The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has provided local government with a fourth tranche of the Household Support Fund, totalling £842m nationally, for the period April 2023 – March 2024. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead's allocation of funding for this period is £1,175,810.
The objective of the Fund is to provide support to vulnerable households in most need of support, to help with significantly rising living costs. For this tranche of funding, DWP have stated that there is no ringfence of funding for any particular cohort of people. There is, however, an expectation of authorities to particularly consider those groups who may not have benefitted from any of the recent cost of living support and for there to be an application process for at least some of the funding.
For further cost of living support, please see the Government’s Cost of Living Hub.
Please see a review of our Cost-of Living response presented to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny panel.
Allocation and administration of funding
The Royal Borough has decided to allocate its funding through two separate schemes:
RBWM will provide families in receipt of Free School Meals with vouchers to assist with food costs during the school holidays. This replicates the successful allocation of funding in this way in the previous three tranches of the Fund.
Throughout 2023-2024 families will be supported with food costs during the school holidays including April half term, Summer holiday, October half term, Christmas holiday, and February 2024 half term.
Eligibility Criteria requires pupils to be registered for free school meals and attending a RBWM school regardless of their home address. The funding level is £20 per pupil per funded week - every week over the October half term, Christmas and February 2024 half term will be funded. 50% of the weeks over the summer holiday will be funded.
The delivery method being used is through issuing of electronic vouchers, and is coordinated by RBWM schools. Eligible families do not have to apply for this support and applications cannot be made directly to the council or to Achieving for Children.
RBWM is working with a selection of Delivery Partners to allocate the remainder of the Household Support Grant to households facing severe financial hardship and at risk over the 2023-2024 period.
These partners include a range of local voluntary and community sector organisations, housing associations, health partners and adults and children’s services.
Partners will work with their existing clients to identify households for support and will reach out to wider residents in need where appropriate. Residents who are in severe financial need and at risk of escalation of problems are also able to put themselves forward for support.
Citizens Advice East Berkshire will play an overarching role, and so should be a first port of call for residents who would like to put themselves forward for support.
This is a discretionary fund, allocated on a case by case basis, to mitigate severe financial hardship.
Please note that residents are not able to apply to the council directly.
Delivery Partners have discretion to identify residents in financial hardship and at risk over the 2023-2024 period, using their own sources of data and information, as agreed with the council, and in accordance with the DWP guidance.
Residents identified by partners will be given a Unique Reference Number and a link to an online application form, to enable them to apply for a £145 cash payment to support them with costs of energy, food and wider essentials.
To be eligible, applicants must be in severe financial need, resident in the borough and over 18. The council will review applications to check for eligibility and potential fraud, and will make payments to individual residents.
The previous tranche ended on Friday 7 July 2023. The current scheme opened on Monday 10 July 2023, and will remain open until Sunday 31 March 2024. Those who received funding through the previous tranche are welcome to reapply.
We will meet with partners to review the delivery of the scheme on a regular basis during the period of its operation and may make changes to the approach and criteria, where appropriate.
The scheme follows government guidance, shared at Household Support Fund: guidance for local councils - GOV.UK.
Questions and answers
(Updated: Wednesday 12 July 2023)