Local authorities must properly negotiate with housing
associations if they wish to make cost savings on supported
housing, housing minister Jeff Rooker urged this week,
writes Anabel Unity Sale.
His advice came as the government’s new single stream of
funding programme for supported housing Supporting People came into
effect on 1 April.
Lord Rooker made the recommendation in a letter to Jim Coulter,
chief executive of the National Housing Federation. The housing
association trade body had told the government that councils were
trying to make savings on their Supporting People budgets by
imposing draconian contracts on housing associations which
provide supported housing (News, page 12, 27 March)
Rooker’s letter says: “Local authorities should not
be re-writing contracts to change prices at short notice without
proper consultation with providers.” He also wrote that local
authorities could now reduce their costs over a two-year period and
that this should be identified by service reviews.
Liz Potter, director of policy at the NHF, said: “This is
reassuring news for providers, at a very tense time as Supporting
People goes live. We urged members not to sign contracts where they
are not happy with the terms; those who feel compelled to do so
should renegotiate in the light of the new guidance.”