Inspectors urge cultural shift away from buildings-based operations

A cultural shift away from buildings-based support towards promoting independence is needed across the Supporting People programme, say inspectors.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection found limited capacity in the programme for service users to move to less supported housing or to extend support to people living in their own homes.

In a report on the impact of the programme on service users, the commission said new operational practices were needed to avert crises and generate new supported housing capacity.

It noted that some Supporting People-funded services for people with learning difficulties “have not made the cultural leap from residential care to supported housing”, and said there was “still
too weak a focus on people as tenants”.

The report also called for a “radical review” of supported housing for people with learning difficulties.

And it said more should be done to ensure a “stronger focus on rehabilitation” for people with mental health issues. It revealed that some were placed in accommodation for homeless people, which could result in their specific needs being lost.

It described provision for young people and families as “patchy”, with more needed for young offenders, families fleeing domestic violence and care leavers.

Although the programme has made a “real and significant difference to many people’s lives”, the report said year-on-year reductions in the grant had hampered councils’ forward planning.

Nigel Rogers, director of supported housing umbrella group Sitra, welcomed the report’s emphasis on the need for a stable financial framework.

He said: “The sector has a challenging agenda to reshape services in the interests of users. But this can only be done in a planned and risk-sensitive way that ensures productive co-operation between commissioners, providers, users and carers.”

The Chartered Institute of Housing and the National Housing Federation said building-based support still had a valuable role to play.

Supporting People – Promoting Independence from

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