Application Guidelines

Equal Opportunities Statement

 

The Edridge Fund of Napo shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, disability, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, or marital or civil partnership status.

The Trustees will endeavour to ensure the local representatives are aware of and abide by the Equal Opportunities Statement and that potential beneficiaries are aware of the statement.

Please note that if, for any reason, you do not wish your local Edridge Rep to be aware of your application this should be clearly stated on your form.

Reviewed May 2018.


Edridge: Criteria for Financial Assistance

Introduction.

The purpose of this document is to put into context the criteria used for assessing applications to the Edridge fund. This is to ensure that:

  • the purposes for giving assistance are properly defined

  • grants are effectively and efficiently made in ways that achieve the benefits intended

  • there is uniformity of treatment and thinking.

Edridge is a small charity with limited funds and we are not able to offer long term support or make large grants. Trustees tend to take the view that we would rather offer a small amount to more people than make larger grants to fewer. Applying a defined criteria enables trustees to justify decisions.

Who can apply?

Anyone who is eligible to join Napo as a full, retired or professional associate member. It is not a requirement to be a member merely to be eligible to join. Full membership is available to people employed by the National Probation Service (NPS), Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), CAFCASS, Probation Board Northern Ireland (PBNI), The Isle of Man or Channel Islands Probation Service.

Professional Associate Membership is available to former probation or family court officers who become teachers making a substantial contribution to the training of future probation or family court officers, Social workers in Scotland working with offenders or Social work staff of approved probation hostels not employed by probation.

Definition of Financial Hardship

Once eligibility to apply to the fund has been established Trustees need to consider whether hardship has been demonstrated. Many applicants have long term issues with debts and regular financial obligations which leave them with little or no surplus money for unforeseen expenses or if there is a sudden change in circumstances or a drop in income.

Unforeseen hardship may come about as a result of:

  • a sudden loss or reduction of income

  • abnormal increase in expenditure

  • death or serious illness of a partner, dependent or relative

  • circumstances which have increased the financial burden on a household that could not have been predicted, anticipated or expected

  • the need for an essential item that the applicant cannot afford or reasonably be expected to budget for.

Applications will be assessed taking the following into account:

-the financial position of the household, including ALL income, capital, household expenditure, outstanding debts and liabilities

-the personal circumstances eg health domestic, work etc

-the consequences for those involved

  • whether its a long or short term problem

  • what the applicant has done or tried to do to improve matters

Admin and decision making

Applicants are submitted to the Edridge administrator who forwards a copy to all trustees by secure email. Each month one trustee is the designated rota chair for that period. This trustee sends out a brief summary of the application with a recommendation as to whether a grant should be made and if so for how much to the other trustees. Trustees are given three days to respond to the rota chair with their views, any alternative suggestions or follow up questions and once an agreement has been reached, by a majority of available trustees the rota chair will send a brief decision summary to the administrator and the financial administrator, who will then arrange for the applicant to be informed and payment, if applicable, to be made.

If more information or clarification is required the rota chair will usually ask the administrator to contact the applicant prior to a decision being made. In exceptional circumstances the rota chair may make direct contact with the applicant by phone or email.

It is a formal expectation that decisions are made within 3 weeks of the receipt of the application. In practice this is usually done within a week.

Very occasionally a decision needs to be made much more quickly; in such circumstances trustees are advised of an emergency application and a decision can be made within an hour by only two trustees, who will discuss the application by phone and inform the financial administrator who can issue a cheque immediately.

As funds have reduced in recent years it is unlikely that grants will exceed £350. If an amount higher than this is being considered ALL trustees must be in agreement.

Whilst repeat applications will be considered on their own merits Trustees will look at previous applications within a two year period and may take into account whether advice has been followed. Subsequent grants within this time frame are likely to be smaller than the original and there is a general principle that no-one will receive more than £1000 within a two year period.

Whilst trustees will be aware of applications made more than two years previously they will not have the full details of these applications.

Establishing Financial Hardship

Financial assistance will always be based on an assessment of need. This requires the completion of the the Edridge application form with full details of the income and expenditure of the applicant and all members of their household.

Where there is a significant excess income over expenditure, capital over debt or unduly high expense in specific areas of spending these factors will be considered in the decision making process.

TRIGGER AMOUNTS

While considering surplus or deficit figures between income and expenditure Trustees will also use information available from the Money Advice Service and other sources (which are reviewed and updated regularly) to establish acceptable levels of cost of expenditure such as food and housekeeping. These “Trigger Amounts” take into account the size of the household and will be compared to the figures provided on applications. Adjustments will be made to either increase or decrease the amounts provided to ensure they fall within the range of the Trigger Amounts to ensure a level of consistency in the assessment process.

INCOME

The financial assessment will take income from all sources into account including:

  • Earnings – including partners earnings

  • Maintenance

  • Pensions – including partners

  • Interest on accessible savings

  • Contributions from non-dependents eg children in work, other relatives, lodgers

  • Any benefits received

EXPENDITURE AND DEBT

Applicants should account for all items of expenditure and if necessary will be prompted to consider any elements missing from their application form.

Information about any on-going debt, level and frequency of repayments and outstanding sums should be included.

TREATMENT OF CAPITAL

The extent to which any capital is disregarded depend on the nature of the assistance being sought and the overall circumstance of the applicant.

