Charity chief wants Department of Health to take over programme

The government should consider moving the Supporting People
programme out of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, according
to a charity boss, writes Simeon

Turning Point chief executive Victor Adebowale said that the
programme may be more at home in the Department of Health.

Speaking at the National Housing Federation care and support
conference, Adebowale said a connection needed to be made between
Supporting People and the new social care agenda.

While stressing he was not “having a pop” at the ODPM, he said: “A
large proportion of the ODPM’s activity is about regeneration of
areas as opposed to regenerating people.”

“Health and social care is a DH challenge and if we want this fund
to add value I just wonder if it’s in the right place,” he

Adebowale told the conference it was “outrageous” that Supporting
People commissioners in one local authority were imposing local
connection restrictions on a hostel for refugees.

Community Care reported last week that up to a half of
local authorities were imposing local connection conditions to
their Supporting People programmes.

Adebowale also said the Supporting People cuts were having a
“massive effect” on the supported housing sector, with some
organisations having to make 10 per cent of their staff

Denise Gillie, a DH housing adviser, said housing workers would be
ideally placed to take on the “navigator role” outlined in the
adult green paper.

She said housing workers were particularly skilled at carrying out
assessments and could step into the role if social workers started
to concentrate on providing support.

But chief executive of learning difficulty charity New Dimensions
Group David Wolverson said the green paper could make life
“uncomfortable” for housing providers.

If providers ended up supplying support staff for people with
individual budgets they could end up seeming more like employment
agencies than social care organisations, he said.

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