David Butterfield

1. How did you distribute the COVID Winter Grant to vulnerable families, i.e. cash, food parcels or retail supermarket vouchers?
2. Did you use this grant to distribute financial support to families of children eligible for Free School Meals?
3. How many children were eligible for Free School Meals and how many children claimed financial support via the grant scheme?
4. Did you use the grant to distribute support to other vulnerable families / individuals and if so, which groups, i.e. homeless etc.?
5. If using supermarket vouchers
(a) which supplier(s) did you use to distribute the vouchers?
(b) how did you choose a supplier?
(c) what were your top 3 mandatory requirements for the service?
(d) did you coordinate the ordering to all beneficiaries/recipients, or was access delegated to schools to administer and order?
(e) did you enter into a direct contract with the supplier or call off via a framework?
(f) when does your contract end?
6. Following Government's extension of the COVID Winter Grant, will you continue to fund Free School Meal vouchers in May half-term and summer holidays?
7. Which role(s) and job functions manage the contract for this service?

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

2 Attachments

Re: Your request for information concerning:

 

COVID Winter Grant Scheme

 

The Council aims to provide available information promptly and in any
event within 20 working days, unless, exceptionally, there is a need to
consider whether the information is exempt from disclosure.

 

I will contact you again soon in connection with your request.

 

Please quote the reference below if you contact the Council regarding this
request.

 

Customer Request Number: FOI_3609

 

 

show quoted sections

Adam Dodsworth, Sunderland City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Butterfield,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Thank you for your information request regarding the COVID Winter Grant
Scheme. Please see responses below to each question.

 

Q1. How did you distribute the COVID Winter Grant to vulnerable families,
i.e. cash, food parcels or retail supermarket vouchers?

Through the delivery mechanism of the Sunderland COVID-19 Community Hubs
based within each locality as well as other VCS Organisations including
the Sunderland Foodbank network - tailored support, which included food
hampers with some containing vouchers to be used on the local Highstreet
with local traders, delivery of hot meals and afternoon teas to people’s
homes, fuel credits, personal care items and activity/social isolation
support winter support.

Free School Meal payments were distributed by schools primarily via
supermarket vouchers, with one secondary academy opting to make payments
direct to parent bank accounts (please see response to Q5 for further
details).

 

Q2. Did you use this grant to distribute financial support to families of
children eligible for Free School Meals?

Yes - Residents from all Wards across the City received support, including
families of children eligible for Free School Meals.

 

Q3. How many children were eligible for Free School Meals and how many
children claimed financial support via the grant scheme?

During the school holidays (Christmas, February Half-Term and  Easter) an
average of 11,193 children were eligible for Free School Meals.  An
average of 11,282 claims were made for each of the three periods.

(Note: eligibility is based on census data from October and January and is
therefore only accurate at those specific points in time.  Actual take up
is higher due to children who have become eligible since the census date).

 

 

Q4. Did you use the grant to distribute support to other vulnerable
families / individuals and if so, which groups, i.e. homeless etc.?

Any resident who identified as vulnerable with targeting of the City’s
most vulnerable residents, including homeless, asylum seekers and refugees

 

Q5. If using supermarket vouchers

(a) which supplier(s) did you use to distribute the vouchers?

Schools were asked to decide themselves which supermarkets they thought
would be most likely to be used by their families.  Some schools purchased
vouchers direct from:

o Aldi
o Asda
o Heron Foods
o Tesco
o Sainsbury’s
o Morrison’s

 

A number of schools used Wonde and Edenred, through these systems the
parent would be given the choice of a selection of vouchers, we have no
information on which supermarket was selected.

 

(b) how did you choose a supplier? – see above.

(c) what were your top 3 mandatory requirements for the service? – as
above, the decision was made by the schools.

(d) did you coordinate the ordering to all beneficiaries/recipients, or
was access delegated to schools to administer and order? Access was
delegated to schools to administer and order.

(e) did you enter into a direct contract with the supplier or call off via
a framework? No.

(f) when does your contract end? N/A

 

Q6. Following Government's extension of the COVID Winter Grant, will you
continue to fund Free School Meal vouchers in May half-term and summer
holidays?

Yes in respect of May half-term.  No decision has been made at this point
in respect of the summer holidays.

 

Q7. Which role(s) and job functions manage the contract for this service?

This is not managed as a contract.  The Director of Finance (Together for
Children) is the Single Point of Contact for the DWP grant.  Distribution
is via the Director of Education as the link for Free School Meals with
schools and the Assistant Director of Community Resilience for other
vulnerable residents.

 

I hope this is satisfactory. If, however, you are dissatisfied with our
response to your request for information, you can ask for the decision to
be reviewed in reply to this letter. The review will be removed from the
service area and coordinated by the Council's Information Governance
Officer. A request for review should be directed, by email to
[1][Sunderland City Council request email], or by post or by hand addressed
to; Information Governance Officer, Governance Services, Civic Centre, PO
Box 100, Sunderland, SR2 7DN. You are of course entitled to apply to the
Information Commissioner at any time, although the Commissioner will not
usually investigate until the public authority's internal review procedure
has been concluded.

 

Thanks,

 

Adam Dodsworth
Senior Accountant – Coordination and Technical
Financial Management

Corporate Services
Sunderland City Council

[2]www.sunderland.gov.uk

 

Please note: I am currently working from home on a permanent basis until
further notice. I am available via email or a Teams Call

 

 

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David Butterfield

FAO Adam Dodsworth
Senior Accountant - Coordination and Technical

Good morning Adam,

Thank you very much for your comprehensive response to my questions which is hugely appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

David Butterfield
Managing Director