To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed)
The Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services presented the response to the Scrutiny Review - No Child Goes Hungry.
The Cabinet Member thanked everyone who participated in the review, and said this was an excellent example of partnership working during a time of crisis. Agreeing the recommendations from the review and getting them in place before the winter months would be essential.
The Cabinet Member said the Cabinet would accept all 5 of the recommendations from the scrutiny review, but with a couple of pragmatic amendments.
The Leader commented that there would also be a change to recommendation 1 in relation to which funding stream the money would be allocated from. It would be funded in the manner set out in paragraph 27 of the report, leaving the Household Support Fund available to assist wider community needs.
The Leader has written a letter to the Government to lobby for an increase in the funding allocation for free school meals which would be sent once Cabinet approval was granted. All cabinet members supported the need for lobbying.
The Leader reminded Cabinet members that the relevant Scrutiny Chair had given approval for this decision to be exempted from call in due to the urgent need to deal with the cost of living crisis, and he thanked the Chair for his approval.
RESOLVED, that Cabinet
(1) Agrees to provide funding to cover the 25% of none DfE funded costs that eligible schools must contribute in order to be part of the National Breakfast Club Programme until March 2023.
(2) Agrees to provide a Food Provision Grant to every school based on a formula that included a combination of total pupil numbers and total numbers of FSM pupils. This funding to be used at the school’s discretion to ensure that their pupils are able to access hot food as appropriate. Schools will be issued with guidance and advice on use of the grant.
(3) Agrees to allocate £0.4m from the unspent Contain Outbreak Management Funding (COMF) and £1.1m from COVID ringfenced reserves to fund the breakfast clubs and food provision schemes.
(4) Agrees for the Leader to write to Government to lobby for a fair review of the funding of FSM.
(5) Agrees to enter into an agreement for the provision of free school meal vouchers during the Easter Holidays and provide funding for the vouchers in the form of a ringfenced reserve to be used by Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council.
(6) Agrees to allocate £0.5m from COVID ringfenced reserves to fund the provision of free school meal vouchers during the Easter Holidays.