Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual

5.9.10 Hardship Payments Policy

SCOPE OF THIS POLICY

The scope of this policy is to outline arrangements that are in place to assist young people to access emergency payments in Nottingham City. We are aware there are occasions when our young people can be experiencing financial difficulties and staff consider that it is appropriate to consider a hardship payment. Hardship payments should be considered as a safety net and should not be used or viewed by young people as additional income which may lead them to a false sense of security about budgeting and their financial affairs.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was substantially revised in August 2015 and should be re-read in full.


Procedure

  1. All hardship requests made by young people should be assessed by the relevant social-worker or personal adviser and must be agreed by a Children in Care or Leaving Care Manager; In cases where hardship is above £30, the Service Manager will need to agree the payment;
  2. Transport costs will only be given in emergencies. Bus fares/day riders should only be given for urgent appointments e.g. Doctor, Hospital Interview or accessing education, employment or training. This must be agreed by a Children in Care Team or Leaving Care Service Manager;
  3. Gas/Electricity hardship payments should only be given once a thorough assessment has been undertaken, and other routes of funding have been explored e.g. family members, crisis loans etc. No hardship payments can be issued unless agreed by a Children in Care Team or Leaving Care Service Manager. Young people should be spoken with in relation to budgeting and the need to ensure that these essential items are budgeted for. Whenever practicable workers will provide ‘top-up’ cards or ensure the monies are put directly onto the fuel cards/keys and not give cash to ensure utilities are available for young people;
  4. All hardship payments (maximum of £7) should be recorded so that Team-Managers/Admin can detect trends or issues in relation to young people’s budgeting skills;
  5. Whenever possible food - parcels will be issued rather than cash. The Leaving Care Service will keep a store of basic items, Children in Care Teams can also access the parcels, but the cost will be deducted from their budget;
  6. Workers will support young people if in difficulties in relation to their benefits;
  7. Young people at the initial claim in relation to their benefits may experience a delay in receiving payments. In these circumstances hardship payments should be considered (this does not necessarily mean the ‘full’ living allowance is required). This will be assessed by a Children in Care Team or Leaving Care Service Manager;
  8. Young people who need to travel to college or work before they receive any benefits or wages will be issued day riders or a bus pass for a minimum period. This will be assessed by a Children in Care Team or Leaving Care Service Manager.

End