Written evidence from the Leicestershire County Council CLP0021



Leicestershire County Council is responsible for administration of the Household Support Fund allocated to it by DWP. The following evidence relates to the council’s experience of delivery of the Fund within Leicestershire.

Response to Question 3 - How has the Department’s ad-hoc payment system and its design and use benefitted or limited the delivery of cost-of-living support?

We believe that the ad-hoc payment system of Cost-of-Living Support Payments is less effective at delivering targeted support to those most in need, compared to the schemes that local authorities are delivering as part of the Household Support Fund.

The council’s delivery of Household Support Fund (HSF) within Leicestershire has the following elements of focus;

The council has sought to utilise a range of support mechanisms to best target cost-of-living support for people in hardship who are most in need. This has included working closely with third party organisations that are closely connected to local communities and a focus on a food and fuel voucher scheme accessed via referrals. These referrals for support come to the council from local district councils, schools, faith-based organisations, town and parish councils and charities. Trusted professionals put forward clients for support from the HSF and referrals are administered by the council’s First Contact+ service that is located within its Public Health Department. This process enables officers to ascertain if a household is in need of further support or referral into other services and to initiate provision of that additional complementary and preventative support. This support could include energy and heating advice and support from the councils Warm Homes Service, money, benefits and debt support from Citizens Advice, assistance with mobility and health issues etc.

It is suggested that the above approach to delivery of cost-of-living support has maximised benefits firstly by close connections and involvement of trusted professionals and statutory and voluntary sector organisations across the county to reach out to and target people most in need and secondly by linking food, fuel and associated support with a wider package of preventative assistance to best support people to move away from hardship crisis. 

We believe that our approach contained within the Household Support Fund to be more effective than making small ad hoc cost of living payments to a larger cohort of people, irrespective of their need and with no wider support mechanisms or contact with local professionals put in place. We suggest that local authorities would be well placed to expand their delivery of cost-of-living schemes, such as the Household Support Fund as their processes are now well developed, as a result of this scheme running through four iterations.


May 2023