Household Support Fund

This page provides internal guidance for staff and volunteers within ACCA and CAWS. This guidance should not be shared outside of Citizens Advice.

The link to submit requests: forms.office.com/e/FT6sWdwJZc

Do not submit the request until the relevant evidence is on file.

Please email grants@arunchichestercab.org.uk or call 01243 979494 if you have any queries.

The general criteria are:

  • Resident of West Sussex
  • Financially vulnerable, e.g. in receipt of an income-based benefit or can demonstrate that they may struggle to afford essentials

For any exceptional circumstances, please speak to the team seniors: grants@arunchichestercab.org.uk

Update 14/11/23: No carpets to be requested until further notice.

Any requests other than energy for the amounts given below are not guaranteed to be awarded so please manage client expectations accordingly.

Process for volunteers

  1. Volunteer supports client with advice need and identifies a need covered by the scheme.

  2. Volunteer discusses with Supervisor.

  3. Supervisor tasks Grant Admin to call client and discuss needs in greater depth. If the request is urgent (e.g. about to run out of fuel), please use the fuel voucher scheme instead. Please use the upload link in the attachments tab on Casebook or if there is no case, ACCA: grants@arunchichestercab.org.uk CAWS: grants@westsussexcab.org.uk

  4. Grant Admin identifies items and submits the request using the online form.

  5. Request reviewed by HSF team and transferred to spreadsheet.

  6. Bookkeeper makes payment/orders item.

  7. Bookkeeper updates Casebook with order details and delivery information if we have it.

  8. Client receives items or supplier is paid.

Process for Project Workers

  1. Adviser supports client with advice need and identifies a need covered by the scheme.

  2. Adviser identifies exact items/bills to be purchased using the guidance.

  3. Adviser submits the request using the online form.

  4. HSF team reviews request and transfers to spreadsheet.

  5. Bookkeeper makes payment/orders item.

  6. Bookkeeper updates Casebook with order details and delivery information if we have it.

  7. Client receives items.

Process for third party referrals

  1. Referral received by ACCA/CAWS admin and a case record is created.

  2. Grant Admin explores needs under the grant and possible advice needs.

  3. Grant Admin identifies exact items to be purchased using the guidance.

  4. Grant Admin discusses with relevant Supervisor referrals needed for advice and whether it is appropriate to request items prior to advice being received.

  5. Grant Admin submits form when appropriate.

  6. HSF team reviews request and transfers to spreadsheet.

  7. Bookkeeper makes payment/orders item.

  8. Bookkeeper updates Casebook with order details and delivery information if we have it.

  9. Client receives items.

General spending guidance – 6/4/23 (Updated 12/01/24)

  • You will not need prior authorisation for any amounts within the given limits

  • The overall total could be met in a different way, e.g. client has no gas so that allowance is spent on electricity instead

  • Any other requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis

  • You should check if client may be able to get help through other schemes if eligible

  • Please do not request small items such as blankets, warm clothing, etc. Instead request help with energy which can free up funds for them to purchase these themselves

Households with 1 or 2 people only

Item Limit
Electricity £150
Gas/oil/wood/gas bottles £150
Total £300

Households with more than 2 people

Item Limit
Electricity £300
Gas/oil/wood/gas bottles £300
Total £600

**TUMBLE DRYERS AND SOFA NO LONGER AVAILABLE**

White goods will only be provided where deemed essential and verified as a genuine need

By agreement:

  • Boiler repairs
  • Debts
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Any other essential expenditure

This is the general guidance on what is needed before you submit a grant request. Digitally excluded clients should post in documents or drop into centres where possible.

Bognor post address (this is the only postal address for ACCA) - office open from 10am Monday-Thursday

Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice
10A The Arcade
Belmont Street
Bognor Regis
PO21 1LH

Things you will need before submitting the form

Bills

For any bill payments, we must have a copy of the bill on file. This doesn’t have to be current but must show the account number and client’s name/address. If the bill is in the name of a number member of the household only, we should add them as a client and advise them directly. We can accept documents held on previous case notes.

We will also need reference or account numbers. Please ensure these match the bills on file. Some providers require account and payment references so please add these both if given.

Energy top ups

Please ensure you ask whether it is a smart meter or not as this changes the way we make payment.

We have historically had issues with certain suppliers not allowing us to make payments on behalf of clients and many suppliers have a cap on the amount of credit that can be on a meter. Where possible, please provide the link or telephone number for who we need to contact to make the payment.

Clients may not have physical bills, but they should submit a picture of their top up cards, or a screen shot from their online account prior to the grant application being submitted.

Verifying income

Clients should be able to show potential financial vulnerability. This could mean proof that they are in receipt of Universal Credit, Pension Credit or any other income-based benefit (note this excludes PIP, DLA, AA as they are not income-based). If the client is not in receipt of benefits, they should send in copies of their bank statement showing potential difficulty to pay for bills or essential items. Documents held on other cases are fine, but they should represent their current circumstances. Any benefit statements or bank statements need to clearly display the client name on them.

Rent arrears

We will need proof of tenancy and confirmation from the landlord of the outstanding balance. This is for private sector only (not council or housing association properties). Payments will still be made to the landlord, not the client.

Verifying identity

This will likely be done whilst verifying income, but we should ensure the client’s name/address/DOB matches any documents we hold. If we do not have any documents, these should be obtained. Please do not obtain passports, driving licences or birth certificates as these should not be stored on our systems unless essential.

Service provision (e.g. boiler repairs, car repairs)

We cannot recommend traders as we are an independent service, but the business must be a genuine one and able to provide a clear invoice/quote showing their business details as well as the client’s. Buy With Confidence lists traders that have been vetted by Trading Standards so is a good place to start if the client has no preference. We cannot pay the client directly.

Debt payments

Before making a debt payment, we should assess whether the debt issue goes beyond the scope of this project. If a client has debts beyond their essentials, they should complete a debt assessment and seek help from a debt adviser. We can offer payments for their current liability (as set out in the essentials package). Debts where liability is unclear should not be paid by the grant.

If the client is likely to be eligible for a Debt Relief Order or similar solution, it may not be appropriate to consider paying off debts so discussions should be had with a Supervisor, Debt Adviser or Project Lead.

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