Issue - meetings

Crisis Support 2024 - 2027

Meeting: 15/11/2023 - Overview and Scrutiny Management Board (Item 67)

67 Crisis Support 2024 - 2027 pdf icon PDF 784 KB

Report of the Assistant Chief Executive.


To consider a report outlining proposals to develop a more sustainable crisis support system.




That Cabinet agree:


1.    The future provision of crisis support and grant allocations of:

a.    £60k for Crisis Loans.

b.    £34k for infrastructure and transport to enable the supply of crisis food to foodbanks (Community Food Members).

c.     £10k for supporting co-ordination of the Food in Crisis Partnership, collection and dissemination of data and provision of a referrals process.

2.    That bids be invited from organisations to work in partnership with the Council, to finalise the implementation details and deliver the provision outlined at recommendation 1.

3.    To delegate authority to the Assistant Chief Executive in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion to enter into a service level agreement with partner organisations to provide crisis support for the years 2024/25 to 2026/27.


Additional documents:


The Chair invited the Assistant Chief Executive to introduce the report.

It was outlined that crisis support services in Rotherham were currently delivered through a partnership agreement between the Council, FareShare, Voluntary Action Rotherham (VAR) and LASER Credit Union. The ongoing level of demand together with available supplies of food had led to the need to develop a more sustainable crisis support system, with the aim of supporting people to move from being in crisis towards independence and resilience.


To develop the new model, including the elements funded by the Council, a codesign process had been followed, engaging with a range of providers and referring organisations. A key element of the revised wider model was ensuring it is aligned with holistic and wider support services, which would work to ensure that fewer people experience crisis on a repeated basis. This would be supported through a new referral system to better co-ordinate information for front line staff, offering a broader range of food types that make up crisis food parcels, flexible to the requirements of different organisations and utilising a revised definition of crisis support to enable this.


It was noted that demand continued to increase and was higher than levels experience pre-Covid pandemic.


Following approval of the recommendations within this report, bids would be invited from partner organisations to finalise the implementation details and to then deliver the model. This would be via service level agreements covering the years 2024/25 to 2026/27.


The Chair invited questions and comments from the Board and a discussion on the following issues ensued:


·       It was noted that the Council had invested in infrastructure support for a number of years. Clarification was sought on how this was funded since the Discretionary Social Fund was abolished in 2012. It was noted that from 2015 the Council had used the General Fund to support local welfare provision, supplemented with time-limited Government funding introduced during the pandemic to support food provision.  It was outlined that with increased demand, the continued use of the short-term Household Support Fund was not sustainable and therefore, the proposals outlined presented a longer term model.

·       Details were sought about the criteria for determining the levels of crisis loans. It was noted that this the provision of crisis loans could only be provided by a registered organisation (e.g. a credit union). Loans of up to £250 were available although in some circumstances, larger loans could be available. It was felt that the Council’s model compared favourably with similar crisis loan provision in other local authorities.

·       If consideration had been given to the provision of baby banks and community fridges in the plan. It was noted that a number of organisations that provided crisis food were also supporting other provision including clothing. It was noted that there was a list used by referral organisations to advise users of the different aspects of support available. It was outlined that there was a good geographic spread of provision across the borough.

·       It was highlighted if the reorganisation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67