Local Assistance Scheme

Local Assistance Scheme

The Local Assistance Scheme (LAS) commenced on the 1st April 2013 after the abolition of the Social Fund Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants by the Department of Works and Pensions.  It applies to Island residents who are in genuine hardship (which cannot be met through other means) so that they are able to access support they need, financial or otherwise, quickly and effectively.  It is a limited fund and will only be used for those in crisis, with emergencies for one-off expenses, such as purchasing a bed.  

What is covered by the Scheme

The Islands Local Assistance Scheme may not provide the same support which was previously provided under the Social Fund Scheme as Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans.  Local Assistance scheme awards are usually made by either voucher or referral, it is a non cash assistance scheme.

An award may be made in the following examples:

  • Help claimants with a need for emergency access to food and essential utilities.
  • Help claimants with a need for essential white goods such as a fridge, cooker and essential items of furniture where there is no alternative support available.
  • Help claimants with a need for essential clothing for children or adults where there is no alternative support available, for example school uniform.
  • Help claimants with travel costs in the case of an emergency where there is no other alternative support available, for example travel costs for medical appointments, to attend a funeral.
  • Help claimants with other emergency funding where it is deemed appropriate to provide support for an essential need, for example fire or flood (where not covered by insurance), theft (that has been reported to the police and a crime reference number has been provided).
  • Set up home in the community after having an unsettled way of life (as part of a planned programme of resettlement 

What is not covered by the Scheme

The scheme does not fund Crisis Loan Alignment Payments (when people are waiting for benefits, and being renamed 'short-term advances') - you should contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as usual for these. The same applies to non-emergency loans, such as budgeting loans and advances.

  • For help with rent, apply to the Council for housing benefit. If you already receive housing benefit payments and still have difficulties paying rent, consider making an application to the Council for Discretionary Housing Payments.
  • For help with Council Tax you should apply to the Council for Council Tax Support. If you already receive Council Tax Support and still have difficulties paying Council Tax, contact the Council Tax team for advice.

If you do not agree with the decision

If you have been refused an award you can apply for a review.  The request must be made in writing within one calendar month of the decision being issued to the applicant and they must tell the authority why they want a review of the decision.

Where agreement cannot be reached, a senior officer/manager will consider the case and a decision will be made within 20 days.  Where the senior officer/manager decides not to revise the original decision they will notify the applicant in writing, setting out the reasons for the decision.  This decision is final and binding and may only be challenged via the judicial process or by complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

To read the LAS pilot policy that is being introduced initially for one year starting on the 1st April 2013, please click here. 

Other Supporting Documents

To read the LAS pilot policy that is being introduced initially for one year starting on the 1st April 2013, please click here.