Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
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Woolas urges third sector to grasp the opportunity to help over one milion vulnerable people

Woolas urges third sector to grasp the opportunity to help over one milion vulnerable people

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (120) issued by The Government News Network on 21 June 2007

Local Government Minister, Phil Woolas has today unveiled a new comprehensive strategy for delivering housing related support services to vulnerable people with a key role for the third sector at its heart.

The Supporting People Strategy builds on the current programme which helps more than a million people a year maintain their independence, through housing related support services. Currently £1.7 billions is allocated through the Supporting People programme to provide the life skills such as cooking and budgeting which vulnerable people need to maintain their independence in a settled home.

The Supporting People strategy outlines the vital role of the third sector and asks them to help in shaping how the programme will be delivered in the future. Charities have long acted as innovators and campaigners and proved themselves adapt at working with societies most vulnerable. The Strategy will guarantee that this excellent work can continue by ensuring all good service providers can compete fairly when services are tendered and offer support for services providers.

The strategy also suggests exploring new approaches that would give service users greater say about the services they receive through the Individual Budget pilots and new 'Charters for Independent Living'. The charters would provide a clearly set out statement of service outlining what services people can expect to access locally.

Minister for Local Government, Phil Woolas, said: "The Government's Supporting People programme has been a huge success story. The £7billion of funding has meant that over one million vulnerable people - who used to slip through the net - are now living independent and fulfilled lives in their own homes. This has helped reduce re-offending, homelessness and rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour as well as helping the most vulnerable and excluded contribute to wider society.

"But we have now reached a watershed in the programme and we need to refocus our approach to give the service users a greater say. Like all members of the community vulnerable people should have choice and control to ensure the services they use are tailored to their individual needs.

"The third sector is absolutely vital to the success of the programme so we are intending to provide the support they need to play a full role in delivering Supporting People Services. Only then we can benefit from the unique skills, knowledge and expertise the sector possesses."

Other key elements of the strategy include:

* Introduce an integrated assessment process where people can be assessed for health, social care and housing support at the same time.

* Ensure that access to services are not unnecessarily restricted through administrative boundaries - particularly for those groups of people who tend to be more mobile such as survivors of domestic violence.

* Improve communication with those receiving Supporting People services - making sure they are properly informed about what is happening, particularly when service changes are being made.

* Additional support for Third Sector providers - in particular harnessing their creativity in working with the hardest to reach people.

* Support local authorities to deliver greater efficiencies through the National Supporting People Improvement Programme.

* Reduce monitoring arrangements to a necessary minimum along side reporting through Local Area Agreements.

Notes to Editors

To view the Supporting People Strategy please visit http://www.communities.gov.uk

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 4400;
News Releases: http://www.communities.gov.uk

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