Audit Commision Reports
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46 Pages
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Inspection report December 2003 Supporting People Programme Bury Metropolitan Borough Council p2 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme Contents Introduction to the Supporting People Programme 3 Background 3 Scoring the service 4 Recommendations 7 Context 9 The locality 9 The Council 9 Supporting People – ODPM Framework for Delivery 9 Supporting People – Housing Related Support Services in Bury 10 How good is the service? 11 Are the aims clear and challenging? 11 Does the service meet these aims? 14 How does the performance compare? 27 Summary 29 What are the prospects for improvement to the service? 30 Ownership of problems & willingness to change 30 A sustained focus on what matters 31 The capacity and systems to deliver performance and improvement 32 Integration of continuous improvement into day to day management 33 Summary 34 Documents reviewed 35 Reality checks undertaken 35 List of people interviewed 36 Appendices 38 Demographic information 38 Performance information 39 Positive Practice 46 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 3 Summary Introduction to the Supporting People Programme 1 ‘Supporting People’ is the Government’s long-term policy to enable local authorities to plan, commission and provide housing related support services that help vulnerable people live independently. The programme went live on 1 April 2003. 2 The aim of the Supporting People ...

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Inspectionrepor
December 2003
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Supporting People Programme
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
p2 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme Contents Introduction to the Supporting People Programme Background Scoring the service Recommendations Context The locality The Council Supporting People  ODPM Framework for Delivery Supporting People  Housing Related Support Services in Bury How good is the service? Are the aims clear and challenging? Does the service meet these aims? How does the performance compare? Summary What are the prospects for improvement to the service? Ownership of problems & willingness to change A sustained focus on what matters The capacity and systems to deliver performance and improvement Integration of continuous improvement into day to day management Summary Documents reviewed Reality checks undertaken List of people interviewed Appendices Demographic information Performance information Positive Practice
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 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 3
Summary Introduction to the Supporting People Programme 1Supporting People is the Governments long-term policy to enable local authorities to plan, commission and provide housing related support services that help vulnerable people live independently. The programme went live on 1 April 2003. 2People programme is to establish a strategic,The aim of the Supporting integrated policy and funding framework, delivered locally in response to identified local needs, to replace the current complex and uncoordinated arrangements for providing housing related support services for vulnerable people. 3programme brings together a number of funding streamsThe Supporting People including transitional housing benefit (THB), which has paid for the support costs associated with housing during the implementation phase, the Housing Corporations supported housing management grant (SHMG) and probation accommodation grant scheme (PAGS) into a single pot to be administered by 150 administering local authorities. 4Bury Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) is one of the first councils to be inspected. This report therefore reflects the current context for the council as it moves from implementation to the introduction of the programme and focuses on determining the effectiveness of current service delivery and the outcomes of this for vulnerable people. Background 5the North West of England situated betweenBury is a metropolitan council in Bolton and Rochdale in the Greater Manchester conurbation. Bury is comprised of six townships, Bury (West & East), Prestwich, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Tottington, Whitefield and Unsworth. 6The population of Bury is 181,000 of which 6.1 per cent are from minority ethnic communities. The borough has relatively low unemployment and high home ownership. Unemployment is 2.3 per cent, which is below the national average of 3.6 per cent. Of 16 wards in the borough, only one is in the top 10 per cent of the UKs most deprived wards. 7The council is Labour controlled with 28 of 48 councillors. The council operates under a leader and cabinet style government, with an executive committee of 10 members, of which 8 have a portfolio of responsibilities. 8The council employs 8,000 staff across all services. The councils revenue budget for 2003/04 is £277.5 million. 9Bury Metropolitan Borough Council acts as the administering local authority for the Supporting People programme in its area. The council works in partnership with Bury Primary Care Trust and Bury and Rochdale Probation Service in commissioning Supporting People services. 10The total amount of Supporting People grant funding available in 2003/04 is £7.2 million. The council receives £231,509 Supporting People administration grant to fulfil its role as the administering authority.
 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 4 Scoring the service 11We have assessed the council as providing a good, two-star service that has promising prospects for improvement. Our judgements are based on the evidence obtained during the inspection and are outlined below. Scoring chart1: Bury Metropolitan Borough Council Supporting People Programme Prospects for improvement? a good service            that has promising Poor Fair Good Excellent prospects for Excellent improvement
Promising Uncertain
A good service?
