The Welsh Government provides around £134 million annually via the Supporting People Programme (SPP) to help some of Wales’ most vulnerable people to live independently. SPP, established in 2003 across the UK, provides housing related support to more than 50,000 people in Wales each year. It supports households fleeing domestic violence and people threatened with or getting over a period of homelessness as well as older people, people with mental health needs, substance misuse needs or a learning disability. In England and Scotland the Programme has been dismantled and services experienced massive reductions in funding. In contrast in Wales, in 2009, the Welsh Government commissioned an independent review of SPP. The subsequent 2010 ‘Aylward Review’ found that the programme is providing valuable and much needed support to vulnerable people, but wide-ranging and urgent changes needed to be made to the way that the provision of housing related support was funded, procured, monitored and regulated in Wales.
A significant consequence of the Aylward Review was the changes made to the structures supporting the Programme including the development of multi-agency Regional Collaborative Committees (RCCs). RCCs aim to bring together the people commissioning, delivering and using services as equal partners and to pool their knowledge and expertise, better services can be delivered. At the national level the Supporting People National Advisory Board (SPNAB) provides advice to the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage and ensures that the Supporting People Programme is focused on meeting the housing-related needs of vulnerable people.
Miller Research Ltd has been commissioned to review the new SPP structures in their first year and make recommendations regarding their future. We are currently undertaking a comprehensive qualitative research programme comprising of interviews and focus groups with nearly 90 stakeholders involved at all levels of the Programme including: policy practitioners, elected members, local authority officers, service providers, housing associations and service users. The research will be looking at the effectiveness of the programme planning and commissioning arrangements at local and national levels; best practice and innovation; and areas for improvement or action. The report’s findings and recommendations will be presented to SPNAB in September 2014.
Further information on the Review can be found on the Welsh Government website: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/housing-and-regeneration/services-and-support/supporting-people/publications/review-of-transition-year/?lang=en