Headlines: January 7th, 2005

A drive to improve delivery of the Supporting People programme has been launched by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Supporting People is a flexible way of providing a range of support to vulnerable people covering services to prevent them from losing their homes as well as floating support schemes. Council housing departments are lead commissioners and they work with health, social and probation services.The capacity building initiative challenges current practices in a quest for improvement and seeks to boost knowledge and skills and influence behaviour by learning from success and failure. The middle management programme aims to prepare staff for more senior positions and the Peer Clearing House gives councils access to current best practice in local government.

A series of Value Improvement Projects have been designed to allow individual or groups of councils to work with ODPM and a pool of advisors to explore opportunities to deliver improvements in the operation of the Supporting People programme on the ground and through that deliver value for money- based savings. Emerging good practice will be captured and lessons shared.

Supporting People is a theme for the current Beacon Councils scheme and four councils are managing a process of good practice sharing and peer support which they are showcasing to other councils.

A performance benchmarking programme aims to engage providers in comparing performance and focussing on best practice to improve service delivery. The programme is being developed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Saratoga Institute in conjunction with Housemark and the National Housing Federation.

Health Pilots designed to assist the development of partnership working between councils and local health partners have been launched. The objectives are to identify and develop positive practice around joint working and to capture evidence of how Supporting People is able to support and contribute to local health strategies and objectives.

Other components of the capacity building programme for Supporting People include collaborative procurement projects and collaboration with the voluntary and community sectors.