Issue - meetings
Council Tax Discount Scheme for Flintshire Foster Carers
Meeting: 16/07/2019 - Cabinet (Item 43)
As detailed in the recommendations.
Councillor Jones introduced the report which sought approval of a new Council Tax Discount Scheme for Local Authority Foster Carers which could provide a more competitive package in terms of allowances and benefits, and ultimately bring savings to the Council.
Foster Carers were vital to the support needs of young people in care and provided family based suitable care in a warm, safe, attentive and nurturing environment.
At least 9 local authorities in England already operated Council Tax Discount Schemes, including in neighbouring local authorities like Cheshire East.
The cost of offering a 50% discount to Foster Carers in Flintshire would be approximately £92,000 and could be recouped should only three children be placed with in-house carers for a 12 month period, rather than external fostering agencies.
The Chief Officer (Social Services) said if supported, the introduction of the scheme could take effect from April 2020 using discretionary powers as set out in Section 13a (1) (c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
The Social Services Marketing and Recruitment Officer explained that there was already a significant challenge to find local residents with two spare bedrooms to accommodate siblings who were of an age where sharing a bedroom would not be appropriate. A Council Tax Discount Scheme could encourage a local resident to consider fostering rather than downsizing.
The Revenues Manager explained that the forecast was that around 122 Flintshire Foster Carers could quality for the scheme. Of those, 89 resided in the County – 33 resided out of County but to ensure consistency of approach, the scheme would include provision to make an in-direct financial award in the form of a financial assistance scheme in lieu of a Council Tax discount.
Councillor Jones thanked the Social Services Marketing and Recruitment Officer and her team for the work they undertook on recruiting Foster Carers.
(a) That the introduction, in principle, of a Council Tax Discretionary Discount Scheme for Foster Carers, to take effect from April 2020, be approved; and
(b) That a 50% discount be the preferred option to align to the Council Tax Discount Schemes for Foster Carers that are in operation in other local authorities in the region.