Council ‘Supports Vulnerable’ – Audit Commission

The delivery of the £2.24 million Supporting People programme provided by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is ‘good’ and has ‘promising 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 local delivery of housing related support services to a wide range of vulnerable people. The Audit Commission, in partnership with inspectors from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and Commission for Social Care Inspection, gave the service a two star ‘good’ rating, on a scale of zero to three stars.

It is making ‘good progress’ in developing new services and remodelling existing ones to meet the needs of vulnerable people and there are clear plans to drive further improvements in the future.

Development of Redcar and Cleveland’s Supporting People programme has been constrained by a low level of government grant, which resulted from there being few housing related support services when the programme started in April 2003. The Council receives £0.31 per head of population compared with an average grant allocation of £0.70 for local authorities in England as a whole.

Melanie Rees, Lead Housing Inspector for the North East, said: “Redcar and Cleveland is making good progress in its delivery of the programme and has been particularly effective in working with partners to understand and respond to the diverse needs of vulnerable people.

“There have been marked improvements in the past three years and the programme is now helping more vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes with an appropriate level of support. The programme is well managed by a highly regarded Supporting People team.”

The inspectors found that:

. The programme is delivering beneficial outcomes for an increased number of service users.
. New services have been commissioned or expanded to meet local need with no increase in expenditure.
. The service provided by the Supporting People team is considered to be excellent by providers and partners.
. Partnerships across the programme are strong resulting in many examples of positive outcomes.
. Value for money is being achieved with the remodelling of services providing more services at no greater cost.
. There is strong commitment to the programme from the Redcar and Cleveland Partnership and from the members and officers of the Council.

To help the service improve further, inspectors made a number of recommendations. These include:

. Improving access to services and information by ensuring all front line staff are better informed about the housing related support services.
. Reviewing the contents of the Council’s Supporting People website and ensuring that it is comprehensive and up to date.
. Improving the engagement of clients, carers and advocates by ensuring that service users are appropriately involved in governance, contract and performance management arrangements.
. Developing a strategic approach to overcoming the difficulties experienced in accessing suitable move-on accommodation.

Copies of the inspection report are available from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council or on the Audit Commission website at