Capital includes:

  • Cash

  • Premium Bonds

  • ISAs

  • Stocks and Shares

  • Unit Trusts

  • Credit balances in Bank and Building Society accounts

  • Capital belonging to any member of the applicant’s household

  • Property that is not the normal residence of the applicant or members of their household

  • Buy to let properties purchased as a commercial arrangement with the intention of making income and capital returns.

Membership of household.

Whilst understanding that some families choose not to take a financial contribution from an adult family member living with them the fact that an unexpected change of circumstances has led to an application for financial assistance would in most cases be considered to be reasonable grounds for that decision to be revised.

Conversely where an applicant does not have their own accommodation but lives within someone else’s home we will consider whether the amount paid towards rent, utilities, food etc is representative of the actual costs.

LOANS

The Edridge Fund does not make loans and there is no expectation that grants will be repaid. We do however contact successful applicants approximately 3 months after a grant has been made in the hopes that their circumstances have improved and to remind them of opportunities for fund raising, regular donations or the 50/50 club.

PAYMENT METHODS

Grants are usually paid direct to the applicant via cheque or bank transfer.

MONITORING AND EVALUATION

Whilst Statistical records of applications and grant giving are maintained and reviewed by trustees annually grant decisions are reviewed quarterly. Ethnicity, gender, employer, and union membership are currently recorded and included in the annual report.

This is currently subject to review and development.

A full report regarding diversity of applicants is available on the website.

Complaints

Communication and feedback are crucial in monitoring standards and improving provision. If you have a concern or complaint, you should feel this can be voiced and that it will be taken seriously.

It is hoped that all complaints can be resolved within 28 days of the complaint being made.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your application you should contact the Chair of Trustees in writing. The Chair of Trustees will not normally have been involved in the application decision making process or had any direct prior involvement in the matter. In the event that the Chair of Trustees identifies that he or she has had prior involvement, or there is a conflict of interest, then at his or her discretion an independent decision-maker shall be appointed.

The Chair of Trustees (or independent decision-maker) will investigate the complaint making sure that policies and procedures have been followed and make any further enquiries that are deemed appropriate.

He or she will write to you with a decision setting out the conclusions reached. This will usually be within ten days of receiving your formal complaint.

There is no further right of appeal.

SCOPE OF ASSISTANCE AND CRITERIA

Edridge aims to provide prompt financial assistance as a short term measure. As outlined above we can only make small grants and cannot offer long term financial support. Where the problem is long term we are most likely to signpost applicants to other organisations for financial advice or charities who are able to make larger grants.

Whilst not exclusive, examples of the type of circumstances that may result in an application include:

  • those on reduced pay as a result of long term illness and/or absence from work

  • those experiencing financial hardship through changes in their circumstances or struggling with events they could not have predicted, anticipated or expected

EXCLUSIONS

All decisions regarding financial help are made according to certain criteria, in consideration of available funds and are at the sole discretion of the Trustees. However some needs put forward by applicants will not meet the criteria for financial assistance.

These include:

  • Applicant having sufficient savings or monthly surplus to meet the cost of the item requested.

  • School fees, funding for courses (further or higher education), student loan repayments.

  • House purchase.

  • Private medical treatment or towards travel or associated costs related to receiving treatment in another country.

  • Car purchase.

  • Legal fees, legal representation and associated costs.

  • Payment of fines

  • Debts to family and friends

  • Residential or nursing home fees.

  • Help to make up loss of pay as a result of industrial action

  • Potential Reputational Damage to the Edridge Fund.

Edridge is best placed to respond to unforeseen crisis needs such as replacement of essential household items. However as a small charity we may only be able to make a contribution towards such costs.

Grants might be made towards the following:

– Funeral expenses for a parent, partner or dependent.

-Help with travel expenses to attend frequent hospital appointments where no statutory help is available.

-Help with cost of car repairs where car is essential for work.

-Payments to assist in meeting housing costs, council tax and utilities may be considered if there is temporarily insufficient income.

  • Household items. Contributions can be made towards the cost of repairing essential household items such as boilers, fridge/freezers, cookers, washing machines etc, or replacing them if they are beyond repair.

  • Assistance for people with disabilities who need help to purchase special needs equipment.

  • Assistance with rent arrears, utility bills or council tax arrears urgently needed to prevent eviction, disconnection or imprisonment.

ALTERNATIVE RESOURCES

The Edridge Fund will not replicate, replace or pre-empt services or financial assistance that should be met by statutory provision. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that they have applied for and accepted all relevant sources of assistance from statutory sources including local welfare provision where appropriate.

Applicants will be encouraged to check whether there is any additional income which they or a family member should be entitled, particularly in respect of any unclaimed state benefits and allowances.

Consideration will be given as to whether or not an applicant has explored other avenues of help before making an application. In the case of repeat applications, where the applicant has previously been signposted to alternative sources of assistance Trustees will require information as to whether the advice has been followed and details of the outcome before offering further assistance.

DEBT POLICY

Those applicants considered to be in serious debt or where meeting payments leaves the applicant unable to meet the basic living costs will be advised to seek professional debt advice (Citizens Advice, Step Change) and to consider any suggested debt management plans. If this is the option recommended by a recognised debt advisor a grant towards part of the fees may be given…

Document revised: July 2020