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Changes agreed to housing and community related support services

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Hampshire County Council has agreed changes to the way it provides discretionary adult social care services to ensure limited resources are focussed on residents who have the greatest care needs and who therefore, meet statutory criteria.

At her Decision Day on 30 July, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, agreed proposals to reduce the overall Supporting People budget by £7.66m by 31 March 2016. The Supporting People programme commissions discretionary housing and community support services from district councils and third-party providers for people with lower levels of care need who require a 'little bit of extra help' to live independently.

Substantial investment will continue to be provided for preventative and early intervention services to help people live independently for longer- with new services set to be commissioned. This approach helps to reduce the financial burden on statutory services, further down the line.

The review of discretionary services follows budget decisions made by the Full County Council in February 2014, which require all services to achieve significant on-going savings due to further reductions in Government grant, and growing demand for social care from an ageing population.

For older people living in sheltered housing, the changes agreed 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
  • Help for people to access alternative gardening and handyman services, provided within the voluntary and community sector, with current contracts ending in March 2015
  • The development of a new community-based support service, based on current pilot schemes
  • The introduction of a short-term intensive support service (6-12 weeks) working in conjunction with the County Council's Community Independence Teams

For people with disabilities, the changes agreed include:

  • Removing spare capacity in disability support services, better reflecting current needs
  • An assessment for all clients with disabilities to determine the support they need, with new services commissioned accordingly.

Other changes agreed include:

  • Streamlining of accommodation services and new community support services being made available for young people and single homeless people
  • Further reviews to ensure that appropriate alternative services are developed to better meet the needs of service-users

Cllr Fairhurst said: "We know how much people value these services and it's always difficult to make changes to provision, but we are facing significant budget pressures which mean we can no longer sustain the current level of funding. Adult Services must make £43million in savings by the end of 2015/16 - and with our limited means, ensure that our services can continue to support those with the highest need, and are sustainable for the future.

"We will ensure that concerns raised by service-users and providers are addressed through the development of the alternative services to be commissioned, and we will continue to engage with them to help us shape these new services. We will also help people to access services which may be provided elsewhere, for example, by the voluntary and community sector."

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