Multiple needs provision is scarce

Agencies able to provide concerted support to adults with multiple needs are currently thin on the ground, the social exclusion minister said last week.

Hilary Armstrong told Community Care that capacity would have to be built to fulfil the government’s ambition of improving outcomes for people with multiple disadvantages, as outlined in the social exclusion action plan.

She said she wanted services in place that could identify adults with needs including mental health and substance misuse problems and homelessness, and then provide personalised support. The social exclusion task force is currently carrying out a scoping exercise on such services ahead of pilots next year.

She said: “I’m not sure there are very many that exist. We will tease that out in the pilots.”

Armstrong said the services would be commissioned by the state and largely delivered by the voluntary sector, saying it would not be a job for statutory social workers.

She added: “Most statutory social workers would recognise that they don’t have the means of being with that person in the way that some of the voluntary sector organisations have been.”

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