Support for Living? by Rachel Fyson et al

Support for living? The impact of the Supporting People programme on housing and support for adults with learning disabilities


Rachel Fyson, Beth Tarleton and Linda Ward, The Policy Press/Joseph Rowntree Foundation, ISBN 9781847420428

Valuing People called for adults with learning disabilities to have the option of living in their own homes. The Supporting People programme (SP) funded much of the subsequent expansion of housing and support.

This short study from the Norah Fry Centre examines the effect of SP on the development of supported living services. It was conducted by interviewing tenants, support staff, commissioners and SP teams, and by reviewing SP teams’ five-year plans.

Disappointingly, it only examines four areas, seeking to represent “diverse administering authorities” to reach its conclusions. Most evidence is anecdotal, quoting from the 66 interviews conducted, providing interesting comparisons of the views of different parties, but general conclusions are based on a limited number of specific experiences.

It is thought-provoking, containing excellent good practice checklists useful for anyone evaluating or planning services.

The study is limited in scope and its emphasis on comparing SP services to residential care demonstrates this and gives the impression that supported living is only funded by SP. Comparison with other groups and services would have been useful.

This punchy report is worth reading to challenge ideas and highlight limitations in services. It would also be a useful introduction for new commissioners or providers.

Chris Lucas is Mental Capacity Act development manager for Hampshire

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