What is Council's Hardship Policy?
The purpose of this Policy is to provide Frankston City Council with a policy framework to provide relief to individuals who need financial assistance.
Council recognises that there are genuine cases of financial difficulty and financial hardship that require respect and compassion.
This draft policy establishes updated guidelines for assessment of financial difficulty or hardship applications based on the principles of fairness, integrity, confidentiality and compliance with statutory requirements.
It applies to all applications for waiving or suspending interest and/or other fees and
charges, but not to waiving the whole or part of any rate or rates service charge.
Why are we proposing changes to the policy?
The existing hardship policy was adopted in 2020 to include a Pandemic Clause. In 2020, the Victorian Ombudsman conducted a review which was prompted by concerns from ratepayers, financial counsellors and community lawyers on the way local councils treat people who cannot afford their council rates.
The review showed widely varying practices between Councils. Some had policies that were inaccessible, and others demonstrated good practices such as engaging with local financial counsellors, recognising family violence as a sign of hardship, and providing information in community languages. You can read more about the review here.
The review provided recommendations that Councils include a specific reference to Family Violence in their policy. Further to the recommendations, Frankston City Council also included the addition of other fees and charges across services provided to the community.
The draft policy has undergone extensive internal review, and presented to Councillors in a Council meeting where it was approved for public consultation.
Do you have any feedback?
We are seeking your feedback on the proposed Hardship Policy, to ensure it meets your expectations. We invite you to review the draft Policy and submit your feedback in writing using the below feedback form.
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