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Former Sunderland City councillor Bob Hudson has been appointed as an independent consultant on the review of the i...
Former Sunderland City councillor Bob Hudson has been appointed as an independent consultant on the review of the independent living funds.

General Social Care Council lay board member Melanie Henwood's consultancy has been

awarded a six month contract to conduct a strategic review.

Melanie Henwood Associates will supply independent expert advice and carry out an informal public consultation in order to provide recommendations as to the future direction of the funds.

The consultants are expected to report to ministers by December 2006.


1. Bob Hudson has had a career in teaching, consultancy, research and publishing spanning 35 years. As well as occupying a range of increasingly senior positions in academic life, he has also served as an elected member of Sunderland City Council, and as a co-opted member of Durham CC and Tyneside Council. Mr Hudson is currently Visiting Professor of Partnership Studies at the University of Durham and has also established his own consultancy. He has a long standing interest in the issue of independent living. As well as publishing articles on the issue, he has been active in the voluntary sector. He was a Member of Sunderland Disablement Income Group in the 1980s when the first ILF was established, and then went on to found and become Chair of the South Tyneside Disablement Advisory Group. He has been writing influential commentaries and original articles for Community Care and Health Service Journal for thirty years and has recently written a review of policy and practice in relation to adult care for the Department of Health.

2. Melanie Henwood began her career with an academic background in research at the University of Bath and subsequently held various research posts with independent think tanks. Since 1991 she has been running her own independent consultancy, specialising in policy analysis of key issues in health and social care. Ms Henwood has had numerous reports, papers and articles published and most recently contributed to Securing Good Care for Older People: taking a long-term view (The Wanless Social Care Review). She writes regularly for the main professional journals and mainstream press and serves on the editorial boards of Research Matters, a digest of research in social care, and for the Integrated Care Network. She was involved in co-ordinating a major programme of Department of Health funded research on outcomes of social care for adults, and has undertaken various national reviews and evaluations commissioned by the Department of Health. Ms Henwood is a lay board member of the General Social Care Council.

3. Both consultants will be jointly working on this review and, for contracting purposes, will be operating under the organisational auspices of Melanie Henwood Associates.

4. There are two Independent Living Funds operating throughout the United Kingdom paying grants to people with high support needs who wish to live independently. The Independent Living (1993) Fund is open to new applicants and currently supports over 12, 500 people. The Independent Living (Extension Fund) supports those people who received help from the original Independent Living Fund which closed in 1993. The Extension Fund supports over 5,200 people.

5. The Funds are discretionary Trusts created and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Social Development (Northern Ireland) but operating at arms length from Government. They are financed by cash limited grants-in-aid and managed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The Trustees have discretion about whom they help within the framework of the Trust Deeds.

6. The last ILF 'Quinquennial Review' report was produced in 2001.

7. The Independent Living Funds' address is PO Box 7525, Nottingham,

NG2 4ZT.

8. The review is to be conducted following Cabinet Office guidance that states that reviews should be carried out with sufficient frequency to give the department confidence that the NDPB is delivering high quality services, efficiently and effectively. This guidance is called 'Light Touch' and can be found at:

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