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ENFIELD MAKES A STEADY START WITH ITS SUPPORTING PEOPLE PROGRAMME BUT FURTHER IMPROVEMENT IS NEEDED

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The supporting people service provided by Enfield LBC is judged to be fair and have uncertain prospects to improve,...
The supporting people service provided by Enfield LBC is judged to be fair and have uncertain prospects to improve, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.

Supporting people is the government's funding and planning regime for the delivery of housing related support services to a wide range of vulnerable people. The programme started on April 1st 2003.£1.8bn is being spent on these services in England in this financial year.

Enfield LBC's supporting people programme was inspected earlier than anticipated due to the concerns expressed by the ODPM over the high costs of some services. It is one of 19 such authorities identified for an early inspection.

The Audit Commission's housing inspection team, in partnership with inspectors from HMIP (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation) and the CSCI (Commission for Social Care Improvement), gave the service one star out of a possible three, with uncertain prospects for improvement. This is because although the programme has remodelled the range of services available to some vulnerable people they do not currently represent value for money and there are a number of vulnerable groups in Enfield without access to housing related support services.

Chief housing inspector Roy Irwin said:

'The supporting people programme administered by Enfield LBC has delivered some improved housing related support services for local people however there are significant gaps in the service. The council needs to continue to build on its early work to improve the value for money provided by the programme. It also needs to ensure that local people, who have an investment in the supporting people agenda, are clear as to how the programme will make contributions to improving the lives of vulnerable people in the borough.'

The inspectors found the following:

* The supporting people programme delivered by the council is providing more housing related support services and is remodelling and improving a range of services available to young teenage mothers and people fleeing domestic violence.

* There are a number of gaps in the services such as floating support for the homeless, young people and frail older people.

* There has been limited and weak involvement of service users, their cares and advocates in the supporting people programme to date.

* The supporting people programme funding benefits a small number of services at a very high cost.

* There are too few services available particularly to help offenders with support needs, people with a physical or sensory disability and older people to live independently in their own homes.

* There are no housing support services for travellers or people with HIV/AIDS.

* In addition, given the large black and ethnic minority community in the borough, there are limited provisions for these communities.

To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations, including:

* Strengthen the arrangements with all providers of services to ensure that service users are involved in shaping and influencing service improvements.

* Improve access to information about services and make certain information is available in a range of formats and languages.

* Develop a clear agenda and action plan for the development of support services for a range of service users including people who suffer from HIV/AIDS.

Enfield LBC received a supporting people grant from the government of£12m to meet the cost of its housing related support services. These included supported housing for older people, homeless people and people with mental health problems, people with learning difficulties and services which help vulnerable people living in their own homes. In addition the council received£321,000 to pay for the costs of administering the supporting people programme.

Copies of the report are available on the Audit Commission website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk

Note

Enfield LBC received a grant from the government of£12m to meet the cost of its housing related support services. These included supported housing for older people, homeless people and people with mental health problems, people with learning difficulties and services which help vulnerable people living in their own homes. In addition the council received£321,000 to pay for the costs of administering the supporting people programme.

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