This report provides an update on the Council’s new approach to specialist housing - re-focusing investment towards prevention and recovery.
Nick Kimber (Strategic Lead) and Julia Copeland (Head of Strategic Commissioning, Housing) presented the report which provided an update on the Council’s approach to specialist housing. The report set out the Council’s strategic ambition to reform the local authority’s investment, refocusing this towards prevention and recovery.
Nick Kimber gave an overview of the key points in the report, noting that:
· The Council currently spent £11.5m from its revenue budget on commissioning community and voluntary sector care and support providers to provide housing management and care in 599 bed spaces across 69 buildings.
· The provision supports six principal groups of residents: care leavers and young people, residents with mental health conditions, rough sleepers, older people in extra care provision, survivors of domestic abuse, and residents with learning disabilities
· The key principle informing the new approach is the need to provide the right home with the right support at the right time as the basis to improve outcomes for residents. This recognises the central role that housing plays in supporting people to maintain their autonomy, enabling them to stay in a home of their own, or recover from a crisis before living fully independently again.
· He gave the example of a 6-bed house in Fulham that was now being developed into provision for the care leaver pathway. Once developed, the house would be £110 cheaper per resident per week than existing alternatives.
· Officers were currently reviewing existing provision and the recommissioning of provision would be going for Cabinet approval at the end of April (2019), with the new provision in place by April 2020.
Councillor Guy Vincent asked if the £11.5m revenue (3.2 of the report) would all be coming from the PSR budget – or elsewhere. Nick Kimber said the money would be coming from the Public Services Reform, Children's Services, and Adult Social Care departmental budgets.
Councillor Vincent asked if the purpose of this new approach was primarily to save money. Nick Kimber responded that it was primarily to improve outcomes. The new approach would enable the Council to respond to increasing demand, the need for a wider range of placements and the changed policy context including the aspiration for co-production that came out of the Disabled People's Commission. It would also help the Council meet the financial challenges of rising demand. Better provision would allow people to recover and move into independent tenancies more quickly.
Councillor Vincent said his worry was that this was being driven by budget pressures rather than good practice. Lisa Redfern said there were no plans to reduce the budget in this area. This approach was about improving the supply of appropriate housing - institutional settings should only be for the minority.
Councillor Christabel Cooper asked if moving away from block contracts to more flexible supply would be more costly. Julia Copeland responded by saying there would be a mix - for some areas like homelessness block contracts might be the best approach – but other situations require more personalised provision. Officers were looking at a 'core and flexible' model.
Councillor PJ Murphy asked how officers would be measuring success in this area.
Nick Kimber said officers would be working over the next few months to develop success measures. They were currently at the beginning of analysing the system and developing a performance framework for it. Councillor Murphy and the Chair asked for an update on these measures by the next meeting.
ACTION: Nick Kimber
Councillor Murphy asked if there were any residents on the board. Nick Kimber said there weren't at present – but there were plans to expand it soon.
1. That the Committee reviewed and commented on the report.
2. That officers would provide an update on success measures by the next meeting.