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Paper 8 - 30 January 2004 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

30 January 2004

SUPPORTING PEOPLE - AN UPDATE

Report by the Director of Social Services, Hampshire County Council

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RECOMMENDATION

That the report be noted.
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1. Supporting People (SP) went live in April 2003. At that point Hampshire County and Districts jointly took responsibility for the funding, contracting and monitoring of services for 25,000 people in over 1000 services.

2. The Hampshire Supporting People pot is now £35 million a year.

THE PROGRAMME AHEAD

3. Although arrangements for payments, a comprehensive supply database, and the required decision making process are in place, there is still a great deal to be achieved.

4. The Hampshire SP team are required to review each service within the programme before April 2006. The reviews, which have now begun, examine value for money, performance and the strategic relevance of each service.

5. In the event of savings being required this can only happen through the review programme.

THE FIVE YEAR STRATEGY

6. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) requires each administering authority to produce a five year strategy in November 2004.

7. This strategy must be agreed by each member of the SP Commissioning Body. In Hampshire the Commissioning Body is known the County Core Group (CCG), and was set up in its current form by the Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities (HIOW).

8. Membership of CCG includes Hampshire County Council, all the Hampshire district councils, National Probation Service, and the Strategic Health Authority. The strategy is a County level strategy which aggregates eleven district level strategies that focus on local priorities.

THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW

9. When SP was first conceived the size of the national SP pot was estimated as being no more than £800 million. Since that time the pot has grown dramatically and now stands at £1.8 billion.

10. The Government has set up an independent Review to look at why this has happened and to assess if other agencies or government departments have unreasonably shifted funding liabilities to SP that should have remained outside the programme.

11. Because it is believed that eligibility for SP funding had become too loose, the ODPM have said that they intend to redefine eligible services more narrowly than is currently the case.

12. Many people are concerned that this will result in a new financial pressure on Social Services who are the agency most likely to be required to make up any shortfall.

13. The consultants, Robson-Rhodes, were expected to publish their findings in late December 2003. Ministers will consider their report and the result will determine the governments approach to SP funding in 2004/5.

SP POLICY

14. Although SP will be sure to face many difficult decisions over the next three years it is still a very exciting programme that gives stakeholders the potential to increase the quality of services and their flexibility and responsiveness.

15. One pre-requisite of this is already in place. CCG have a agreed a clear strategic direction for future funding. CCG looks forward to services that are funded and provided separately to the funding and provision of peopleís housing.

16. This will enable individuals who have support needs to live where they choose rather than in designated Supported Housing schemes. More details of this policy and information on funding priorities can be found in the SP County Steer 2004/5.

COUNTY CORE GROUP

17. The County Core Group, was originally set up following a report to HIOW in 2001. It has generally worked well, although there are some issues regarding ensuring the representation of all member agencies at all meetings.

18. The CCG has agreed a constitution by which the Administering Authority (Hampshire County Council) will work within ODPM grant conditions. This is important as the County Councilís Excellent Status frees it from that requirement.

19. The Administering Authority and CCG have the power to vary grant conditions where both bodies agree.

20. A dispute resolution procedure has also been agreed that relies upon building a consensus between all parties. The CCG recently resolved a difficult issue using the new procedure.

TERRY BUTLER
Director of Social Services, Hampshire County Council

Date: 14 January 2004
Annex: 0
Contact: Alan Hagger 01962 847063 email: alan.hagger@hants.gov.uk

Last update: 19/01/2004
Author: Nick Goulder, Director

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