This page tells you about Support Solutions UK's Strategic Briefing service for Boards and Senior Management Teams and also about our well-known free electronic publication "The Briefing", which has become an integral part of the housing support and social care sectors.
Strategic Briefings for Boards & Senior Management Teams
Support Solutions UK has an excellent reputation for the currency, depth and detail of our knowledge of housing support and social care and we have a recognised knack for correctly anticipating how and when change will occur and what form it will take. Our strengths are mainly in revenue for supported and sheltered housing and vulnerable people in general needs housing; Exempt Accommodation, the Welfare Reform Act, Housing Benefit, SROI, the future funding of services for vulnerable people and social media in organisations providing services for vulnerable people.
We have developed a Strategic Briefing Service for organisations who want to provide their Boards or Management Teams with up to the minute advice and information on the future for their services for vulnerable people. These briefings are usually of a half day duration, although we have also facilitated Board "away days" and weekends, and are tailor-made to your organisation and based on a pre-agreed brief with specific outcomes. They look in depth and detail at the challenges you face and how best to manage them.
This service is in great demand given the significant changes that are facing the housing support and social care sector. Recent Briefings have included Exempt Accommodation, Intensive Housing Management, the Welfare Reform Act & Universal Credit, Direct Payment of rent, the future funding of services for vulnerable people, how to replace hardwired alarms with fundable alternatives and social return on investment.
"The Briefing": our FREE electronic publication.
To subscribe to The Briefing simply enter your name and email address into the "Sign up for Briefing" box at the foot of this page. Please tell your colleagues and friends about it.
Some of our more recent Briefing articles include:
- New: Capital & Revenue Funding for New Supported Housing Services: this Briefing tells you about the existence of a new capital fund for the development of services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and the availibility of revenue. As well as talking about the new capital fund and the work we do to secure revenue to support the operating costs of new supported housing services, we also unpick the significance of the noun "homelessness". Providers and commissioners who are interested in services for people with substance misuse needs, mental health needs, offending histories, a fear of domestic violence and abuse will know that one common outcome of these and other needs is homelessness. The focus should be on people with an intensive level of need, whether that need is transitory or permanent, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We use a recently published quantitative survey of homelessness across the UK in order to identify key geographical areas where there is a higher incidence of homelessness, and by implication of the additional needs that sit behind homelessness. We invite existing providers and commissioners of supported housing services to contact us to put in place new supported housing services.
- New Arrangements for Funding Supported Housing: at long last the UK Government has responded to the sector's responses to 2 Consultations on the future funding of supported housing. Three years of funding uncertainty have come to an end with the announcement that there will not be a ring-fenced fund devolved to English local authorities to fund so-called "Short-Term Supported Housing", all forms of supported housing (including Sheltered & Extracare) are to be funded from within the welfare system and the proposed "Sheltered Rent" idea will not be implemented. This is good news as far as it goes, but be aware that it doesn't go that far! The UK Government seems to be wedded to retaining the inadequate definitions of different types of supported housing set out in its October 2017 Consultation and shows no sign of letting go of the "cost control" approach to funding and commissioning that has harmed supported housing so much. The new document talks of a "robust" oversight system, which no-one should doubt the need for but we're concerned about the potential nature of, and a review of Housing Related Support. Support Solutions is very pleased that the UK Government commitment to fund the additional needs housing costs of supported housing from within the welfare system vindicates the work we have done since 2005 to secure enhanced Housing Benefit to fund Intensive Housing Management. This has led to the creation of an annual funding stream of £2.1bn that would otherwise have been lost to the system. August 2018.
- Moving Supported Housing Forward: the unfinished business of "Funding Supported Housing": in this Briefing we consider the UK Government's brief Interim Response to the "Funding Supported Housing" Consultation responses that so many of you submitted back in January this year. We comment critically on the NHF's recent discussion paper on so-called "Long-Term Supported Housing" and we identify more appropriate definitions of Supported Housing as alternatives for 2 of 3 definitions devised by the UK Government. We consider how the buildings and housing-related additional needs costs of Supported Housing can be funded through "Supported Housing Rent" as a component of Universal Credit after Housing Benefit is abolished. We look at the need for and shape of a regulatory framework for Supported Housing and its relationship with Value Generation as a means of assessing whether Supported Housing services are delivering good outcomes for people, the public purse and the wider community. April 2018.
