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Paper  5C - 31 January 2003 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

31 January 2003

SUPPORTING PEOPLE 2003 ONWARDS

Report by the Policy Manager

RECOMMENDATION

That the report be noted.

1. The Government's Supporting People programme shifts funds from the providers (landlords) to the consumers (people in need of support). From April 2003 the programme goes live. Housing Benefit will now only be used to pay for the "bricks and mortar" costs associated with a person's housing. The personal support element of Benefit, along with other streams of funding for supported housing, are now devolved in a unified budget for local authorities to use in supporting people.

2. The Association has approved the arrangements in Hampshire where the County and District Councils operate a partnership with a joint steering group.. The annex gives a full update for the Association from the Supporting People County Manager. This covering report gives the headlines from the full update set out in the Annex.

(1) The County/District arrangements are working well. There is a central team based with Hampshire County Council and local implementation in District Councils with Local Co-ordinators.

(2) The role of the Local Co-ordinators will be critical in monitoring service delivery and expenditure. Local Co-ordinators will need to review the specialist service providers and this will mean working across District Council boundaries.

(3) The central team needs strengthening and this will be financed by a reduction in Local Co-ordinators from seven to the six originally agreed by the Association.

(4) The joint steering group will be advising the Association on how the annual strategy should be agreed in future. One option is to continue with the "shadow" process which means that each agency signs off the strategy individually. At this stage we are simply seeking views. A further report will be made in a year.

NICK GOULDER

Policy Manager

Date:16 January 2003
Annex: 1
Contact:Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiow@eastleigh.gov.uk

ANNEX

SUPPORTING PEOPLE 2003 ONWARDS

Report by Alan Hagger, Supporting People County Manager, Hampshire County Council

INTRODUCTION

1. As the nature of the Supporting People (SP) programme becomes clearer so does our understanding of what is required of the SP team both at a County and District level. Our priority is to meet Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) targets and implement the programme: make sure that providers are paid, that services are reviewed, and that a service is delivered to Districts by the Hampshire Supporting People Team ensuring that local strategies and spending plans are written and agreed. This involves a range of activity at the County and District levels.

2. Inevitably, when the SP programme goes live in April 2003, the requirements of the local and central teams will change and we must be flexible enough to adapt to the new circumstances. How we are proposing to do this is set out in this report.

3. The process of agreeing the strategy also highlighted a number of areas that we would want to address before we go through the process again next year. These include:

ˇ how health authorities are engaged
ˇ
tying the programmes timetable to housing strategies
ˇ
the role of members
ˇ
allocations

THE SCOPE OF THE PROGRAMME

4. Current figures suggest that there are some 23,000 SP service users in Hampshire and around 200 service providers in over 1000 locations. The County’s annual SP "pot" is currently estimated at £25 million.

5. More than 75% of service users are older people living in sheltered housing. Other service users include single homeless people, ex offenders, women escaping domestic violence, people with learning disabilities, mental health problems, people with physical disabilities, and young people, including care leavers.

6. The majority of service providers are Registered Social Landlords, Local Authorities and voluntary sector support agencies.

7. SP will enable Service Commissioners to fund more flexible services, not always linked to tenancies and accommodation-based services, aimed towards owner occupiers as well as those in social housing. The programme aims to ensure that people have the support to remain in their own homes rather than have to live in designated housing in order to receive the support they need.

THE REQUIREMENT POST-2003

8.Until now the vast majority of the work of the Local Co-ordinators (LCs) has been locally based, setting up local decision making fora, spreading awareness of the SP programme, working with providers, supporting people making Transitional Housing Benefit claims, local supply mapping etc. After 2003 the balance changes for two main reasons: service reviews and budget monitoring.

9. The most time consuming activity that we will all be engaged in over the next three years is the review of all services. The review programme will have a number of benefits for the programme. As a result we will gain an understanding of the quality of services and their strategic importance. This will then be fed into the strategy process.

The "givens" from the ODPM are:

ˇ that all services must be reviewed and visited over a period of three years
ˇ
that service reviews must, unless in exceptional circumstances, follow the Supported Housing Management Grant (SHMG) review timetable
ˇ
the SHMG timetable is provider based
ˇ
the review must be undertaken by at least two people.

10. For Hampshire this means that we will be required to review approximately 100 services per quarter. In addition, where issues arise, we will be carrying out second and third level reviews.

