Councils urged to pool funds with Supporting People to meet needs

Councils are being urged to pool funding from social services and
primary care trusts with Supporting People money to ensure
vulnerable people with care needs can access vital services.

Emphasising that Supporting People was not the only route to
independent living, Chris O’Leary, managing consultant at Matrix,
urged councils to look at vulnerable people’s “individual

“Think of the package of care and support,” he urged. “The higher
the care needs, the more social services and PCTs need to
contribute. The lower the need, Supporting People should pay as a
preventive measure.”

Speaking at the annual Supporting People Advisory Network in
Harrogate, O’Leary argued that the £1.72bn allocated for
2005-6 was a good deal, but would not sustain the costs of
ineligible activity. Matrix’s latest review of the Supporting
People programme, due to be published in the autumn, finds that on
1 April 2003 “ineligible activity accounted” for 4 per cent of the
overall budget.

However, O’Leary acknowledged that breaking the barriers down
between commissioners was the biggest challenge.

His views were echoed by independent consultant Yvonne Maxwell, who
pointed out that Supporting People was “not a priority for

“PCTs look for the quickest option and they don’t always understand
what Supporting People offers. If it is not portrayed in clinical
or medical outcomes they don’t want to know.”

She urged Supporting People teams to sell the programme to PCTs and
keep banging on their doors. Councils should also flag up the
problems with health and Supporting People partnerships to the
Department of Health, so solutions could be fed into its emerging
vision for adult services, she said.

The National Housing Federation, meanwhile, has urged the
government to say how it intends to distribute the funds it has
allocated to Supporting People from April 2005.

Despite announcing the overall amount of money earlier this month,
the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has delayed announcing
individual allocations to local authorities until it completes work
on its new Supporting People distribution formula.

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