“Supporting People” is a government initiative that was introduced in April 2003. It aims to identify, provide and fund quality housing-related support services to vulnerable people to allow them to live independently at home for as long as they wish or are able to do so. Supporting People, which compliments existing care services is a partnership between the council, people who may require the services and those agencies that provide and support the programme.
The Blaenau Gwent County Borough Supporting People team fund a wide range of housing support services including, general advice and counselling, budgeting and developing life skills. If you think that you or someone you know could benefit from support in these and other areas, then please contact us or browse this website to find out more about our services.
Blaenau Gwent council has established a Supporting People team that is responsible for the administration of the Supporting People Grant and the review of all schemes that receive funding from the grant.
We produce the annual Supporting People Operational Plan, commission new supporting people services and administer a floating support scheme made up of agencies. The total budget for the Supporting People services in the county borough is £1.8 million, which includes the Supporting People Revenue Grant funding paid directly to accredited providers.
Why Supporting People?
The aim of the Supporting people programme is to enable people to remain in an independent living situation, avoiding institutional care such as hospital, prison or in the extreme, life on the streets. It also aims to help people in institutional care move to a more independent and stable home in the community.
The programme came into operation in April 2003. It rationalised the funding that was previously delivered on an ad hoc basis through Housing Benefit as well as replacing many complicated methods of obtaining funding.
It replaced the Transitional Housing Benefit Scheme (THB), which was the main method for claiming housing related support.
What is Housing-Related Support?
The Supporting People Programme does not cover all services people might consider to be supported. It focuses on services that are related to ensuring people can manage to live safely and securely in their own home. The support is tailored to individual needs and includes:
- Maintaining the security of the dwelling (support ‘which assists the claimant in maintaining the security of the dwelling he occupies as his home’)
- Maintaining the safety of the building (support ‘which assists the claimant with maintaining the safety of the dwelling he occupies as his home’)
- Compliance with the tenancy (support ‘which is directed as assisting the claimant with compliance of those terms of his tenancy concerned with: Nuisance, rental liability and maintenance of the dwelling in an appropriate condition for the period for which the tenancy is granted).
- The provision of general counselling or other support, which assists the claimant with contact with individuals or professional or other bodies with an interest in ensuring the claimants welfare.
- Helping vulnerable people to manage their budgets and to access welfare benefits so they don’t accrue rent or mortgage arrears and lose their homes.
The above list is not exhaustive, but it shows the type of support services considered to be housing related. However, the Programme does not cover health and social care services such as community meals and personal care such as bathing, toileting etc. Nor does it cover housing management and maintenance.
The money claimed through the Transitional Housing Benefit Scheme and other accommodation-based grants was transferred to the Supporting People Programme on 1st April 2003. There are two types of supporting people grant that have been introduced:
1. Supporting People Revenue Grant (SPRG)
This grant is usually paid directly to providers of the Supporting People related services and will fund short-term accommodation such as the following type of scheme:
- Floating support schemes, covering client groups such as homeless and young people
- Homeless hostels
- Refuges for women fleeing domestic abuse
- Supported living for young people
2. Supporting People Grant (SPG)
This grant is directly paid to the council and covers the identified support costs of sheltered schemes; the community alarm service and community care schemes. Blaenau Gwent County Borough council or another provider e.g. a Registered Social Landlord (RSL) can provide this support.
The following are services covered by the Supporting People Grant:
- Local authority and RSL (Registered Social Landlord) sheltered accommodation.
- Local authority and RSL community alarm services
- Supported living for people with learning disabilities
- Supported living for people with mental health issues
All schemes funded by Supporting People grants will be subject to an initial and on-going review of the services provided. The review will look at the need for the service and also ensure that the support provided is of a good quality.
What is the Floating Support Service?
Floating Support provides housing related support services (not care services) to people, enabling them to live independently in the community. The term ‘floating’ refers to the fact that the support is temporary and is designed to be provided just as long as it is necessary – for a few weeks or a few months depending on a person’s needs.
It is a free and confidential service and is available to residents in Blaenau Gwent.
What kind of support does it provide?
Floating Support can provide help and advice in all sorts of areas. Examples include:
- Budgeting and financial management
- Rent arrears and evictions
- Setting up home and resettlement support
- Life skills and being independent at home
Accessing The Service
As long as a person is resident in Blaenau Gwent and requires support for a limited period of time then they are eligible to apply for the service. Referrals can be obtained from the Floating Support Manager in the Supporting People Team. A person can either be referred by another organisation/agency or can self refer.
The Floating Support Manager then submits the referral form to the relevant Support Provider. Blaenau Gwent has 6 Support Providers that offer support via the Floating Support Service.
Supporting People Operational Plan (SPOP)
Each year, Blaenau Gwent Borough Council must submit a Supporting People Operational Plan to the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Plan provides information on the current supply of accommodation-related support within the County Borough and also identifies future needs for vulnerable people. The plan acts as a bidding document for additional funds to allow us to introduce new services to meet future needs or to fund the re-modelling of existing services to cope with changing needs.
The SPOP is linked to the aims and objectives for supported accommodation contained in both local Housing and Homelessness Strategy and other local and regional planning policies and strategies.
Aims of the Supporting People Operational Plan
To establish a Plan that sets out the priorities for Supporting People services.
To evidence unmet need, using up to date information on demographic issues collected from various sources including Gwent Needs Mapping Data.
To link the Supporting People Programme to the aims and objectives for supported accommodation set out in the five year Homelessness Strategy in order to:
- Provide accommodation and support services to homeless and potentially homeless people.
- Prevent homelessness through the provision of appropriate accommodation and support.
- Promote the ability of people to live independently and maintain their tenancies.
To highlight current Supporting People provision on a geographical basis within Blaenau Gwent
To outline the strategic relevance of the projects for people who live in Blaenau Gwent.
To highlight progress made thus far by the Supporting People Team and map the way forward for further development of the programme in Blaenau Gwent including:
- Findings of reviews of services
- Remodelling plans and commissioning priorities
- Preparation for hand over of SPRG services from WAG to the Local Authority
To highlight areas of joint working and partnership collaboration including the development and commissioning of services with neighbouring authorities.