Proposed Changes to the Short Break Grant and SNIPS Clubs – Latest August 2018

Proposed Changes to the Short Break Grant and SNIPS Clubs – Latest August 2018

As an outcome of the recent consultation about some of the council’s short break and respite provision, a decision was made to introduce changes to the eligibility for the Short Break Grant as well as to ask parents to contribute to special needs inclusion play care services (SNIPS) daytime short break activities.

There is a council process whereby a formal decision like this, about a change in service, can be called to be considered by a Scrutiny Committee. The Scrutiny Committee can agree with the proposals, recommend changes or ask the decision maker to think again.

This decision has now been called to be considered by a Scrutiny Committee and this is likely to happen in September.

When decisions like this are to be considered by a Scrutiny Committee, we are not allowed to implement the decision or make any changes until after the Scrutiny Committee has considered the decision and makes any suggestions.

Unfortunately, this means we will not be able to make the 2018 Short Break Grant scheme available until after the Scrutiny committee has met and made any recommendations.

As soon as we have any further information we will put it on here and make it available on as many other websites and social media pages as we can.

We consulted on proposals for the delivery of short breaks between 4 December 2017 and 9 March 2018. The report is now going through the decision-making process and we expect the final decision to be made by the end of July 2018.

Changes to the Short Breaks Grant will be in place for the application process, which opens in August. Changes to special needs inclusion playcare services (SNIPS) will come into effect from 1 April 2019 and be phased in over a period of months.

All families who currently use short break services should have received a letter explaining any changes to services and when these will come into place. 

For enquiries about the Short Break Grant email CYPF_shortbreaksgrant@sheffield.gov.uk  or phone 0114 273 6032.

For enquiries about SNIPS email SNIPSBusinessSupport@sheffield.gov.uk or phone 0114 273 5368.

Read about the consultation

The consultation questionnaire was available online for all parent, carers, children and young people who currently use, have used, or plan to use short break services in Sheffield. 

Paper copies were sent to families using services where we had a full address and were also available on request.

The consultation focused on:

  • Short Breaks Grants
  • special needs inclusion playcare services (SNIPS):
  • Saturday, holiday or after school short break activities in mainstream Clubs
  • Saturday, holiday or after school short break activities in targeted clubs for disabled children only

The feedback was analysed for each proposal to assess the impact across these services and we also considered the types of family who completed the questionnaire.

The analysis was put into a report for decision-makers which also included analysis of service use data between 2015 and 2018. Each proposal was addressed with both sets of information to consider the potential impact on families.

The report is now going through the decision-making process, where it will be considered by the Executive Director of People Services Portfolio and the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families.

The final decision will be signed off by both the Executive Director and the Cabinet Member.

Proposed changes to the Short Breaks Grant

  • eligibility for a Short Breaks Grant will stop on a young person’s 18th birthday
  • families would not be eligible for the Short Breaks Grant if they already access other short break or respite services
  • families with a household income of over £21,000 will not be eligible for the grant

The Short Breaks Grant is allocated one per family based on eligibility criteria. You may apply for a child or children under 18 but, once the changes are implemented, not for young people aged 18 or over who can progress into adult short break services.

Families would not be eligible for the Short Breaks Grant if they already access other short break or respite services. If you would like to apply for short breaks you will have to decide between the Short Breaks Grant and the other service you receive as you cannot receive both.

You cannot get a grant as if you receive any of the following: 

  • daytime short breaks accessed through SNIPS
  • overnight respite short breaks in a residential home
  • direct payments

Families with a household income of over £21,000 will not be eligible for the grant under the proposed changes. This is the total income into your household, including everybody who lives there.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) does not count as part of your household income in these proposals.

Carers allowance is taxable and counts as income for tax credits and as unearned income for universal credit. The allowance is therefore included as part of your total income.

You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment but you won’t be able to apply for both.

The application will be a 2 stage process and will open mid-August:

  1. Complete your Household Income Assessment - This will provide you with confirmation of whether your household income is below £21,000. If your household income is below £21,000 you can take step 2 to apply for a grant.
  2. Apply for a Short Break Grant - The Short Breaks Grant application forms will not be available until after 13 August 2018. To be eligible for a Short Breaks Grant you will need to meet the rest of the grant eligibility, and have completed the income assessment.

If you do not complete the household Income Assessment first, this will delay your application for a Short Breaks Grant.

Changes to SNIPS 

Parents will pay the cost of day time short breaks in mainstream clubs

Parents will pay the cost of the club activity for daytime short breaks in mainstream club, e.g. archery, football club, horse-riding, sports club.  If you are unsure if the club your child attends is a mainstream club, please ask the club or your SNIPS mentor.