- Issues & Principles in Responding to the "Funding Supported Housing" Consultations: the Consultations on Sheltered & Extra Care Housing and Short-Term Supported Housing close on 23rd January 2018. This Briefing sets out a basis upon which you might wish to respond. We've been concerned not to produce "model answers" but to indentify a series of perspectives that challenge some of the assumptions behind the Consultation questions and provide a basis upon which to frame an alternative perspective. It is our view that the "Funding Supported Housing" proposals (and Consultations) have not been properly thought through and we intend this Briefing to be a constructive alternative perspective. January 2018.
- Funding Supported Housing: The purpose of this briefing is to explain and critique the new proposals set out in the UK Government's Policy Statement on Funding Supported Housing and the comments on the two Consultations it has set in train as a consequence, both of which end on 23rd of January 2018. These proposals, for better or worse, are of fundamental importance to supported housing. Less than a year ago we were urging people to respond to the UK Government's initial Consultation of the Future Funding of Supported Housing. Since then, and in the light of significant criticism from all sides, the UK Government has not only moved the goalposts, it's also ploughed up the football pitch. But for better or worse? Read or Briefing to learn about our analysis of the situation. We will be running a series of events in January to guide you through the detail of the new proposals in the consultation documents. You can download a booking form here.
- What is Supported Housing? The UK Government has consulted on proposals for the future funding of "supported housing", but has the Government failed to grasp what supported housing is, or what it could become? This Briefing focuses on the fact that supported housing is a victim of its own limiting misdescription and there needs to be redefinition of its scope and purpose that can be seen by Health and Social Care commissioners as a means of resolving the funding and capacity crisis in the NHS and social care services. We examine the concept of "Specialised Supported Housing", (as defined by The Social Housing Rents (Exceptions and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2016) and the new capital funding streams that fund it.
- Funding for Supported Housing: Responding to the Consultation: how we as a sector respond to the Consultation is hugely important. There is a wider context around the reform of the statutory sector, the integration of the NHS and local authorities will occur at an increasingly regional level in England. The demand for what we currently call "supported housing" will increase massively. But it's not just the supported housing we recognise; it's much, much more than that; we need a new model called Community Sustainment. The Consultation gives us the opportunity, and the absolute necessity, to reinvent how "social care" is commissioned and funded going forwards. a new system needs new values. This Consultation isn't just about the future funding of supported housing, it's the 1st step in a much wider, deeper journey. We have set out the background context to the Consultation in this Briefing, and we've addressed each of the Consultation questions in turn. January 2017.
- The LHA Cap & the Future Funding of Housing, Support & Social Care: How will the Local Housing Allowance Cap be applied? What impact will it have on rents for people with additional needs? What are the wider issues around the funding and commissioning of services for people with additional needs? What form will the redefinition of Supported Housing take? What will happen to enhanced Housing Benefit, Intensive Housing Management and Exempt/Specified Accommodation? What do we mean by the "Mixed Social Market"? In this Briefing we navigate the maze of possibilities associated with a major paradigm shift in the funding and commissioning of services for people with additional needs. We analyse UK Government policy to predict the likely application of the LHA Cap and to deduce the shape of things to come for people involved in housing, support & social care. It's a Brave New World; we hope this'll help you to navigate through it in the interests of people with additional needs. February 2016.
- A 1% Rent Cut, the Privatisation of Social Housing & a Redefinition of Supported Housing: Challenges & Opportunities? It's about much more than a 1% rent cut; that's just a symptom of a wider cause. The wider cause is a paradigm that will see social housing providers as "quasi-social landlords", the privatisation of capital development and the redefinition of supported housing. There is an opportunity to reinvent the funding and commissioning of services for people with additional needs (including those in "genral needs" accommodattion), which is for the UK Government to take. There are also opportunities for providers to continue to fund services for people with additional needs, even in the apparently restrictive context of the 1% rent cut, by looking afresh at the structure of their rents. November 2015.
- The "Silver Surge": Responding Positively to Increasing Demand for Wellbeing & Prevention by Older People: the number of people over 65 is increasing rapidly as a total number and as a proportion of the population. This will mean increased demands on housing, care and health services by Older People with additional needs. This will challenge housing providers and present them with significant opportunities within a new Social Market dominated by policy approaches that say we should invest in prevention and wellbeing. So what are the statistics behind the Silver Surge? What is this Social Market and how does funding and commissioning work within it? What funding arrangements should we be thinking about? How should service models change? What fundable technological solutions are there to increase contact with Older People by housing providers? May 2015.
