Reviewing resident support

1. On 2 July 2022 the DLUHC published its Guidance on Local Authority Interventions to Improve Quality in Supported Housing (England). 

2. The guidance is described as a good practice resource for local authorities, based on the findings of the supported housing pilots. 

3. The resource aims to assist local authorities in addressing issues related to poor-quality supported housing and to promote higher standards in their regions. It details the interventions that pilot authorities found effective and explains the reasons behind their success.

Resident support reviews – overview

4. One significant element of the good practice resource relates to resident support reviews. 


5. The purpose of these reviews is to:

  1. assess the support in place for residents in supported housing receiving Housing Benefit (paras 70-71),
  2. determine:
    1. whether an individual needs support,
    2. what support is required,
    3. the extent to which the support provided meets the needs of the individual (para 71).

Benefits of reviews

6. The benefits of such a review are described as: 

  1. listening to residents and ensuring improvements reflect their experiences (para 73),
  2. identify residents at risk and supporting  them (para 73),
  3. building the council presence so residents feel supported (para 73).

Overview of the guidance

7. The guidance addresses the following issues: 

  1. Delivering a Review Programme
  2. Establishing Review Team
    1. Multidisciplinary team with experience of supported housing (paras 76-77)
    2. Complete necessary training and security checks (paras 78-79)
  3. Planning and Targeting Reviews
    1. Focus on poor quality providers or sample checks across all supply (para 82)
  4. Conducting Reviews
  5. Scheme Level Review
    1. Assess structures, policies, and processes for delivering support (paras 83-88)
    2. Review referral processes and assessments of residents’ needs (paras 89-93)
  6. Individual Level Review
    1. Conduct person-centred interviews with residents (paras 94-98)
    2. Review individual support plans and needs assessments (paras 98-100)
    3. Obtain residents’ consent where possible (para 97)
  7. Assessing Findings and Follow-Up
    1. Make an overall assessment of the quality of support (paras 110-112)
    2. Provide recommendations for improvements to the provider (paras 113-118)
    3. Revisit scheme to check progress on implementing recommendations (para 119)
  8. Potential Risks and Challenges
    1. Reassuring residents and maintaining security of tenure (paras 140-142)
    2. Challenges from providers including appeals and disputes (paras 143-146)
    3. The importance of documenting evidence to justify decisions (para 146)

Planning and Targeting Reviews

8. You may:

  1. focus on providers and schemes where there are indicators of poor quality service,
  2. conduct sample checks across all local supply to improve oversight of the wider local market (see chapter ‘Planning and targeting interventions effectively’).” (para 82)

Conducting Reviews

Scheme Level Review

9. “Reviewing the support at scheme level can indicate whether the required structures, policies and processes are in place to deliver effective support to residents.” (para 83)

Information to request

10. “Make use of any information already on file for the provider and/or scheme and ensure any request for information is appropriate and relevant to the review taking place.” (para 84)

11. “You may find it useful to request:

  1. the name of the provider and others involved in the organisation, e.g., landlord, support provider, managing agent,
  2. the responsibilities of all organisations involved,
  3. the area and address of the provider’s scheme(s),
  4. the cohort(s) the scheme houses,
  5. evidence of a separate funding stream for support,
  6. resident satisfaction forms completed anonymously,
  7. description of the site (ideally with photographs), why the site was chosen, and how it is maintained,
  8. the model occupancy agreement,
  9. a description of the support provided at the scheme and how the provider ensures it is delivered effectively” (para 85)
    1. mission statements
    2. example support plans
    3. explanation of what support can be delivered on site and what support can be/is signposted to
    4. previous experience of the provider and/or staff
    5. staffing structures
    6. training for support workers and evidence of DBS checks
    7. size of caseloads
    8. relevant policies, such as safeguarding
    9. example documentation, such as risk and needs assessments, the standard referral process and occupancy agreement
    10. if applicable, the quality and/or accreditation standards worked towards

Conducting site visit

12. “When visiting the scheme to conduct a scheme-level review, it is beneficial to:

