The Council will be running a consultation this autumn on proposed changes to the Single Discretionary Award (SDA) Policy.

The Council is committed to helping residents who are in financial crisis.  As part of this, the SDA Policy provides support for those who have low or no income to help them pay their rent and Council Tax. It also provides a support programme including access to practical help for those in emergency or crisis.

One of the elements of the SDA Policy is Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) which can provide help with rent for some individuals who live in rented housing.

The funding for DHPs from Central Government for 2019/20 has been reduced and the consultation will consider limiting recipients of DHPs to one award (of up to six months) in any one financial year. The proposed change would mean that from 1 April 2020 it would not be possible for SDA claimants to receive a second DHP award during the same financial year.  In 2018/19 this would have affected about 180 households.

There are no guarantees that Derby’s DHP allocation will increase in 2020/21, so the proposed change is designed to ensure that from next year the awards made are financially viable and can continue to help those in need. Any subsequent policy alterations that are discussed would also be made in order to ensure that the award can be delivered effectively to those who are eligible.

This proposed change would not affect priority groups, such as foster carers or households that need adaptations for disabilities, who could still receive up to 12 months’ award in the same financial year.

Councillor Roulstone, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement commented:

“The Single Discretionary Award is made up of several services that are valuable to the Derby residents who need them.  As well as DHPs and help with Council Tax, residents can receive help with money advice, digital skills support, housing advice, health and well being advice, benefits advice and better off calculation (an assessment of income and outgoings to help applicants better manage their money), education and training towards work support.

“It can also help people on certain benefits in an emergency or crisis by providing food, utility top ups, and in certain situations, it can help with goods for the home.

“All this valuable and practical support will be staying in place – other than this one potential change to DHPs. The Council remains committed to helping residents of Derby who are in financial crisis.”

Everyone in Derby is encouraged to take part in providing feedback. Any discussion with the public during the consultation will be used to help the Council reach its final decisions so will be extremely valuable to the process.

The consultation will be running from 23rd September 2019 to 3rd November 2019 and is open to anybody who lives, works or studies in Derby. It is available to access online.

There are public computers available in the Council House, Corporation Street, Derby and in Derby libraries where customers will be able to access information about the consultation.

If you need the information in another format such as a paper form, please email yourcityyoursay@derby.gov.uk or call 01332 642752, Minicom 01332 640666 to request this.

The Council will make a final decision on the Policy at a Council Cabinet meeting in January 2020.