- The Cost of Everything & The Value of Nothing: the Need for Social Return On Investment (SROI) & Unified Commissioning: Michael Patterson discusses the need for Social Return On Investment (SROI) as a means for Providers to show the social and financial benefits of preventative services to commissioners and funders. Michael also considers what we need to do in a funding and commissioning environment where cost is often put before value and Commissioners may therefore not be very interested in SROI models that don't focus specifically on the cost-benefit to "their" budget. Michael takes a pragmatic approach to the issue and discusses how Providers might adapt SROI models to catch the attention of budget-focussed Commissioners and also assist in moving the funding paradigm away from cost and towards value. March 2015.
- Social Return On Investment (SROI) for Organisations That Support People with Additional Needs: Abimbola (Bimi) Duro-David describes what Social Return On Investment (SROI) actually is and how it works for social organisations that provide services for people with additional needs. She describes its methods and means of calculation or order to arrive at a financial figure that shows how much money is saved for every £1 spent on a preventative service for people with additional needs. Bimi identifies how Provider organisations can use SROI to help improve their services and she also discusses how the same approach can identify non-service benefits to the organisations in question. March 2015.
- Exempt & Specified Accommodation & Intensive Housing Management: in this Briefing Michael Patterson sets out to explain what Exempt & Specified Accommodation is and to make clear our view that most Specified Accommodation is actually (or very easily can be) Exempt Accommodation. Michael sets out the different financial and Welfare Reform Act implications of Exempt Accommodation on the one hand and Specified Accommodation on the other. He identifies the major financial disadvantages and reduced Welfare Reform Act protections that occur when Exempt Accommodation is frequently and wrongly identified as Specified Accommodation categories 2, 3 and 4. Michael provides a list of Housing Benefit eligible Intensive Housing Management activities and examines the future for Intensive Housing Management and enhanced Housing Benefit. March 2015.
Exempt Accommodation & Welfare Reform Update: Michael Patterson looks to clarify the current confusion over what is and isn't Exempt Accommodation and sets out its relationship with the developing Welfare Reform Agenda. Michael examines the case for funding Tenancy Sustainment services through the Exempt Accommodation rules and comments on recent and significant negotiations between the DWP and sector advisers and raises questions about their outcome thus far. He identifies the need to radically reinvent Exempt Accommodation as a system of Investment in Prevention, the need for a proper definition of "vulnerability" and for a common methodology for defining Social & Financial Return on Investment.
Funding Alarms & Proactive Communication Systems for Vulnerable People (In sheltered/supported housing & in dispersed tenancies: Michael Patterson & Danny Key on how to reimagine the idea of an "alarm" system in order to arrive at a fundable system that replaces the need for and the assumptions behind traditional "alarms" and extends the ability of providers to support vulnerable tenants in general needs. All at NO COST to providers and tenants alike. May 2013.
Welfare Reform, Universal Credit & Exempt Accommodation: Michael Patterson and Danny Key with a positive look and a fresh perspective on the significance of Exempt Accommodation in the context of Universal Credit. Exempt Accommodation has greatly enhanced significance in the light of the DWP's decision to exclude the housing costs of people in Exempt Accommodation from Universal Credit. But how do you konw you're Exempt? Directly managed and Agency managed supported housing? Sheltered housing? Tenancy sustainment? Are these arrangements Exempt and if so under what circumstances and to what benefit? January 2013.
- Exempt Accommodation, Universal Credit & Intensive Housing Management: Michael Patterson with an update on the DWP's thinking on the future funding of the housing component of supported & sheltered housing. September 2012
- Universal Credit & Supported Housing: Michael Patterson discusses the likely impact of the Welfare Reform Act & Universal Credit on Supported & Sheltered Housing. In hindsight this Briefing can be seen to have been very accurate in its predictions. June 2012
- Intensive Housing Management & the DWP Consultation on HB for Sheltered & Supported Housing: Michael Patterson discusses the financial & service delivery benefits to local authorities, providers and tenants of revenue for Intensive Housing Management. Michael also comments in detail on the DWP's Consultation Proposals for the use of HB in Sheltered & Supported Housing. February 2012
- Update on the Future of Housing Benefit for Supported & Sheltered Housing: Michael Patterson reports on a meeting between Lord Freud, DWP officials & sector representatives to discuss progress of the Housing Benefit & Supported Housing Consultation. May 2012
Revenue Optimisation "Coventry Mind has recently worked through a programme of Housing Benefit optimisation with Support Solutions and in particular their specialist Danny Key. Throughout the whole process Danny demonstrated that he has excellent knowledge of the subject and was able to put forward a convincing case for the increase in funding to the Housing Benefit team. Coventry Mind has already and will continue to recommend Support Solutions and in particular this service to other organisations." Steven Hill - Director of Central Services