Regional approach ‘to hit small groups’

    Voluntary groups say they may be squeezed by London councils’
    plans to jointly commission Supporting People services.

    A strategy paper from the Association of London Government
    recommends more joint commissioning between boroughs for Supporting
    People contracts, and even contracts covering all of London.

    More than a quarter of Supporting People referrals are
    cross-authority in London, compared with 14 per cent outside, says
    the report.

    Services for mobile populations, older people and those with
    complex needs are more efficiently planned and delivered
    regionally, while joint accreditation and commissioning will ease
    the “bureaucratic burden” on providers, the association says.

    Six north London boroughs are already developing a joint contract
    for floating support services, and a London protocol is being
    developed for joint commissioning.

    But the National Council for Voluntary Organisations is concerned
    that larger contracts will favour the private sector. “It could put
    some services beyond the reach of some small voluntary groups,” an
    NCVO spokesperson said.

    He called for more notice to be given of joint commissioning plans
    to allow voluntary groups time to respond with collaborative
    bids.
    The report says most client groups prefer floating services,
    delivered in their own homes. However, the National Housing
    Federation has warned that these are likely to be the services
    hardest hit by the cuts to this year’s Supporting People
    budget.

    The report also highlights a shortage of women’s refuges and
    accommodation for ex-offenders and drug and alcohol misusers in
    south-west and north-east London.

    • Document from www.alg.gov.uk/doc.asp?doc=13593. Responses
      before 18 March.

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