Poor What works well 12During our inspection we found a number of positive features in the way that the Supporting People programme has been implemented to date. These include: Positive outcomes for service users are beginning to be realised as a result of the Supporting People programme through additional services and a robust system of service reviews that is seeking to identify areas for improvement in terms of the quality of the services provided. Arrangements for the commissioning of new services and the ongoing review of existing projects are robust leading to an improvement in the scale and quality of services available to the people of Bury. The authority has targeted high cost schemes for early review with a view to identifying cost effectiveness an value for money in the programme. Linkages between the Supporting People programme and the local strategic partnership and area panels are beginning to develop. These are providing the programme with a better grounding in meeting the needs and aspirations of Burys communities. The current service demonstrates effective links between all the partner organisations including the voluntary sector. The partner representatives on the commissioning body are at a senior level and voluntary sector involvement is evident on the core strategy group. There are sound mechanisms for the involvement of councillors in the delivery of the programme through the creation of a cross-scrutiny panel. Providers of services have a positive view of the councils Supporting People team as a result of the help and assistance they have received in implementing Supporting People.
1The scoring chart displays performance in two dimensions. The horizontal axis shows how good the service or function is now, on a scale ranging from no stars for a service that is poor (at the left-hand end) to three stars for an excellent service (right-hand end). The vertical axis shows the improvement prospects of the service, also on a four-point scale.
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 5 Providers considered the councils charging policy, that will determine the level of financial contribution from new service users for long term housing related support services, to be accessible and clear. Consultation with service users is recognised as an essential part of the scheme review process and is being actively pursued. An action plan is in place to deliver the Supporting People five year strategy that, if followed, will meet the ODPM deadline of 1 November 2004. The council has met the published statutory conditions for the management of Supporting People grant. The council are in the process of appointing a team leader for support needs who will help co-ordinate access to Supporting People services and the duties described for this post holder will result in improved outcomes for service users. Initial mapping of housing related support needs in Bury was comprehensive and the council has fulfilled the commitment made in the shadow strategy to research further the needs of groups where service provision is not in place or underdeveloped. The council has been active in developing cross-authority arrangements with other Greater Manchester authorities and this will improve access to services for vulnerable people whose needs cannot be met within the administering local authority area. The transition to Supporting People funding has been managed successfully. Assessments for the purposes of transitional housing benefit, that determined the level of the majority of housing related support funding prior to 1 April, were thorough. The councils programme of service reviews are facilitating a further assessment of the Supporting People funding that will be required and are ensuring that appropriate services are funded within the guidelines for eligibility. Some work has been undertaken by the council with the relevant service providers concerning risks posed by offenders, for example, there is a multi agency public protection arrangement (MAPPA) which is agreed through a forum, for partner agencies to meet and prepare plans for a number of individuals who pose a risk to public safety. Areas for improvement 13However, we found the following weaknesses with the Supporting People programme that need to be addressed. These include: underdeveloped as are the visible means forThe engagement of users is communicating with users and potential users. The inclusive forum has operated primarily as a vehicle for discussions with providers and other arrangements for creating a dialogue with users, carers and advocacy groups are yet to be fully explored. The priorities for future development have yet to be ranked and remain at the level of a broad desire to fill all the gaps in service provision that have been identified. The commissioning body has yet to fully develop as the body that directs the course of the Supporting People programme, drives improvements and sets a clear strategic steer in Bury. The partnerships with health and probation lack clearly expressed and shared aims and shared targets for the programme that are understood by housing related support providers, commissioning managers within the
 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 6 council, health service providers and others involved in the criminal justice services in Bury. 14We have judged that the Supporting People programme has promising prospects for delivering further improvements. We found the following strengths: What works well The commissioning body has already taken some tough decisions in relation to the revenue funding of new schemes that did not receive the expected pipeline funding for the revenue funding of newly created schemes from the ODPM where money has been secured to fund the capital cost of buildings. The commissioning body has demonstrated that it is capable of taking bold decisions in a manner that demonstrates joint ownership of the needs of Burys residents and the requirement to prioritise these needs. The commissioning body and core strategy group have begun the process of developing the five year strategy for the Supporting People programme in Bury. staff appraisal arrangements are in place. ThePerformance monitoring and aims of the programme in Bury are monitored and linked to individual work targets. The councils Supporting People team has sound operational practices and a a clear commitment to delivering the programme in Bury to achieve improved outcomes for all vulnerable people. The service review process and reality checks are already instrumental in improving service delivery. Areas for improvement 15There are, however, some areas in which the council needs to improve: Although there are some examples of positive practice there are no consistent systems for communicating with and encouraging the participation of service users to help shape the future delivery of Supporting People in Bury. operation of the core strategy group and theThe framework for the commissioning body are in place but these would benefit from some further clarification in particular around the relationship with the administering authority, a clear definition of potential areas of conflict and proposals to address these. The targets for the Supporting People team have yet to be developed to fully reflect that the programme has moved beyond implementation. The mechanisms for monitoring progress against these targets needs to be formalised. Partners are beginning to recognise the positive impact that the Supporting People programme can have on their own ambitions and goals but as yet the systems for identifying progress in these matters is not developed. Risk appraisal and contingency planning in relation to the delivery of the Supporting People programme are underdeveloped.
