The Association of Directors of Social Services has written to
the government expressing its concern for the future of services
funded under Supporting People, amid fears that the programme’s
budget could be slashed by 15 per cent in the next financial
For the past two years, councils have been asked to model budget
increases and budget cuts of 15 per cent. The ADSS is concerned
that the government could now be planning to make the latter a
reality, following its warning earlier this year of “significant
reductions” for 2005-6.
In a letter to Terri Alafat, head of the Homelessness Directorate,
ADSS Supporting People lead John Nawrockyi warns that any such
drastic reduction would have “profound consequences”. He wrote:
“There would be a major impact on the provision of support services
to many vulnerable individuals, and you will appreciate that local
authority social services departments are not in a position to pick
up any consequent shortfalls.”
This view was widely shared by delegates at the Chartered Institute
of Housing annual conference last week, who warned that cuts in
services would mark the end of new projects.
Wendy Jarvis, divisional manager of housing care and support at the
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, assured them that her
department was lobbying the Treasury hard to ensure that funding
But she added that it was up to the local authorities and
commissioning bodies to ensure vital services did not fall by the
Local authorities have already been instructed to make 2.5 per cent
savings on this year’s Supporting People grants, following
publication of the Supporting People review in February .
The review was set up amid allegations of “cost-shunting” on the
part of social services departments and other agencies after the
ODPM was forced to increase the Supporting People budget for
England for 2003-4 from £1.4bn to £1.8bn.
Nawrockyi also raises concerns in his letter about the recent
confirmation by Jarvis that all Supporting People funding to
registered care homes is to be withdrawn from April 2006.
He warns Alafat that councils will not be in a position to simply
pick up the shortfalls to providers arising from such a “shift” in
policy. “The majority of support into registered homes took place
before the Supporting People programme, and we had anticipated a
degree of protection, even if at reduced funding levels,” he