Supporting People `not designed to save money`

    The senior civil servant responsible for steering the
    government’s new programme for supported housing has denied it is
    designed to cut costs, by David
    Callaghan
    .

    Supporting People was purely aimed at improving services
    according to Bert Provan, who is director of the housing care and
    support division of the department of local government transport
    and the regions.

    The programme will replace the funding of housing support costs
    through housing benefit with a cash limited scheme administered by
    local authorities, which has prompted claims that it is designed to
    save money.

    Provan told the National Housing Federation’s housing care and
    support conference: “It is not about cutting costs. It is about
    delivering quality services.”

    But there was still much work to do before Supporting People is
    introduced in all parts of the country in 2003, he said.

    “I am under no illusions there are a number of significant
    issues to be addressed,” he said. Detailed guidance on the
    programme’s implementation will be issued in October.

    Provan admitted the transitional housing benefit scheme
    introduced while Supporting People is being developed has “not
    worked in the way anticipated”, and he told delegates it would not
    be used to measure the amount of money each local authority would
    be allocated under Supporting People.

    Civil servants may consider examining contracts to glean the
    ‘size of the pot’.

    Clare Tickell, who is chief executive of Stonham Housing
    Association, told the conference she was concerned that registered
    social landlords were not being given enough money to respond to
    the challenges of Supporting People.

    “Local authorities have been given bucket loads. There is a not
    a concomitant

    amount for housing associations,” she said. She was also
    particularly concerned that the needs of people with complex
    problems would not be met after Supporting People is
    introduced.

     

     

     

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