 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 7 Recommendations 16To rise to the challenge of continuous improvement, councils need inspection reports that offer practical pointers for improvement. In this context, we are making the following recommendations: Develop a risk appraisal and contingency planning for the Supporting People services in Bury with an emphasis on the potential for service failure. These plans should be linked to the corporate programme of risk management, should be clearly recorded and agreed by the commissioning body. The commissioning body must agree an action plan with clear targets for the development and delivery of the programme in the context of the five year strategy. Performance management and monitoring arrangements must be in place. The commissioning body should consider how performance indicators and other statistical information provided by all the partners can be used to evidence the impact that the Supporting people programme is having in Bury. Develop and deliver the five year strategy to reflect the information being gathered from service users abut their views and needs for future services and the quality of existing services. steps to ensure the representative nature of attendees at the coreTake strategy group from service providers, including those from the voluntary sector. The commissioning body with the administering local authority needs to agree the procedures under which the administering local authority will exercise its veto over decisions where there is a demonstrable financial risk to the council. Implement the proposed additional elements of budgetary control for the administration grant as set out in the councils written response to the inspection team. Undertake further work on risks and contingencies that includes the assessment of violent and sexual offenders and links to the multi agency public protection panels. by ensuring there are information sharingProtect users, staff and the public agreements in place covering all high risk groups, agreed by all relevant agencies, and an updated housing allocation and support policy for offenders to make it consistent with the multi agency public protection arrangements. 17We would like to thank the staff of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council particularly Susan Jordan, Glyn Meacher and the Supporting People team who made us welcome and who met our requests efficiently and courteously. Inspection Team: Jim Wilson Housing Inspector (Bury inspection lead) Maureen O HareTenant Inspection Adviser Alan Watson Social Services Inspector, Social Services Inspectorate Eileen O Sullivan Inspection Officer  HM Inspectorate of Probation Dates of inspection: 29 September  3 October 2003 Email: ji-wilson@audit-commission.gov.uk
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme
For more information please contact Audit Commission Central Region First Floor, Bridge Business Park Bridge Park Road Thurmaston Leicester LE4 8BL www.audit-commission.gov.ukTelephone: 0116 250 4100 Fax: 0116 250 4101
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 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 9
Report Context 18This report has been prepared by the Audit Commission (the Commission) following an inspection under Section 10 of the Local Government Act 1999, and issued in accordance with its duty under Section 13 of the 1999 Act. The locality 19Bury Metropolitan Borough Council is in the North West of England. Situated between Bolton to the West and Rochdale to the East, it consists of six townships, Bury (West & East), Prestwich, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom and Tottington, Whitefield and Unsworth. 20The population of the area is 181,000, living in 74,000 households2. 6.1 per cent of the population are from minority ethnic communities3. At approximately 35,000 Bury has the second largest Jewish community outside of London. 21of the borough to go to work.45 per cent of the population commute out Unemployment stands at 2.3 per cent compared with the national average of 3.6 per cent. It rises to 4.1 per cent in some wards in the East of the borough. Of the 16 wards in the borough, only one is in the top 10 per cent of the UKs most deprived wards. 22The council has created six area boards to promote community participation and enhance democracy and the quality of decision making. The Council 23party has overall control. A leaderThe council has 48 councillors. The Labour and cabinet govern the business of the council. The councils gross revenue budget for the year 2002/03 was £277.5 million. 24 25The councils priorities as identified in the corporate plan are: transforming customer contact; focussing on action by putting policy into practice, better managing our people, meeting targets and pursuing quality through continuous improvement; developing policy led and sustainable approach to budgeting; implementing ICT and e-government targets; modernising service delivery; delivering for young people; and regenerating priority areas. 26A comprehensive performance assessment was carried out in 2002 and the council received an overall score of weak. The judgement on the councils overall ability to improve was given a score of two (good). Supporting People  ODPM Framework for Delivery 27The ODPM has set out the following structural arrangements for the development and delivery of the Supporting People programme: 22001 Census. 32001 Census.
