£350 gift payments - update
An update from Laura Fisher:
I just wanted to provide you all with an update on the £350 gift payments due to all hosts. As you know we have been prioritising the £200 payments for guests but are now in a position to start the monthly £350 gift payments.
You will, in the next couple of days, be emailed a link to a Microsoft form regarding the payments. I appreciate that you've already completed significant amounts of information and I'm grateful to you for doing this.
In order for the council to make the £350 payment there are a number of checks that need to be completed – some are simply yes/no answers and some require in-person visits.
The following five tests have to be completed on all hosts:
- I've checked the accommodation exists and can be used as residential accommodation (this will have been done by the property team when you had your inspection)
- I've visited the accommodation and it appears suitable for the proposed guests (this will have been done by the property team when you had your inspection)
- I've initiated Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (the DBS team can confirm your DBS check has been started)
- I've confirmed that the guest(s) has/have arrived in the accommodation (Amanda Jones and her colleagues at Shropshire Supports Refugees have been assisting with this)
- I've completed safeguarding checks, including visiting the guests in their accommodation, and can confirm that there are no serious concerns (this is the element that we haven't yet got in place – however I'm hopeful we can get these visits started asap)
Further to this:
- All hosts must sign a self-declaration form confirming that all details are correct, that they're not charging rent, and that they agree to notify the council of any changes (we'll deal with this via a question on the form)
- As a council we have to ask all hosts whether rent is being charged and whether the guest is being asked to provide contributions to food or utilities. Councils should use their discretion to assess whether these contributions are excessive and, if they constitute rent in practice, councils can decline to make the thank you payment (we will deal with this via a question on the form)
- As a host you'll need to confirm that you'd like to receive the optional £350 monthly payments (we'll deal with this via a question on the form)
All payments will be made via the bank accounts you've provided details for already. If we don't have bank account details (as your guests collected the £200 payment in cash) I'll be in contact directly.
I apologise for the time that this has taken but appreciate your patience to date.
Head of housing, resettlement and independent living