Headlines: July 5th, 2011

Local authorities have been invited to take part in the Community Budget extension and some 50 councils, in addition to the pilot areas, are expected to sign up before the end of the financial year. The budgets will be used for families with multiple problems.

Following the announcement of the extension by the Deputy Prime Minister last week, further support is being developed by the Departments for Education and for Communities and Local Government with the Local Government Group and Children’s Improvement Board.

The 16 pilots were launched in April 2011 and the plan was to extend the use of Community Budgets for families with multiple problems from next year onwards, but the decision start a national roll out immediately has caused a hasty re-think of the implementation should be handled.

There are no details yet of the support programme but it is likely to include advice on breaking down barriers that prevent services and practitioners working together to deliver solutions which address the complex problems of these families.

New funding is to be made available over the next three years from the European Social Fund. The competition to let contracts for the ESF support is now underway.

Tenders have been invited by the Department for Work and Pensions and providers will submit bids by the end of August. Details of which organisations are allowed to bid in each area of the country can be found on the DWP website. Details of the specification for each Contract Package Area, known as a CPA, can be found at “Supplying DWP” website.

The successful bidder is responsible for delivering these services and may choose to do so through sub-contractors. It is expected that over the next few weeks, bidders will want to talk to councils in more detail about how this will work in practice.