One of the papers before the Brent Council Cabinet on Monday will be the annual review of the Council Tax Support scheme. This replaced the national scheme back in 2012/13, and I had a hand in designing it.
The report states:
"A fundamental review of the current Brent scheme
was undertaken in 2015, and concluded
that in terms of legal, financial
and equitable robustness, the current
scheme can be considered as a success. There
have been no legal challenges brought against the
scheme, and no unforeseen impact was
identified. There was no perceived
appetite for radical change or a departure from the main principles governing the
scheme at that time."
The report also notes that the alignment of housing benefit and the reduction scheme reduces the bureaucracy of applying, which must be welcome to many harassed residents. However, it notes that this advantage is eroded as Universal credit is rolled out:
"However it should be noted that as more
of the working-age caseload moves onto Universal Credit (UC) over the next few years, this advantage will be lost as claimants will
be required to claim UC from the DWP and CTS from the Council."
While this may be a minor detail compared to some of the horror stories I have heard with Universal Credit, it is nonetheless regrettable.
Finally, I have often noted that a number of people are very blase about possible legal challenges. I think rather differently, having gone through a judicial review which was extraordinarily burdensome despite the Council being found lawful in every detail of its decision. Nonetheless the officers writing the report give as a major reason for their "no change" recommendation "the risk opening up the scheme as a whole to challenge from external organisations
and pressure groups."