11.The management of a £29 million plus budget will also require LC involvement. The view of the County’s Financial Services Unit, is that budget monitoring must be carried out by the LCs, and logically, the monitoring LC will be the person who carried out the service review. Given that some 80% of the services we will be contracting for will be on the basis of a variable block subsidy contract, the number of "in-year" variations, and consequently the need for ongoing close budgetary monitoring is likely to be considerable. The only alternative would be to fund Social Services, or some other body, to carry out this function which can only result in fewer LCs because of budget constraints.

REVIEWS, BUDGETS AND DISTRICT/BOROUGH COUNCILS

12. The inevitable conclusion of the scale and type of work that we must carry out is that reviews cannot always be carried out by the co-ordinator most local to the service. The reviews must be provider based and the vast majority of providers work across district council boundaries. It is not possible to fragment the review process according to district council boundaries without significant funding in addition to the SP grant.

13. What is essential is that the results of the reviews are reported to the host District Core Group (DCG) and disseminated locally. In this way their findings, and the analysis based on their outcomes can inform the local planning process and therefore be fed into the development of the district based strategy which will be written by the LC. The same applies to responsibilities for budget monitoring at the local level.

14. So, whilst, on the one level, the activity will be carried out on a county wide basis, the results and outcomes will be ordered and provided at a District level.

DISTRICT AND COUNTY

15. Reviewing services must be a county level activity (unless we receive additional funding), and it will inevitably result in LCs operating outside of their host areas for a larger percentage of their time than has been the case hitherto. The changing focus of the work also requires that we must strengthen the central team.

16. Currently the SP Central Team consists of the County Manager and a Central Co-ordinator. The management of the reviews and all of the logistics involved in making payments to more than 1200 services and individual payments to more than five hundred individuals requires that we increase the central team by one Co-ordinator.

17. To fund this, changes will need to be made locally. We are proposing that we revert to the original plan agreed and employ six LCs rather than the current seven, although not necessarily the particular configuration proposed at that time. This will obviously necessitate changes to the ways that the LCs work. Taken together with the other issues raised here, it is more than a simple of matter of dividing seven "patches" into six.

THE STRATEGY TIMETABLE

18. Having agreed the one year "shadow strategy" we now need to prepare the rolling five year strategy, with annual updates. Our original conception of a five stage commissioning process will continue although the language may change. Where, in the past we said we would produce a policy statement, this will now be called the County steer. The process and timetable will be as follows:

December

-

County Steer agreed

June

-

District Core Groups produce spending plans

September

-

County Strategy agreed

March

-

Allocation Statement agreed by

Meetings are therefore as follows:

County Core Group (CCG)

March

-

Agree Allocations

June

-

Receive local spending plans

September

-

Agree County Strategy

December

-

Review policy Steer

District Core Group (DCG)

January

-

Consider policy steer, local timetable

April

-

agree outline strategy

July

-

agree local spending

October

-

review county strategy

District Inclusive Forum

January

-

Consider County steer

June

-

Consider draft spending plan

County Inclusive Forum

August

-

Consult on County Strategy

December

-

Consult on Steer

Policy Workshops

September

-

Review previous years progress

October

-

Supply and needs analysis

November

-

draft five year steer

December

-

Steer agreed by CCG

PRIORITY SETTING

19. In order to ensure that decisions over new funding are as rational and objective as possible, we have developed criteria by which to judge any bids for resources. These will apply to all types of bids, i.e. expansion of existing services, remodelling and new services.

20. The criteria are:

Evidence - establish need and a lack of alternatives
Opportunity - can the scheme really happen
Viability - will be viable throughout its intended duration
Value - represents best use of available money
Policy - in line with policy steer

22. The final decision on allocations must be made at a County level. Subject to the above criteria, we do not anticipate that there are any circumstances in which local priorities would be overturned. Any County level commissioning would be over and above any other allocation to the district.

THE FUTURE ROLE OF CO-ORDINATORS

23. It is of paramount importance that the Hampshire SP Strategy is based on local knowledge and priorities, detailed in local comprehensive strategies. Below I list what, in the "steady state" local authorities can legitimately expect from their LC in order to achieve this:

(1) Involvement in the District Inclusive Forum

(2) Representation on the District Core Group

(3) Linking the District to Social Services, Health, Probation, landlords and support providers on SP issues

(4) Provide a SP link to the implementation of complementary strategies such as housing, health, Community Safety, Community Plan etc.

