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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting 29th November 2011

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety

 

Supporting People Contracts

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To obtain authority to renew contracts with existing support providers for the continuing provision of specialist and complex needs housing related support services for selected schemes and to obtain authority to waive the Council's Contract Standing Orders because of the nature of the services referred to.

Recommendations

1.             That the Council awards renewed contracts for a small number of services identified in the report for a three year period.

 

2.             That the Council's Contract Standing Order be waived to allow the specialist contracts detailed in the report to be put into place.

 

3.             That the report is referred to the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee   

 

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure the stability of services provided to very vulnerable people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

2.             To comply with the Council's Contract Standing Orders and financial regulations.

 

3.             For information.

 

Background

2.             Legacy funding to pay for existing housing related support services transferred to the Council in April 2003 through the Supporting People agenda under two funding streams:

a. Supporting People Grant (SPG) - this funds sheltered housing, elderly people       services and projects jointly funded with Social Services or Health.

b. Supporting People Revenue Grant (SPRG) - this funds floating support schemes and supported housing projects across all tenures that were set up to assist vulnerable people to achieve independence and remain in their own home.

3.             Both funding streams are paid by the Welsh Government (WG) in the form of a grant to the Council and these funds are ring-fenced for expenditure on housing related support services only in accordance with WG requirements.

4.             In order to ensure overall compliance with the Council's Contract Standing Orders, the Financial Regulations and other procurement requirements together with WG guidance, the Housing Department recently undertook a formal tender process for the future provision of SPRG services and the result of this exercise was reported to Cabinet on 6th July 2011 (Cabinet Minute C1364). Most of the SPG funded contracts will also be retendered in partnership with the Social Services Department in 2012 as reported to Cabinet 19th October 2011 (Cabinet Minute C1481).

5.             However, five of the SPG services are of such specialist nature that it would be inappropriate to follow a formal tendering process because of the adverse effect this would have on the services provided.

6.             These contracts are now due for renewal and therefore authority is being sought to again award the contracts to the existing providers for a period of three years.

7.             The services are as follows:

a. Two external contracts between the Council and single support providers who have one vulnerable client each that they have taken into their own home.

b. One external contract with a service provider (Opportunity Housing Trust) who provides housing related support to a service user who has a learning disability and requires high levels of personal care at the service user's own home. This service user is also part funded by Health.

c. Two external contracts between the Council and Newydd and Wales and West Housing Associations respectively  for warden and alarm services provided in  properties owned and run by these housing associations.

8.             In accordance with WG guidance all of these projects are regularly monitored by the Supporting People Team to ensure that they continue to provide value for money and high quality service. If any project was found to be no longer required or not meeting the aims and objectives set down, it would be closed or reconfigured.  

Relevant Issues and Options

9.             In respect of the two service users who each live with the single support providers, they have been supported in excess of twenty years each in the individual support provider's property. Moving out would be very traumatic and could destabilise the service users and impede their progress in achieving their desired outcomes. The contract with each support provider is specific and personal to each service user and if for instance if the service user no longer required the support or left the accommodation for any reason the contract would end and no alternative service user would be automatically allocated to the service. The two contracts have a maximum annual value of £11,615.76 and £6,900.92 and both service users are means tested each year to ensure that they still qualify for financial assistance.

10.        The service user who is part funded by Health has lived in his own property and received the support and care from the same organisation, Opportunity Housing Trust since prior to April 2003. There is therefore a need to ensure that the stability of the service user is maintained. The maximum annual value of this contract is £19,681.48 and the service user is also financially assessed annually.

11.        The warden and emergency alarm services provided to Newydd and Wales and West Housing Association tenants are provided by the housing associations as a condition of their respective tenancy agreements in properties owned by them. It would therefore not be appropriate and indeed complicated to change the service providers. The maximum contract values are £10,389.08 and £36, 219.56, however as it is paid on behalf of individual tenants and is means tested, the total amount paid in 2010/11 under these contracts were £5,846.69 and £26,231.36 respectively. These costs are comparable with similar services provided to other social housing tenants in the Vale of Glamorgan.

12.        Given the factors set out above, it would be inappropriate to commence any sort of formal tender process for these services. However, all of these services have been and will continue to be monitored and extensively reviewed on an annual basis by the Supporting People Team. They are considered to be vital services for vulnerable clients. The service providers/landlords and support staff have built up a close relationship with the service users and to change these could impede a service user's progress in achieving the desired outcomes of independence, maintaining their home and integrating successfully into the community. In the case of the one to one support provision, to significantly change the arrangement could lead to a service user becoming destabilised and needing to seek crisis intervention from the statutory services of Health or Social Services. It is therefore in everyone's best interest to maintain the current arrangements.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

13.        The Welsh Government provides funding for all of these services; therefore there are no direct financial implications for the Council.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.        The renewed contracts will be in a standard form as drafted by Legal Services that is consistent with Welsh Government requirements for this type of funding.

15.        The Council's Contract Standing Order's need to be waived to enable the contracts to be awarded.

16.        Housing support services will generally be subject to EU procurement regulations. However, where contracts relate to 'health and social services', they are classified as 'Part B' contracts which are subject to a less stringent set of procurement rules. The contracts in question are also unlikely to exceed EU procurement thresholds over a three year period in any event and in addition to this it is, in some instances, also acceptable to contract with a limited range of providers or indeed a single provider where the service provision is specialist in nature. The contracts referred to in this report meet all this criteria.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.        The continuation and development of good quality support services will protect and support very vulnerable clients who are likely to be more susceptible to experience crime and disorder difficulties if these projects were not in place.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.        The continuation of these projects will do much to improve the quality of life of some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        This report is consistent with the following Corporate and Service Objectives of the Council:

         Health inequalities are reduced and residents are able to access the necessary

         services, information and advice to improve their wellbeing and quality of life.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.        This report is consistent with the Policy Framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.        These services are situated throughout the Vale of Glamorgan; therefore no individual ward member consultation has been undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.        Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

(i) Guide to Local Authorities on the Arrangements for the Implementation and Administration of Supporting People in Wales - Welsh Assembly Government February 2003

 

(ii) Contract Standing Orders

 

(iii) Financial Regulations

 

Contact Officer

Pam Toms, Strategy and Supporting People Manager, Housing Services.

 

Officers Consulted

Robert Waldron, Group Auditor, Resource Management

Jocelyn Ham, Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Pam Toms, Strategy & Supporting People Manager.

 

 

 

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