from another authority. The Corporate Parenting Officer confirmed that all local authorities had the opportunity to introduce the scheme and the proposal should be for Dorset Care Leavers only. The Corporate Parenting Board agreed with this suggestion.
Recommendation (b) and (c) the Board agreed as set out in the report, although one member asked what happened if there was a dispute over a Care Leaver’s age. It was explained that age assessments were completed if there was ambiguity.
Recommendation (d) one member thought this might encourage Care Leavers to get in touch.
Recommendation (e) the Board agreed, although the Chairman considered that where the Care Leaver lived in shared accommodation, they must pay their individual Council Tax.
The Chairman asked officers to amend the recommendations appropriately and to provide a more realistic estimate of the cost. She asked for a report to go to Cabinet as soon as possible with clearance from the Executive Director of People – Children and the Lead Member.
1. That Recommendation (a) should apply to all Dorset Care Leavers.
2. That Recommendations (b), (c) and (d) as set out in the report were agreed.
3. That Recommendation (e) as set out in the report was agreed but ensure where the care leaver lived in shared accommodation they paid their individual Council Tax.
4. That officers amend the recommendations in the report appropriately and provide a more accurate estimate of the cost so that Cabinet would approve the agreement. The report to be presented to Cabinet as soon as possible with clearance from the Executive Director of People – Children and the Lead Member.