 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 10 Accountable officer and the Supporting People team: drive the whole process. Inclusive forum: consults with service providers and service users. Core strategy group: proposes strategic direction, service review procedures and timetables and work needed to secure the effective and efficient delivery and development of the programme. Commissioning body: agrees strategic direction, compliance with grant conditions, outcomes of service reviews and monitors the delivery and development of the programme. Elected members: approve key decisions of the commissioning body. Supporting People team: delivers the local programme. 28Supporting People commissioning bodies are a requirement under grant conditions and must have senior representation from the administering local authority (ALA), the local health services (usually one representative from each primary care trust) and the area probation service. In two tier ALAs each district council is entitled to one representative. Each named representative has one vote although the ALA has a veto where it can demonstrate a financial risk to the ALA. Supporting People  Housing Related Support Services in Bury Management Arrangements 29The Supporting People team sits within the social services, health and housing directorate. The accountable officer is the chief housing officer. 30The commissioning body comprises the chief executive of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, the chief executive of Bury Primary Care Trust and the chief probation officer for Bury and Rochdale. The commissioning body first met in December 2002. Terms of reference for this body have been agreed which set out its role of overseeing the Supporting People programme in the borough. 31The Supporting People team comprises: a manager; 1.5 full-time equivalent project officers (part time position has just been recruited); a consultation officer (vacant post interviews 17 November 2003); a strategy officer (temporary); and an administration officer. Supporting People Strategy and Budget 32The ODPM required all Supporting People administering local authorities to submit a shadow strategy in the autumn of 2002. The shadow strategies were required to demonstrate a clear vision and strategic steer for the programme and to set out the map of existing housing related support provision. The ODPM assessed the councils shadow strategy as fair. 33The shadow strategy sets out the context for Supporting People in Bury and provides guidance as to the intentions of the programme in the first year of operation. The shadow strategy explains the identified supply of Supporting People services in the borough. These services are mapped against the ODPMs suggested supply profile of Supporting People services in an area such as Bury. 34The primary client group analysis of services and unmet need identified in the shadow strategy showed:
 Bury Metropolitan Borough Council - Supporting People Programme p 11 Adequate levels of accommodation and floating support provision for people with mental health problems, single homeless people and people with learning disabilities. Over 1300 units of accommodation for older people but no floating support provision. A lack of floating support provision for people with drug or alcohol problems, women at risk of domestic violence and homeless families. No provision for people with physical or sensory disabilities, offenders, people with HIV/AIDS and young people. 35The shadow strategy data mapping of supply and unmet need is significantly different from the supply data as at 31 March 2003. This is due in the main to the number of new schemes coming on-line in six months prior to Supporting People implementation. 36The actual supply of accommodation and support services as funded by Supporting People grant based on 31 March 2003 was: 1975 units of supported accommodation; 196 individuals receiving floating support; and 943 community alarm units. 37The administration grant awarded to the council by the ODPM to assist in the costs of implementing, delivering and managing the programme is £231,509 for the financial year 2003/04. 38The final Supporting People grant allocation to the council for the financial year 2003/04 is: £7, 214,477; and £375,000 has been awarded to cover the revenue costs of schemes under development (pipeline funding). How good is the service? Are the aims clear and challenging? 39Inspectors look to see how a council has agreed the key aims for the service being inspected, how clear these aims are to the people that receive the service and whether these reflect the corporate aims of the organisation as a whole. 40Aims need to be challenging, address local needs and support national objectives. This requires the council to consider and demonstrate how a service contributes to its wider corporate aims and community plans. 41The aims for the Supporting People service that the council and its partners identify are pragmatic and challenging. The approach and focus to date has been to ensure that the Supporting People funding was fully identified and existing services safeguarded post April 2003. The five year strategy currently being prepared will provide the longer term steer for the programme. 42The aims of the service are set out in the shadow strategy. The shadow strategy set out some immediate priorities for the service: priorities linked to capital development programme 2003/04;development of provision for frail elderly people;provision of a long term, low level support mental health scheme;provision for people with a learning disability moving on from local authority hostels; andreplacement care unit for Bury young persons housing link.