1. In conjunction with the publication of the Government’s National Statement of Expectations for supported housing in October 2020 the Government announced £3 million to fund pilots in 5 areas:1Government Press Release (20 October 2020)
- Bristol; and
2. According to the Government, the pilots were created in order to improve:
- oversight; and
- value for money.
4. The pilots were intended to run until the end of March 2021. The pilots in Birmingham, Blackpool, Blackburn and Hull were extended for a further 6 months. They were backed by an additional £2.3 million in central government funding.2Government Press Release (19 March 2021)
Publication of findings
5. The evaluation of the findings from the pilots and a related set of recommendations to improve quality and value for money in supported housing were published on 7 April 2022.3Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Evaluation of the supported housing oversight pilots, 7 April 2022
6. The report sets out key findings and recommendations centred on the impact of :
- improved property inspections and enforcement of standards,
- reviews of support to residents,
- scrutiny of new and existing Housing Benefits claims and
- improved strategic planning to understand local markets.
7. The evaluation report contains the following recommendations:
- Make short-medium term funding available to local authorities to oversee supported housing in their area while longer-term reforms (e.g., regulatory and legislative measures) are agreed and implemented.
- DWP should aim to define care, support and supervision, and review regulations around rent levels and subsidy, to strengthen the impact of Housing Benefit scrutiny activities open to local authorities.
- Strengthen local authority powers to intervene in new supply where it is unnecessary or of poor quality.
- To improve the quality of support residents receive in supported housing, DLUHC and DWP should review funding and regulation for the support element of supported housing.
- DLUHC could support local authorities to maintain property quality and standards through the dissemination of learning and clarifying the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) standards.
- Local authorities should be encouraged to conduct their own data collection and modelling to improve their future strategies for their local supported housing market, and DLUHC’s own understanding of how to improve the wider supported housing sector.
- Government should revisit pilot value for money calculations to understand whether advantages gained from pilot activity remain over time.
- Local authorities looking to adopt activities from the pilots should adopt multidisciplinary and partnership approaches, plan resource carefully and actively share information and learning.
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