10. Housing Related Support
The Housing Related Support programme was previously known as Supporting People. It funds a range of floating support, community and accommodation based services that support people to live independently in the community in their own homes and maintain their tenancies. These are non-statutory, preventative services which help adults at risk avoid homelessness and avoids or delays entry into mainstream domiciliary care, residential, nursing and other institutional services. Housing Related Support allows people to live as independently as possible for as long as possible and therefore arguably saves the public purse more than is invested in the programme.
The Council carried out a review of all Housing Related Support (HRS) Services in 2015 in response to the extreme financial pressures facing the authority, also taking the opportunity to review a number of non-statutory contracts and service delivery types which had effectively become a layer of non-statutory community based support services which overlapped with statutory domiciliary provision. As Housing Related Support, the previous funding for Supporting People is no longer financially ring-fenced. The Council currently commissions HRS services from a number of independent providers. Some are accommodation based including where the provider of the support and accommodation are the same, while others are floating support services where there is no such connection. As a result of the review, all floating support with exception of the HRS specialist Learning Difficulties services are being moved into a single generic floating support service from 1 October 2016. The revised service specification now focuses on supporting individuals to be able to maintain their tenancy or accommodation whereas the previous service had developed from the former Supporting People programme of non-statutory domiciliary care, which also provided a range of community based support to develop and maintain independent living skills as well as tenancy support.
Accommodation based HRS services (again excluding Learning Difficulties) including the Merlin Housing sheltered service (which moved 1 April 2016) are moving to an enhanced housing management model with associated cost reductions from 1 October 2016. All of the organisations concerned had individual negotiations with the Council to achieve this, and along with the review of floating support, this has rationalised a large range of diverse services with different pricing structures and delivery approaches into a more relevant generic approach to ensuring eligible citizens receive appropriate support to live independently as long as possible in the community by being supported to maintain their own tenancies.
As a result of the review, the Council is currently tendering for a county wide generic housing related floating support service. The Council is therefore seeking a single provider, partnership or consortium able to deliver high quality housing related support to individuals and groups from all client groups in both traditional and innovative ways. The contract is for the provision of a county wide Housing Related Support Service, provided on a floating support basis, which will commence on 1st October 2016. The contract is for 54 months with an optional extension clause of 24 months subject to performance and funding. The Council has agreed funding of £355,000 per annum for this contract. As this service has been undertaken by a number of providers under separate contracts in previous years, a significant issue will be TUPE staff transfer as well as maintaining service continuity.