Headlines: September 12th, 2006

SUPPORTING PEOPLE SERVICES ‘NEED STABLE FUNDING’

 

Voluntary and community groups are urging local authorities not to cut funding for services that enable vulnerable people to remain in their own homes. The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action also wants councils to work with the Department for Communities and Local Government to arrive at a more stable long-term funding arrangement for Supporting People services.

The call follows figures released by the DCLG which show ten per cent of Supporting People services have been decommissioned and that about 900 services have closed. Kevin Curley, chief executive of the Association said the positive gains achieved by Supporting People were now threatened by an unstable funding regime.

“Local VCS groups that provide many of the best supporting people services need certainty of funding. As things stand, some excellent services that provide invaluable support for vulnerable adults are about to be thrown away like junk,” he said.

NAVCA says it has been contacted by a number of local projects providing Supporting People services to express serious criticisms of the current system. In one case a group working with deaf people in the west of England has just lost its Supporting People contract after three years and in Suffolk Optua, a disabled people’s charity with a contract worth half a million pounds a year, has had to absorb an effective cut of 50,000 pounds in funding because there has been no inflation increase. Supporting People was introduced three and a half years ago.

Mr. Curley said Supporting People had enabled many groups to provide specialist services but now they were facing cuts even though local authorities had been underspending their Supporting People allocations from central Government. “We have councils fearful of making commitments because of what might happen in the future to their grant support. This is no way to run a care system,” he added.