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Sefton Council’s Cabinet asked to approve further, discretionary payments as part of the Government’s Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme

Sefton Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve further, discretionary funding to help households meet their energy bills as part of the Government’s Energy Rebate Scheme.

At the start of June, Sefton Council confirmed that more than ÂŁ12.5 million had been paid to 83,500 Council Tax Band A to D households. It also said that 17,700 households had responded to letters from Sefton Council asking for them register their bank details securely and that reminder letters were going to those still yet to sign up.

Over ÂŁ700,000

Over ÂŁ700,000 of discretionary funding is now available to the Council to allocate to Sefton households that are in need, as well as those that do not fall into the Council Tax bands A to D category.

To speed up the process, the Council is planning to focus discretionary payments on specific groups such as those on who already receive means-tested Council Tax Reduction. This would remove the need for an application procedure as the Council is already aware of their financial circumstances.

Under the proposed scheme, people living in Council Tax bands A to D would receive an extra payment of ÂŁ20. Council Tax-payers in band E-H properties who are in receipt of means-tested Council Tax Reduction at that property would receive ÂŁ170. This is the same as the ÂŁ150 paid to those in band A-D, plus ÂŁ20.

Residents granted a full Council Tax exemption, due to being severely mentally impaired, would also receive ÂŁ170.

No applications needed

Payments to these three groups, for which no applications would be needed, would total around £465,000 leaving a balance of around £243,000, of discretionary funding to be allocated. Sefton Council’s Cabinet is being asked to consider using these funds to make additional payments to households with children that are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.

Amounts would be ÂŁ20 for households with one or two children and ÂŁ30 for those with three or more children.

A further group for consideration is those that have been excluded from the core Energy rebate scheme, due to them not being liable for Council Tax or and where the responsibility for Council Tax falls with someone else such as a housing provider, charity or non-resident owner. Where these people can provide evidence of occupation and direct payment of energy costs, they could receive between ÂŁ50 and ÂŁ150 depending on their individual circumstances.

Where possible, discretionary payments would be paid directly into recipients’ bank accounts.

Successfully paid

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said  “Now that Sefton Council has successfully paid the majority of Council Tax Energy Rebate payments to the vast majority of eligible households in the Borough, I am keen that we now extend these discretionary awards to more households facing the extreme difficulties that have been created by today’s economic climate.”

Sefton Council will start to process Discretionary payments once the Band A to D payments have been completed. More details of the scheme will be publicised at that point, which is likely to be around late July, and the Council will start contacting those who are eligible at the same time.

The Council is asking people not to call the Contact Centre about the Discretionary Payment scheme as no further information is available at this time.

You can find the agenda and papers for the Cabinet Meeting here.

New Academy part of Sefton Council’s commitment to highest quality services for the Borough’s children and young people

Sefton Council plans to put the next part of its commitment to improving services for the Borough’s children and young people in place in September by launching a new Social Work Academy.

Setting up its own, unique Social Work Academy, will enable the Council to “grow its own” and provide its Children’s Social Care teams with an innovative development approach.

FlourishA group of people stand outside the front entrance of Magdalen House

Through the Academy, the Council will be able to provide the right support for Newly Qualified Social Workers and give them the right environment to grow into high quality practitioners. They will have protected caseloads and a high level of managerial support to allow their practice to flourish.

As they go through their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), they will be managed by experienced team managers who will develop their practice through reflective supervision and modelling of practice. Practice Educators will ensure the Newly Qualified Social Workers meet the required standards.

Within the Academy’s first 12 months, the Council aims to recruit and develop up to 30 of these the Newly Qualified Social Workers who will go on to join the permanent workforce.

Support

As they go through their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment, the teams will undergo weekly Practice Reflective Meetings and Focused Quality Assurance. They will also receive clinical support around emotional resilience that will help prevent the recognised social work phenomenon of burn-out, sickness and early retirement by enabling them to manage the stress and pressure of the profession.

The Academy will be managed by an experienced service leader who has both experience and passion for improving social work practice. By offering clinical support, the Academy will improve outcomes for children and families as well as helping reduce “social work burnout” which is a major cause of practitioners leaving the field.

Martin Birch, Sefton Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, who joined the Authority in March, said: “Providing the right support, protection and consistency that delivers better experiences and outcomes for Sefton’s children, young people and their families starts with our own workforce.

“By establishing this Academy, we are showing our determination in making sure that Social Workers at all levels in our Children’s Social Care teams are being equipped to do their jobs to the highest standards from the moment they join us.

“And as well as supporting the development and confidence of our existing colleagues, the Academy will also help us to attract the very best Social Workers out there to join us, to provide the high-quality services our children and families deserve.”

