Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Supporting People - proposed funding changes for accommodation and community based support to be considered

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hampshire County Council is proposing to continue investing over £17million in accommodation and community related support services for adults as part of its Supporting People programme. It follows a review of discretionary services to ensure the right support is available to those who require it, while directing investment at those with the greatest care needs.

At her Decision Day on 30 July, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, will consider proposals to reduce the overall Supporting People budget by £7.66m by 31 March 2016, while ensuring that substantial investment continues in the County Council's preventative services.

The Supporting People programme commissions services to support a wide range of people with lower levels of care need who do not meet the threshold for adult social care services, but who would benefit from 'a bit of extra help' to remain independent. Those currently helped include single homeless people and teenage parents and families, young people in crisis, victims of domestic abuse, ex service personnel, as well as support for older people living in sheltered housing via alarm services and handyperson/gardening services.

The Supporting People programme also funds a mixture of community support services and accommodation based services for people with disabilities, the majority of whom are young adults with a learning disability.

In 2009, the Government removed the requirement to provide this kind of accommodation and community based support and specific grant funding was removed, but Hampshire, unlike some other local authorities, continued to fund them at a high level. Now, as a consequence of the significant financial pressures facing the County Council with grant funding from central Government reducing, the increasing demand for statutory care services, and with a target of £102m savings to be made in this financial year alone, all service budgets across the County Council are under review.

The County Council has a comprehensive approach to prevention and early intervention and will be commissioning new services to come into effect from April 2015 that complement this overall approach. This will ensure that resources are targeted at the people who need them most.

It is proposed that the savings to the Supporting People Programme will be made through a combination of changes which include:

  • Ending funding for the Community Alarm service in September 2014 - ensuring all those who currently receive the service are assessed to determine whether they are eligible for social care support through telecare (a comprehensive telephony based support service); and that those who are not, are offered a self funded option
  • removing under utilised capacity in disability support services, better reflecting current needs
  • Identifying the availability of alternative community based support, for example through services provided by the voluntary sector, to enable some existing support contracts to be ended.

Detailed proposals for the support services currently provided for the homeless will be submitted for consideration in 2015 taking account of the views of partners, providers and those who receive services currently.

Commenting on the proposals, Cllr Fairhurst said: "I will consider the recommendations from the Director of Adult Services in the context of the significant financial pressures facing the Authority and the need to ensure resources are directed towards those with the greatest need. I will wish to satisfy myself that where it is recommended that services reduce or stop, appropriate alternative provision is available to support those who need it, and that the recommendations have taken on board the views of partners and those affected."

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