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Back on Track Policy 2023-24

1. Introduction

The Welfare Support Team helps people of the Borough to maximise their income and assists those in crisis, with the aim of reducing poverty and protecting the vulnerable.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council operates a Back on Track scheme which provides a safety net to Council residents in the case of emergency. It aims to:

  • safeguard people in their own homes
  • support vulnerable people in the local community
  • alleviate poverty
  • encourage financial inclusion and financial resilience
  • support families in need

The scheme operates at the Council's discretion and there is no statutory right to support. The scheme is currently administered by the Council's Welfare Support Team. 

The three key features of the scheme are:

  • to provide crisis support for costs for energy supplies to residents in an emergency
  • to provide settlement support to vulnerable residents who require help to establish or maintain a home independently in the community, or remove barriers to starting work
  • to signpost or refer applicants to other support and welfare services which are available when people are in financial need - this may include but is not limited to food bank organisations, Citizens Advice, Tees Credit Union (a not for profit community bank) and the Department for Work and Pensions

1.1 Eligibility

To be eligible for the scheme applicants must be:

  • aged 16 years or over
  • a resident of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council or be moving into Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council as part of a planned resettlement programme and
  • usually have links or ties to Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
  • have no other form of immediate financial assistance, for example family, friends, employer, own resources or other available funding streams

To receive support applicants must also meet the qualifying conditions for the individual form of support they are applying for. These criteria are set out in 2.1 and 3.1.

1.2 Available support

There are two forms of support provided by the Back on Track scheme:

  • crisis support aims to prevent an immediate deterioration to the wellbeing of the applicant or their partner or dependent by providing short-term access to energy supplies, essential food, toiletries, clothing or footwear and baby consumables, which can be provided to cover the period until their next payment of benefit or payment of wages
  • settlement support aims to help applicants remain in the community or move back into the community after a period in supported or unsettled accommodation

This will be in the form of Crisis support or Settlement support.

Crisis support

Assistance with:

  • energy costs, generally via a pay point voucher
  • essential food and toiletries, generally via a referral to a food bank
  • essential clothing or footwear, generally via a referral to the appropriate agency
  • essential baby consumables

Signposting to appropriate support and welfare services, community organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions which are available when people are in financial need.

Settlement support

  • beds
  • bedding
  • chairs or sofas
  • tables
  • wardrobes
  • white goods
  • pans, crockery and cutlery
  • floor coverings
  • curtains
  • storage or removal costs
  • removal of barriers to starting work
  • rent in advance will be referred to our Homelessness and Housing Solutions Team for consideration
  • removal of barriers to starting work

Generally recycled furniture and white goods will be provided.

Floor coverings and curtains will only be provided where there is a proven medical need or a risk to the health and safety of the applicant or their household. Floor coverings will be provided for essential rooms only. This list is not exhaustive.

Support will be given via vouchers or access to items and products and will not usually include:

  • cash payments
  • payments into individual's bank accounts

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