Equality Impact Assessment

Name of the proposal : Approval to jointly tender Supported Lodgings Scheme with Children's Services

Department : Adult Services

Name of lead officer : Linzi Gow

Publication date: 20/04/2012

Review date: 31/03/2013

Departmental Manager Approval by : Richard Ellis

Departmental Manager Approval date : 17/04/2012

 

 

Main purpose and aims of the policy, plan or project

Supported Lodgings provides young people aged 16-25 with safe and secure accommodation with support in a family environment. It offers lodgings within the homes of families, couples or single people across Hampshire, and provides the young person with an opportunity to benefit from the supported living of a family home, whilst being encouraged to develop the skills required for independent living. The scheme works closely with both the young person and the host to ensure the placement achieves the identified outcomes.

Children’s services funded placements are offered to young people who are eligible for services from Children’s Services either as looked after children, care leavers or as meeting the criteria for being a child in need.

Supporting People funded placements are offered to young people who are in transition from Children’s Services and continue to be in need of supportive, family based accommodation, may be homeless through circumstances beyond their control, or are at risk of homelessness. It is a short term service, with the expectation that the young person will have developed the necessary skills within two years to move on to less intensive supported housing or independent living.

The Supported Lodgings Scheme fits well with the other types of supported accommodation commissioned by Supporting People. This includes shared housing or self contained units for young people requiring less intensive support, and hostel-type accommodation with staff on site 24 hours a day for those with higher needs.

Supported Lodgings for young people is different to the Adult Services Shared Lives Scheme, in that it is a short term service for young people who are outside of the scope of the criteria for statutory services. The young people are nonetheless vulnerable and are provided with support as part of Hampshire County Council’s Preventative and Early Intervention agenda. The aim of Supported Lodgings is to equip the young person with the necessary skills, confidence and support network to move on to independent living. The young people have identified support needs rather than identified care needs.

There are currently 61 units available within the Supporting People funded Supported Lodgings Service. These units are provided by 2 service providers and issued under 6 separate contracts. The contracts are due to end in March 2013. The current Children’s Services contract for Supported Lodgings was awarded on the 1st May 2011. Since the start of this contract the provider has accommodated 86 young people who either in care or leaving care. This contract is due to expire on 30th April 2013. The Adult Services contract will be extended by one month to ensure services remain in place until the start of the proposed jointly commissioned service.

The placements with host families have resulted in positive experiences for young people and have provided them with suitable accommodation with support. Outcomes include move on to independent accommodation, or lower level supported accommodation, improved relationships with adults, increased access to training, employment and education and improved access to other support services. This service is therefore valuable in supporting Adult Services with the Preventative and Early Intervention Agenda as it provides support at a key point in young people’s lives which may reduce the need for support services in the longer term.

The commissioning teams from Children’s Services and Adult Services’ Supporting People Team identified the benefits of a joint tendering and procurement process for future Supported Lodgings contracts as it was felt the two services would complement each other.

By tendering the contracts jointly, the intention is to create a joint service specification and combine Children’s Services and Supporting People budgets to award a single contract. Supporting People and Children’s Services will jointly monitor the contracts and payments will be made through the Adults Services SPOCC system, with money being journalled across from Children’s Services.

The partners propose the joint procurement of Supported Lodgings provision for the following reasons:

• To develop and improve services and outcomes for young people, through improved commissioning arrangements and joint investment.

• To ensure a strategic approach to planning and development, through shared work and learning;

• Working together would enable the two services to exploit scale economies in contract rates and reduce the cost of commissioning;

• To ensure greater equity and consistency of services for Supported Lodgings users across Hampshire.

Main elements of the policy, plan or project

Children's services and Supporting People team have been gathering the views of young people who are currently in Supported Lodgings, service providers and relevant stakeholders. Initial feedback has highlighted the need for countywide coverage of the scheme to enable young people to live, where possible as close to their home town and existing support networks.

The feedback has also highlighted the difficulties of having different providers for the 2 separate contracts. In some instances, young people are having to move to between providers if when they are no longer in receipt of services from children's services, or vice versa. This creates an unneccesary period of instability, which could be addressed with a jointly commissioned contract.

The service specification will incorporate feedback from the consultation where possible.

Detailed Assessment

Age: Impact : Low
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Disability: Impact : Low
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Faith: Impact : Low
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Gender: Impact : Low
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Transgender: Impact : Low
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Race: Impact : Low
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Sexual Orientation: Impact : Low
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Marriage / civil partnership: Impact : Low
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Pregnancy & maternity: Impact : Low
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Other factors: Impact : Low
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Details of why some groups are low and/or no impact

The Supoprted Lodgings Scheme is targeted towards young people aged 16-25 who are either vulnerable due to their age or in receipt of children's services through Section 20 or Section 17 of the Children Act. Alternative supported accommodation services are available for people within other age groups.

The scheme aims to be accessible to any young people with identified support needs. The service provider is expected to ensure the hosts have equality awareness training and this will be incorporated into the service specification.

The service provider is also expected to meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and this will be monitored through performance monitoring.

There are some limitations in that the service is reliant on the recruitment and retention of appropriate hosts. The service provider is expected to proactively recruit hosts in order to meet the diverse needs of young people.

Conclusion

Supported Lodgings provides young people aged 16-25 with safe and secure accommodation with support in a family environment. It offers lodgings within the homes of families, couples or single people across Hampshire, and provides the young person with an opportunity to benefit from the supported living of a family home, whilst being encouraged to develop the skills required for independent living. The scheme works closely with both the young person and the host to ensure the placement achieves the identified outcomes.

It is proposed that Children's services and Adult Services Supporting People team will undertake a joint tendering and procurement process, with the aim of issuing a joint contract from April 2013. This is expected to have improved outcomes for young people in that it will offer a safe, secure environment in which to develop their skills, reduce the need to move between providers, and increase the likelihood of being able to live near their home town and existing support networks.

The scheme also aims to provide appropriate interventions at an early stage, so that young people are adequately equipped to move into independent living.

The scheme may not meet the needs of all young people identified as having the protected characteristics as stated in the Equality Act. The performance monitoring data will keep a record of the young people referred and offered a service and will be used to explore and address any inequalities.

 

For more information please visit the Hampshire County Council Equality & Diversity web page.