Councils face cost poser if vulnerable people exercise their independence

Supporting People is about helping vulnerable people to live more
independently, including getting people out of residential care and
into the community. But could this lead to an influx of dependent
clients into areas with a high concentration of former care

About 800 care homes in England have “de-registered” with the
Commission for Social Care Inspection so far in order to provide
supported accommodation, says CSCI chair Denise Platt.

Kent Council, which has complained of being a dumping ground for
London local authority clients, sees a potential problem if adults
placed in the county choose this more independent route.

“Legally they would then become ordinarily resident in Kent and
thus [our] responsibility should they later need social services
support,” says a report by social services director Peter Gilroy.
By comparison, care home residents remain the responsibility of the
placing authority.

In Hampshire, where 83 homes with a total of 700 beds have already
“de-registered”, social services managers are worried about future

Tim Ardill, the council’s contract support manager for adults,
says: “If these people are now living in the community with a
tenancy they are not going to return to whoever was paying for
them. If their needs increase in the future, they may need
residential or day care.”

Home Farm Trust, which provides care for people with learning
difficulties, now has 460 people in supported living and 460 in
residential care.

Barry Armstrong, the trust’s regional director in western England,
says: “We deal with more than 100 local authorities that have
clients all over the country, so it’s important for us to alert
councils in good time to negotiate things.”

John Nawrockyi, Greenwich social services director and Association
of Directors of Social Services spokesperson on Supporting People,
says: “The concern is about the host authority liaising with the
placing authority and taking these people back.”

He says the ADSS could play a role in negotiating a protocol to
ensure services do not change without a reassessment. “We need to
manage it co-operatively if there are shifts of people across local
authority boundaries at a time when budgets are going down and not

It is difficult for councils to take stock of potential problems
like this. Authorities which receive placements from outside the
area already complain that the funding authority fails to notify
them of new placements.

And where former providers have been eager to move clients to
supported living arrangements without proper assessment, the
knock-on impact for social services locally could be more

“In some situations, the owner of a small registered care home has
‘de-registered’ the service but the reality is that the expected
benefits for clients have not been delivered as successfully,” says
West Sussex supporting people project manager Ian Copeman. “This
has usually happened because there have not been proper assessments
of client need and insufficient consultation.”

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