Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee met on Tuesday 24 October 2023.
Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Members heard how a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme will benefit residents and Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). The proposed scheme will be quicker, much easier to understand, and less expensive to administer, improving the overall customer experience.
Council Tax Reduction is a discount that helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax bill. The level of discount is based on the income of each household.
The current scheme is very complex and requires residents to notify the council every time there is a change to their income. The new system would mean most changes would not need to be reported, saving residents time, and giving them more certainty of their discounts. The new scheme would also mean new applicants can get an instant assessment of their entitlement.
In a recent public consultation 76% of those who took part were in favour of a new scheme.
Council Tax covers many services including, Essex County Council, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue Service and town and parish councils, as well as services provided by EFDC.
Finance and future budgets
Like many other councils, EFDC is experiencing financial challenges in a constantly changing economy.
The budget for 2024 to 2025 is yet to be confirmed. The committee spoke of the recent opportunities for EFDC to work alongside other councils to help save money.
Councillors discussed the importance of working together to ensure forthcoming budgets are scrutinised objectively. Members will be part of the process to help find solutions to shape the council’s future and produce innovative ways for further possible income.
The committee reviewed key projects being delivered across the council and discussed how each one, all linked to the corporate plan, has performed in the second quarter of the financial year.
Reports were given from recent meetings of Community Scrutiny and Place Scrutiny Committees.
The Community Scrutiny Committee highlighted the work of EFDC’s community champions and the value that volunteers bring to their communities.
2 new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO), currently going through public consultation, were discussed at the most recent Place Scrutiny Committee meeting.
- PSPO for dog control lays out clear rules for dog owners to abide by
- PSPO for Debden Broadway aims to give EFDC officers more authority to deal with anti-social behaviour
Both consultations close on Monday 20 November.
Keep up to date
Keep in touch with our latest news, service updates and reports.