Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Our Replacement For Council Tax Benefit Is Missing

A couple of weeks or so ago I wrote about nascent plans for the replacement of Council Tax Benefit with a new local scheme. It's gone a bit quiet.

NCC had announced plans for an 8 week consultation scheme. The Portfolio Holder decision justified the consultation period being shorter than the normally required 12 weeks on the basis that the longer period would mean the council would be unable to meet the deadline for the publication of the final scheme, which must be ready by 31 January 2013.

According to that decision, the consultation was supposed to start on the 9 August. A statement on the website, now removed, actually said it was due to start on the 6th. Either way it is now 22 August and there's no sign of it. Contacts in the voluntary sector tell me they were told the consultation has been 'delayed' and that the reasons for that were 'complicated', NCCspeak for 'we've fucked up' and/or 'we don't want to tell you the reason'.

So, a consultation exercise that was so urgent it had to be run for a period 4 weeks shorter than guidelines require has now been delayed for 2 weeks, with no explanation. That bodes well...

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