  1. talk to staff about the policies and procedures at the scheme, and whether they feel equipped to provide adequate support and deliver positive outcomes for residents,
  2. conduct a light-touch and informal accommodation inspection. Any obvious hazards identified can be logged and followed up through a more detailed accommodation inspection” (paras 87-88)

Reviewing Referral Processes

  1. “When reviewing support at scheme level it is important to assess how providers accept and decline referrals into their schemes.” (para 89)
  2. Review referral pathway and needs assessment documentation (para 90),
  3. Speak to staff and residents regarding experiences of the referral process (paras 91-93),

Individual Level Review

  1. Conduct person-centred interviews with residents to understand experiences (paras 94-98),
  2. Obtain written consent from residents where possible (para 97).
  3. Review individual support plans and needs assessments (paras 98-100) – could include:
    1. a signed and current license agreement or tenancy agreement,
    2. a sample of assessment forms – needs assessment, risk assessment, initial assessment or multiple, as appropriate,
    3. information about the resident’s referral to the organisation,
    4. an outcome-based support plan,
    5. evidence of the provider’s regular reviews of the support plan.

Assessing findings and follow-up

13. “Once all planned reviews at a scheme have been conducted, make an overall assessment and set out key findings.” (para 110)

14. “An assessment of the documentation, resident interviews and conversations with scheme staff can:

  1. conclude whether the support in place is tailored to residents’ needs as much as possible (this should consider both what the resident has said they require and what the provider and referrer (where relevant) have set out as the resident’s support requirements),
  2. clarify whether the provider has accurately depicted the support they are delivering,
  3. determine whether residents are treated with compassion, dignity, and respect, all with the goal of moving towards greater independent living” (para 110),

Providing Recommendations

15. “Provide recommendations to the scheme where improvements could be made to the quality and/or suitability of support.” (para 111)

16. “Logging the results by scheme, with space to log future visits, can provide useful oversight of the quality of local provision and any changes.” (para 112)

Follow Up

17. “Following up with the provider ensures they acknowledge and understand the assessment findings and are beginning to take steps to improve where needed.” (para 113)

18. “You can act upon the reviews by:

  1. collating the review findings from the scheme and identify consistent positive support practices and where improvements can be made,
  2. contacting the scheme with overall findings and making recommendations based on these,
  3. sending a brief and accessible letter to the resident to inform them of the local authority’s recommendations to the provider” (paras 114-115),

19. “Provide feedback, particularly when it includes recommendations for improvement, also provide:

  1. dates by when the provider is asked to
    1. acknowledge the recommendations, and
    2. complete and evidence actions and next steps,
  2. contact details to give the provider the opportunity to discuss the feedback further and any potential support that could be given to the provider where they may be inexperienced” (paras 117-118)

Potential Risks and Challenges

Reassuring residents

20. “Residents may not feel comfortable speaking openly about their provider if they are concerned about the impact it might have on their tenancy.” (para 140)

21. “You can provide reassurance to residents by:

  1. building relationships with them through an increased council presence in schemes with concerns,
  2. helping to raise residents’ expectations of support and accommodation,
  3. educating residents about their rights,
  4. implementing confidential complaints and feedback systems” (para 141),

Maintaining residents’ security of tenure

22. “There are real risks associated with the security of residents’ tenancies when scrutinising the quality of providers and schemes, including threats of eviction or scheme closures.” (para 141)

23. “Being well prepared to refer residents to new accommodation, quickly and/or at scale can mitigate these risks.” (para 142)

Challenges from providers

24. “If a local authority challenges a provider on the levels of support they are delivering or are proposing to deliver, this may be disputed by the provider.” (para 144)

25. “Where a Housing Benefit claim has been rejected or if the claimant does not agree with the amount awarded, this may be disputed by the claimant through an appeal against the decision and their housing provider may support them in this process.” (para 145)

26. “To ensure you are prepared for the possibility of a legal challenge, it is important to keep well-documented evidence of your intervention findings to justify and underpin the authority’s decisions.” (para 146)