Bid

Sefton Council has already committed £1.2 million for setting up the new Social Work Academy. Next week’s meeting of Sefton Council Cabinet is being asked to approve a bid to the Department for Education for some additional funding to help support this venture.

Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, said: “Alongside the growth of the Family Valued partnership with Leeds, creating an Academy where our social work teams can learn the very best practice is a key part of our development.

“Both of them will help us to deal with the unprecedented demand we are currently seeing and tackle the issues raised by our recent Ofsted rating, and will also ensure that each and every child and young person in Sefton is given the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

“Any funding received through a bid to the Department for Education would be put back directly into our Children’s Social Care services.”

Details of next week’s Sefton Council Cabinet meeting, which takes place at 10am on Thursday 23rd June at Southport Town Hall, can be found here.   

Edge Hill University to host psychological experiment on climate change open to Sefton residents

Edge Hill University is undertaking a unique psychological experiment as part of their research on local community and climate change. Taking place in Southport on Friday 24th June, the University says that residents will be given the chance to take part in cutting-edge science and potentially even change history.

Hands holding small replica of EarthAt the event, the University will premier its new film on climate change and want to measure its effects. Attendees will then fill in a questionnaire, before and after the film, and then will be asked to do a short computerised task. Free refreshments will also be provided.

People can find more information and book here. You must be at least 18 years old to book.

Sefton Pushes the Boat Out for our Fostering Families

Sailing activities organised for Sefton’s fostering households were underway as families came together for a fun day at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre.

Children and young people, their foster carers and the children of foster carers took the helm as they enjoyed riding electric and sailing boats.

The event is part of some collaborative work between Sefton Council’s Fostering and Leisure Services. Working jointly means that Sefton has been able to improve their lifestyle offer for foster children and their carers. This includes free gym and golf membership for the whole fostering family.

James is a foster carer with Sefton and brought his family along to enjoy the sailing. James said:  

“Today has been so good to get out in the fresh air and have some family time and catch up with other foster carers.

“The children have had a go at everything and have loved being out on the water. It’s great because it brings us closer together and we’ve never done anything like this before and it’s something we can all enjoy.”

Sefton Fostering Services’ Assistant Team Manager Tracy Millward said:

“We want to show our carers and their families how much we appreciate them by putting on these great activities and events. Days like these bring foster families together and help to create those special memories.

“Here at Sefton Fostering we are always looking for new and exciting opportunities to give our carers and all the children they care for the chance to meet up with friends and meet new ones.

“I’d also like to say a big thank you to our Leisure Services who we have been working closely with. This work means foster children and their foster families can access Sefton’s leisure facilities for free and have the opportunity to try different experiences and possibly find new talents and interests, building confidence and self-esteem.

 Jeff Jones, Locality Manager for Sefton Council’s Leisure Services said:

“We are really pleased to be able to support the fostering service. Seeing the children and young people smiling and having so much fun is just brilliant.

“We wanted to give them the chance to get out and enjoy themselves but also experience something they have never come across before.

“We’re also delighted to be offering carers and children free passes to leisure facilities and really hope this will make a difference to the lives of our foster families.”

Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by speaking to one of the team by calling the freephone number – 0800 923 2777

Or by visiting the dedicated website at https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

To find out more about Sefton’s Leisure offer please visit Sport & Leisure (sefton.gov.uk)

Sefton Council to lead pilot well-being programme

Sefton Council will be leading a pilot well-being programme available to all planning services staff in the region. The events involved include cover a mixture of on-line talks and face to face events, which will have a social element. If the events are successful, other Liverpool City Region Councils will get involved and keep the programme running into the future.

Coastal path at CrosbyThe programme will include a Social circular walk on Crosby Coast, a raft building and racing experience at Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre, a fun rounders tournament at Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre and well-being online meetings.

Planning services staff just need to contact the lead for each event to book a place. Details on contacts and event times can be found below:

 

Social circular walk on Crosby Coast – 6th July 2022

Meet at 6pm with option for meal afterwards – meet at 6pm

Contact: steve.matthews@sefton.gov.uk

 

Well-being online meeting – 29 July

Teams meeting 1pm – 2pm

Contact: Debbie.robinson@sefton.gov.uk

 

Raft building and racing experience at Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre – 8th August 2022

Meet at 6pm – discounted cost of £5 per person for equipment

Contact: derek.mckenzie@sefton.gov.uk

 

Well-being on-line meeting – 19th August 2022

Teams meeting 1pm – 2pm

Contact: Debbie.robinson@sefton.gov.uk

 

Fun rounders tournament at Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre – 22nd  August 2022

Meet at 6pm

Contact: Debbie.robinson@sefton.gov.uk

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