Welsh Government
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Housing Related Support delivers value for money as well as vital services

The money the Supporting People Programme in Wales saves other services, far outweighs the cost of the scheme, a new independent report has found.

Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies AM, who commissioned the review, and Professor Sir Mansel Aylward CB, who carried out the study, launched the report at Oak House in Cardiff, a shelter for Homeless people run by United Welsh Housing Association with funding from the Supporting People programme. The publication of the report follows the announcement that the Supporting People budget will be see less of a drop than other areas of the housing budget during 2011-12 with investment of almost £140m .

The review finds it difficult to establish precise estimates of cost- effectiveness because the benefits are dispersed across so many different organisations in the public sector. However, it concludes that the programme saves the taxpayer millions of pounds in other areas such as health, social care and policing. The review also identifies that the programme is particularly strong at working across both geographic and subject boundaries.

Supporting People provides housing related support to around 50,000 vulnerable people a year to help them live as independently as possible in the community, whether in their own homes, hostels, sheltered housing or other specialised supported housing. It offers practical help through support with household management, life skills training and advice on paying bills and filling in forms.

The review examined current policies and resources that deliver housing related support and identified that it has helped people who are at risk of losing their home through issues such as domestic abuse, mental illness and problems associated with their age. Without this support, their situation could become even worse, moving them further down a route of severe disadvantage.

The report makes a number of recommendations including the phasing in of a new formula to ensure funds are distributed to the areas of greatest need, strengthening governance arrangements and the establishment of a National Advisory Board to advise the Deputy Minister and ensure clarity around the roles and responsibilities of the Welsh Assembly Government, Local Authorities and service providers.

Jocelyn Davies AM Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration said:

“I welcome this report which confirms the significant contribution made by the Supporting People Programme to disadvantaged people across Wales. The value for money that this programme delivers is the reason I have protected the Supporting People budget as much as I can during 2011-12.

“Housing is about so much more than putting a roof over somebody’s head so I am particularly pleased that Professor Sir Mansel has recognised some of the excellent projects we have out there.

“However the report has also recognised that there is more to be done and that services can be improved. With tightening budgets across the board, this will prove to be quite a challenge but I am certain that by working together the Welsh Government and our partners in the housing sector can achieve this.“

Professor Sir Mansel Aylward CB said: “This programme is of vital importance to the people of Wales. The Supporting People programme grant provides much needed assistance, support and relief to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our society.

“In the course of conducting my review, I have been struck by the commitment and calibre of those providing these services, and my review has demonstrated that the programme is cost effective.

“However, we have shown that the way in which the money is spent and distributed needs to be addressed. This will add more value for money to an important and valuable programme.

“There was a desire for collaborative working across the great majority of those who participated in the review. I thoroughly endorse this approach which is reflected in my report.”

Community Housing Cymru, Cymorth Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association who all took part in the review have welcomed the report, saying in a joint statement:

“In these difficult times it is really important that we work together to provide effective services for the most vulnerable people in our communities to ensure that they get, as efficiently as possible, the support that they need to live independently. We hope that the report will provide the starting point for all of us to work together to achieve this”

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