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Council news

£350k investment in Hackney Museum approved by Hackney Council

24th January 2020
Hackney’s nationally-recognised Museum could see its permanent exhibition redesigned to celebrate 150,000 years of migration and settlement in Hackney, as part of a £1.1m bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to expand and refurbish its Reading Lane home. To kick start the bidding process, the Council’s Cabinet this week pledged £350,000 for the project, which will help the Museum build on its reputation as a successful community resource that engages with residents of all ages and provides space for Hackney’s heritage to be stored, catalogued, exhibited, shared and explained. If successful with the funding application to the NLHF, the Museum will be redesigned to make sure its permanent exhibition remains accessible and engaging while able to store and exhibit its growing collection for future generations. The Museum is also planning to realise a range of new engagement programmes that will reach out to more people, developing greater levels of understanding and knowledge about the different communities living and working in the borough.

Ending violence against women and girls – Hackney Faith Network 2020

23rd January 2020
Faith groups and community organisations from across the borough are coming together to help women and girls who have been affected by violence and abuse at the first Hackney Faith Network event of 2020.  The event, which takes place on Thursday 30 January at Hackney Town Hall, is open to all faith leaders and faith-based community organisations in the borough. Attendees will find out about Council services and other resources available to women and girls experiencing domestic violence and abuse so they can signpost residents and the communities they support to services that can help. The event will also offer information on applying for the Windrush Compensation Scheme; a planned women’s interfaith gathering to to mark World Water Day; and the Council’s ‘Prevent’ programme – a borough-wide initiative to support and divert vulnerable people away from radicalisation.   When: Thursday 30 January, 6-8pmWhere: Room 102, Hackney Town Hall, Mare St, London E8 1EARegister your place: bit.ly/36m3EdQThe Faith Network in Hackney regularly brings faith leaders, community organisations and Council staff together to work on initiatives of common interest, such as reducing food poverty and homelessness, better coordinating social action and increasing community cohesion. Last year, Hackney Council launched its Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy 2019 - 2022. The three-year strategy sets out the Council’s plan to tackle violence against women and girls through a public health approach, with centres around early intervention and how the Council will work with partners and the wider community to help end violence against women and girls.
Council approves increase in Council Tax support for low earners
Councillors have approved proposals to increase the amount of support available to Hackney residents struggling to pay their Council Tax. The changes mean that those on low incomes, who qualify for Hackney’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS), will get up to 85% of their Council Tax paid if they are of working age - up from 83%. Pensioners and young people leaving care will continue to get 100% of their Council Tax paid. The move was approved at a Full Council meeting on 22 January. If followed a consultation at the end of last year, when over 73% of respondents said they were in favour of the changes. The proposals were developed after a series of Government announcements last year, which suggested they expect councils to increase Council Tax to the maximum level each year, rather than rely on central funding. The Council had previously committed to regularly review its CTRS, to ensure the borough’s poorest residents are not disproportionately affected by Council Tax increases.  The Government handed responsibility for administering Council Tax Benefit - with a significant reduction in funding to councils in 2013. Hackney Council currently invests £25m - the same as its entire Children and Families Services budget - into the CTRS to help over 27,000 working age residents pay their Council Tax. Under the revised scheme, this investment will increase by a further £500,000.   For more information visit: hackney.gov.uk/hb-ctr-explained
23rd January 2020
SEND co-design group presents recommendations
Parents, professionals, campaigners and councillors have presented Hackney Council with a number of recommendations that they believe will help to further improve special educational needs provision in the borough. The Council has welcomed the report and the key recommendations will be developed into a model for Cabinet to consider. SEND provision in Hackney was recently judged to be ‘good’ by Ofsted, and the Council hopes these recommendations will help to drive further improvements for children, young people and their families. The SEND Co-design Group developed the proposals over an 18-month period, following a commitment from the Council to co-design a new model for funding Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs). This funding, known as ‘high needs funding’ is allocated to schools to support children with additional needs. The Group’s key recommendation is that the current approach of allocating funding through five unequal funding bands (known as ‘resource levels’) should be reconsidered. The Group believes that more evenly spaced, incremental funding levels could be a better approach to funding EHCPs.  They fed back that they think current funding levels are too uneven and out of date, and that a new approach would allow the Council to allocate more specific funding levels and more easily track how this funding is supporting pupils’ development.  The Group also identified a number of issues around how the Council could better support families, which the Council has committed to embed throughout the SEND service. The Council will report back on this progress later in the year. The Group had 16 members, and was comprised of parents, teachers, specialists, campaigners and back bench councillors, led by an independent chair. It was tasked with considering and advising on options for a model that makes the best use of resources in the wake of severe funding pressures. They met on a regular basis to discuss best practice from across the country and to share ideas for how EHCPs could be funded in a more sustainable way that meetsthe needs of children in Hackney.    The Children and Families Act 2014, which introduced ECHPs, led to councils becoming responsible for providing additional support for young people from 0-25, rather than during statutory school age. This means the Council now supports about 34% more children than when the Act came in - a total of about 2,000. The Government has not funded this additional need and only recently began to address the funding shortfall.In 2018/19 the Government gave Hackney £42.1m in High Needs funding, but the Council spent closer to £50m. We expect this overspend to increase by about £1.7m each year. So far the Council has found this money by making savings elsewhere, using reserves, one-off grants and moving money from other education funds, but this is not sustainable in the long run.Read the full report: www.hackneylocaloffer.co.uk/sendconsultations
20th January 2020