Toolkit for local authorities - 2013

3.9 million kids, live below the poverty line in the UK today, damaging their immediate well-being and reducing their future life chances. However, this poverty is not evenly spread across the UK, and many local authorities have higher levels of poverty than others. Even local authorities with low levels of child poverty have ‘pockets’ of deprivation within them, for example even the City of London, which has a poverty rate less than half of the national average (12%) has one ward where 68% of children live in poverty. Child poverty affects all local authorities.

And it is expected to increase. Between now and 2020, changes to the tax and benefit system mean that child poverty is projected to increase by around 1 million children nationally. On top of these million children moving into poverty in Local Authorities around the country, households already in poverty also face falls in income, intensifying the experience of poverty.

The Child Poverty Act (2010) (CPA) committed the government to reducing child poverty and placed specific duties on local authorities to work towards ending child poverty. Specifically, it placed a duty on Local Authorities to:

  • Co-operate with partners and other bodies to reduce child poverty and work to mitigate its effects.
  • Produce an assessment of the needs of children living in poverty in its area (a child poverty needs assessment), and
  • Prepare a joint Child Poverty Strategy with relevant partners.

Local authorities are, in many ways, stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they are committed to reducing and mitigating the effects of child poverty, while on the other they will experience the impact of welfare reforms that are predicted to increase child poverty between here are 2020, and local authorities.

Working with a number of local authorities and partner staff, CPAG has produced a guide of helpful tools and tips to assist local authorities to reduce child poverty, and mitigate its effects, locally.

  1. Guide to welfare reforms for local authority staff and their partners
  2. Implementing the universal credit roll out
  3. Managing the overall benefit caps
  4. Communicating changes to affected groups
  5. Responding to the under-occupation penalty / bedroom tax
  6. Responding to council tax localisation
  7. Responding to increasing conditionality and sanctions
  8. The localisation of the social fund
  9. Managing food poverty
  10. Managing digital exclusion
  11. Managing transport exclusion
  12. Coping with a lack of data and data sharing
  13. Increasing financial inclusion and financial literacy
  14. Tackling fuel poverty
  15. Maximising income through take up campaigns and the living wage
  16. Co-ordinated working and potential partners
  17. Keeping child poverty high on the local agenda through commissions
  18. The cost of child poverty locally
  19. Including the voices of young people in child poverty strategies
  20. Evaluating and monitoring child poverty strategies