(5) Development of the District SP Strategy

ˇ responsible for local supply mapping
ˇ
responsible for ensuring needs analysis, using local knowledge in addition to data collection and gap analysis
ˇ
responsible for co-ordinating information and priorities for commissioning new SP services and bringing priorities to the DCG for consideration.

(6) Ensuring that the local decision-making structure is effective and inclusive

(7) Dissemination of information on SP locally to all stakeholders.

24. Each district will continue to have a named LC who will be responsible for service developments in the local area although the configuration of LCs must now change. Comparisons between the number of hours going to each District will now be less important as any discrepancy can be adjusted through some LCs, for instance those on full time, as opposed to part time, contracts with responsibility for a single authority being given additional responsibility for more service providers.

25. If a District Council, or DCG, wants to employ more time for the LC role than can be afforded through implementation funding, this can be achieved through additional local contributions.

ENGAGING HEALTH

26. This year, for the shadow strategy, we have worked at a County level with the Strategic Health Authority which has been asked to sign off the final strategy. For next year it becomes necessary to include Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) at a County level as well.

27. As it may become unwieldy to include all seven PCTs as members of the CCG, we will ask them to nominate one lead PCT for SP who can then represent the other six. Of course all seven are involved in DCGs and will be already playing an active role in decision making in their areas.

CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

28. We do now have a better understanding of the respective roles of the Administering Authority (Hampshire County Council), the CCG and the SP Team.

29. The Administering Authority (AA) is responsible for the administration of the programme. This includes the setting up of contracts, payments, service monitoring and reviewing etc.

30. The CCG is responsible for ensuring that available funding meets needs through agreeing the annual SP Strategy and the annual allocations round, commissioning research etc.

31. The SP Team is responsible for both of the above, and accountable to the AA and the CCG accordingly.

32. There are, however, still areas that do not neatly fit into either administration or strategic decision making, and that need to be made clear as part of a Memorandum of Understanding.

33. Examples include:

(1) Who is responsible for the Charging Policy? This must be agreed by both the CCG and the AA however, as the AA is ultimately responsible for recommending and administering the policy, and is responsible for the financial implications and risk, it is the AA whose views would predominate in the event of a dispute.

(2) Who would be responsible if the administration budget overspends? The AA is responsible for implementing the programme and would therefore be liable if there is an overspend. The clear implication of this, is that the CCG cannot make decisions which would lead to unbalancing the AAs budget without members of the CCG accepting financial responsibility.

(3) Who would be responsible if SP Funding overspends? As with the previous answer the AA, as the contracting body, would be responsible. The CCG cannot make decisions about funding without the acceptance of the AA.

(4) Who selects providers for SP services? As the contracting agency the AA must have the power to veto any selection decision if there were a financial consequence . It is likely that members of the SP Team would be responsible for selecting support providers, accountable to the AA.

THE ROLE OF MEMBERS

34. Currently the CCG is a mixed officer and member group with different district represented in different ways. Increasingly it is the case that where members are the representatives of their local authority at CCG, they are accompanied by officers.

35.This year the SP Strategy was signed off individually by districts and other stakeholders, as opposed to the CCG being given that responsibility as a group. This should be reviewed for next year. The three options are:

(1) A members group is set up in addition to the CCG, to meet one a year, to sign off the strategy.

(2) Representatives on CCG are given delegated authority to sign off the strategy at a special annual CCG.

(3) Agencies sign off the strategy at one to one meetings between September and October, as has happened with the shadow strategy.

36. These questions are important and, as yet, unresolved by the CCG. Although this year has been successful insofar as we have an agreed strategy, we anticipate that next year will be a great deal more contentious as we have to allocate funding.

CONCLUSIONS

37. Throughout the development of the SP programme we will need to review the structure of the SP Team and the decision making process, and this paper represents the first example. The approach outlined will be of benefit to Districts and the County. For the first time we are making clear precisely what can be expected from LCs.

38. We are confident that the proposals detailed here will enable us to get on with the job of implementing the programme, planning for new services, gaining a comprehensive picture of the capacity and quality of what we have and, at the end of the day, ensuring that service users have more choice about where they live.

39. 2003-4 will provide challenges to the decision making structure agreed by HIOW in March 2001. For the first time the CCG will be allocating funding. We therefore recommend that HIOW request a second update from the Project manager in April 2004.

ALAN HAGGER
Supporting People County Manager, Hampshire County Council

Date: 16 January 2003
Annex: 0
Contact:Alan Hagger tel: 01962 847063 email: alan.hagger@hants.gov.uk

Last update: 21/01/2003
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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