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Agenda item

Question Time:

To answer questions from members of the public pursuant to Executive Procedure Rule No. 13


QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC NO. 1 Under Schedule 4, 13, Mr H Loxton asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Risk and Customer Services Councillor M Bailey, the following question:-


On the 30th May 2022 the council provided an update on the energy rebate. The update stated that 8,877 letters had been issued to non-direct debit payers with how to claim the £150.00 rebate from the post office.  Could you please confirm how many of those letters had actually been sent to residents, and how many are included in the ones being issued by the post office over the three weeks from the 28th June?


Councillor Marie Bailey gave the following answer: -


As at 30th May, the Council had sent the required data file to the Post Office for them to issue the letters to the 8,877 non-direct debit payers. As you will appreciate, the Post Office need to put processes in place to ensure that they are able to manage the large number of cash payments expected at individual branches. In order to make sure that cash is available when people visit their Post Office to collect it, they are sending the letters out over three weeks from 28th June. Although no letters had been sent to residents as at 30th May, they should have started to be delivered from 28th June with residents starting to collect the cash payments from this week.


Mr Loxton asked the following supplementary Question


After an update on 30th May residents were told to expect letters in the next couple of weeks which were never sent.  At what date did the Council know that the letters had not been sent.


Councillor Bailey provided the following written answer


The update was posted on the Councils website on 30 May 2022. At this point the Authority had uploaded a large data file to the Post Office of 8,877 letters. It was our understanding after discussions with a representative at the Post Office that they would commence the printing and distribution of these letters commencing the end of May 2022 and into June 2022.  


On the 8 June 2022 there was an update meeting with Senior Management at the Post office to assess their progress. Regrettably they confirmed that they had not been able to post the letters out at this point. They reasoned that this was a large scale job which involved the logistics to ensure that sufficient cash would be available at local Post Office branches together with sufficiently trained and upskilled Post Office staff - in fact adding additional resources at branches to deal with this increased demand. This they confirmed is being done across the country to deal with the substantial demand for their resources.


We have since worked with them on this matter to try to lessen any further delays. It involved the logistics and a revised service delivery plan. Hence the update on the Councils website on the 15 June which confirmed the updated delivery dates with the Post Office.


I can confirm the Post Office have been posting out these letters as per the revised service delivery plan.   


The Authority and its staff are working tirelessly on energy rebates ensuring that all its qualifying residents receive their energy rebate before the date of 30 September 2022 specified within Government guidance. We are confident that we will achieve this target in good time.


We have been open and honest throughout, and all information/updates were posted as soon as the arrangements were finalised.