Reforms mean better housing support
Under allocations announced today under the Supporting People programme, £406 million will be available to provide housing support services to vulnerable people in 2005-06, and £399 million in each of the following two years.
The £399 million figures for 2006/07 and 2007/08 include a transitional reform fund of £8 million per year to help councils manage their changes to services.
The three year settlement will create stability for the programme and offer local authorities and providers the opportunity to plan strategically and deliver good quality, value for money services across Scotland.
Communities Minister Margaret Curran said:
"Supporting People is a key programme with a noble principle - providing support for those who are old, disabled, at risk, or vulnerable in other ways to live in the community instead of institutions.
"But on both sides of the Border, it has been recognised that reform is required to ensure fairness, focus and financial rigour.
"Across Scotland, we need to deliver effective and sensitive services. This allocation will do that.
"And funding for Supporting People in Scotland will continue to be over 20 per cent of that available in England - still a great deal for providers in Scotland, well above what many programmes get under the Barnett Formula.
"This three year settlement will be accompanied by a new focus on the scheme and its delivery.
"We recognise the need to provide transitional support over the next three years and so the redistribution of funding is being made gradually to give local authorities time to conduct service reviews so they can drive out inefficiencies without unduly impacting on front line services.
"That's the work we will be taking forward over the coming months, establishing a strategic framework for delivery of services, measures to assess quality of service and value for money, and putting in place an equitable arrangement for sharing the resources available between local authorities, based on objective need."
"The allocations I'm announcing today indicate our commitment to reform the programme so that it meets the needs of vulnerable people across all parts of Scotland in a fair and effective way."
The Supporting People programme has developed quickly over the last four years as part of the benefits system administered by the Department of Work and Pensions. It is managed by local authorities in partnership with providers and other local stakeholders. Funding varies widely from council to council, with funding per head ranging from £19 to £235 across the country.
This year it has provided services for more than 80,000 clients across Scotland in a variety of ways and places - ranging from wardens in sheltered housing to courses in independent living for young homeless people and from help with the practicalities of managing a home like making sure bills are paid on time to assistance with the safety of the elderly and infirm.
The allocations are based on a new formula that more fairly allocates funding to relative need nationally and the objectives of the programme, and takes account of the way in which Ministers wish to reform the programme. 30 per cent of funding is allocated against the proportion of older people in each local authority area, with 30 per cent of funding allocated against local rates for homelessness, 20 per cent against the number of people in each are claiming the disability living allowance and 20 per cent against deprivation.
The transitional reform fund of £8m per year in 2006-07 and 2007-08 will be used to support local authorities demonstrating the greatest need for additional financial support in this transition period and appropriate commitment to work with the Scottish Executive to reform the programme and make most effective use of these additional resources. Further details on this transitional fund will be made in due course.
Allocations (all figures in £million, rounded to 1 decimal place)
Argyll & Bute
Dumfries & Galloway
Edinburgh, City of
Perth & Kinross