The club will tell you the cost of attending and collect the money from you directly. If your child attends a club that you find too expensive to pay on an ongoing basis, you may be able to find a lower cost alternative. If we receive feedback that this is often the case, we will do some work to try to increase the number of clubs available at different costs.

If you're in receipt of means-tested benefits or your household income is assessed to be below the threshold of £21,000 you will not have to pay activity costs. This is the total income of your household, including everybody who lives there.

DLA does not count as part of your household income in these proposals. 

Carers allowance is taxable and counts as income for tax credits and as unearned income for universal credit. The allowance is therefore included as part of your total income.

To be eligible for a service you will need to meet the full eligibility, and have completed the income assessment. If you do not complete the household Income Assessment first, this will delay your application.

Changes will be implemented for 1 April 2018 and families using the service will be contacted regarding income assessment, to have this complete by the end of January.

You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment but you won’t be able to apply for both.

Parents will pay toward the cost of daytime short breaks in targeted clubs

Parents will contribute toward the cost of the activity for daytime short breaks in targeted clubs, which provide short beaks for disabled children only.

The costs for disabled only children’s clubs are much higher. We are therefore asking parents for the same contribution, across all clubs, because it is the easiest and most straightforward approach, both for families and for the short breaks clubs. Having different amounts for each club could mean increased administration costs and would not be helpful for families.

How you pay will be decided by the clubs providing the service and the clubs will collect your contribution.

Where families have more than one child attending a targeted club, families will make one payment of £10 per session that covers all children attending.

If you have children that attend different services please ensure you make this known to all the services you use. Depending upon the outcome of the consultation decision, it may mean you pay for the mainstream club activity session, and make a contribution to the targeted club. Unless you are on benefits or below the income threshold, in which case the service may be free.

If your child is sick or on holiday and unable to attend their club, you’ll most likely still have to pay. The clubs employ staff to work at every session to ensure trained staff are available to meet the children’s needs. The staff must be paid whether children attend or not. If a session cost is not paid, this could leave the club without enough money to pay staff wages. A few clubs may waive this but we do not expect that to be the case in many instances.

If you're in receipt of means-tested benefits or your household income is assessed to be below the threshold of £21,000 you will not have to pay a contribution. This is the total income into your household, including everybody who lives there.

DLA does not count as part of your household income in these proposals.

Carers allowance is taxable and counts as income for tax credits and as unearned income for universal credit. The allowance is therefore included as part of your total income.

To be eligible for a service you will need to meet the full eligibility, and have completed the income assessment. If you do not complete the household Income Assessment first, this will delay your application.

Changes will be implemented for 1 April 2018 and families using the service will be contacted regarding income assessment, to have this complete by the end of January.

You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment but you won’t be able to apply for both.

About the Household Income Assessment 

Families will need to complete a household Income Assessment online or over the phone. You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment, but you won’t be able to apply for both.

You don’t need to know which service you want, whether it’s a short breaks grant or SNIPs club, before you do the income assessment but you won’t be able to apply for both.

If you are on a benefit listed below, no further income will need to be assessed and you will be eligible to apply for a service. We will need to verify whether you are on benefits.

  • Free school meals
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Social Fund (Sure Start Maternity Grant, Funeral Payment, Cold Weather Payment)
  • Universal Credit

DLA is non-taxable and does not count as part of your household income for means-tested benefits.

Carers allowance is taxable and counts as income for tax credits and as unearned income for universal credit. The allowance is therefore included as part of your total income.

Household income is a measure of the combined incomes of all people sharing a household.

The easiest way for us to tell is if you are entitled to free school meals. This does not show us your income, but if a family is eligible for free school meals it means that they are in receipt of certain benefits.

If you are not eligible for free school meals, we will ask for evidence of other benefits or your household income.

The length of time the assessment takes will vary as it will depend on how many applications need assessing and the level of information required. There can be delays when not all the necessary information is provided when requested but we are working to reduce any delays we can by having a simple and short process.

How to apply for a Short Breaks Grant or SNIPS

The application process will be a 2 stage process.

  1. Complete your Household Income Assessment to determine whether your household income is below £21,000.
  2. Apply to the service in the usual way.

For enquiries about the Short Break Grant email CYPF_shortbreaksgrant@sheffield.gov.uk  or phone 0114 273 6032.

For enquiries about SNIPS email SNIPSBusinessSupport@sheffield.gov.uk or phone 0114 273 5368.

Contact details

If you have a question about these change, which is not answered here, please email shortbreaksconsultation@sheffield.gov.uk  or phone 0114 273 5611.