Agenda item - Housing Related Support Budget & Commissioning Report

skip navigation and tools

Agenda item

Housing Related Support Budget & Commissioning Report

Report of the Executive Director Adult Services, Acting Executive Director, Environment, Development & Housing, Director of Public Health, and Executive Director of Children’s Services (copy attached).



1)                        That the report be noted.




27.1   The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director Adult Services, Acting Executive Director Environment, Development and Housing, Director of Public Health, and the Executive Director Children’s Services which provided information of the current position with regard to the Housing Related Support (HRS) Budget, HRS procurement activities and the development of the new Rough Sleeper Strategy.  Housing Related Support Services were formally known as Supporting People services and incorporated Homeless Prevention Grant Funded services.  These services aimed to prevent homelessness and provide support which help individuals move towards or maintain independent living. The report was presented by the Commissioning Officer, Rough Sleepers, Single Homelessness, Substance Misuse and the Head of Adults Assessment.


27.2   Councillor Mears stated that she was pleased to see a report on Supporting People, however there were a number of issues that concerned her.  Councillor Mears referred to paragraphs 1.3 and 1.4 and stressed that the approach of working with commissioners was not new.  It had been happening in housing for 10 years and in 2012 the council had been commended for work on rough sleepers.   Councillor Mears referred to paragraph 3.6 which spoke about the impact of the overall budget reductions.  She was concerned about the increased pressures on other services.  Councillor Mears was particularly concerned about the proposals in paragraph 3.8 (Single Homeless Supported Accommodation) as there was already a waiting  list of over 80 people.  Councillor Mears considered that these proposals would increase the waiting list.          


27.3     Councillor Mears referred to paragraph 3.10 (Mental Health Supported Accommodation) which she felt conflicted with paragraph 3.15 (Tiered Mental Health Pathway).  Councillor Mears was concerned at the professional jargon used in the report and felt it was lacking detail.  She noted that officers were indicating that there would be a £2 million budget cut and was concerned at the impact of cuts across the city. Councillor Mears felt that Housing & New Homes Committee members had little control over budget matters and stressed that there was no longer an Adult Services Committee.


27.4   Councillor Mears considered that the role of councillors on the Committees was to address inequality. She asked if members were being asked to note recommendations that would lead to more deaths amongst homeless people. Councillor Mears emphasised that Supporting People had been ring fenced by a previous administration.  She asked that it be recorded that that she was not prepared to note the report.


27.5   The Head of Adults Assessment informed members that the budget cut of £2 million was a Council decision not an officer decision.  The Commissioning Officer, Rough Sleepers, Single Homelessness, Substance Misuse informed members that officers were aware of the impact of reductions in adult accommodation.  Officers were trying to ensure that as much money as possible went into the single homeless account and were trying to fill the gap with initiatives such as the women only service and Housing First & Severe Weather Emergency Provision. Officers were trying to improve services that were being commissioned to reduce the impact of budget cuts.   Mental health tired services were jointly financed and would be remodelled.


27.6   Councillor Mears referred to paragraph 3.11 which stated that the   Rough Sleepers Outreach Service had been tendered and the        contract awarded to St Mungos Broadway.  To date she had not seen           any details on contracts and was interested in knowing how the       contract would be administered.


27.7   The Commissioning Officer, Rough Sleepers, Single Homelessness,          Substance Misuse replied that she could come back with an overview of the contract.  It was also possible to arrange for service providers to meet with Committee members or to attend a future committee meeting.  


27.8   Councillor Mears stressed that previously the Housing Committee had       been able to review all contracts.  The Chair referred to paragraph      3.2     which stated that on 22 January, Policy & Resources Committee       agreed to delegate authority to the Executive Director of Adult           Services to procure and enter into any contract to secure effective delivery of support services for vulnerable people.     Councillor Mears     replied that the report should have been submitted to Housing         Committee before being considered by the Policy & Resources           Committee.


27.9   Councillor Moonan shared some of Councillor Mear’s concerns and would have liked to see more detail in the report. Councillor Moonan agreed that the proposals would have a real impact on homeless people and rough sleepers.  She acknowledged that there had been a great deal of good work in the past and a great deal of good practice at the moment.  The administration had prioritised rough sleeping. There was a need to implement the remodelling of homeless services before quarter 3.  This was a matter of urgency.  Councillor Moonan reported on the Neighbourhood approach of the administration and of the important work of the Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee.  As Deputy Chair of that Committee she had special responsibility for homelessness. She stressed that Brighton & Hove was blessed with a rich diversity of voluntary sector organisations.  She would link information to the Housing & New Homes Committee.  


27.10  Councillor Miller expressed concern at the loss of 136 adult bed spaces.  The proposals would impact other services.  Councillor Miller asked if there would be better value for money if the contracts were combined. 

27.11    The Commissioning Officer, Rough Sleepers, Single Homelessness, Substance Misuse replied that some services had been combined into one contract, however officers had not yet considered combining all services together.  This would require a consortium bid which would cause an issue when working with individuals.  For example, if one person was banned from a source of accommodation, they would be banned from all accommodation whereas they can currently move on elsewhere. 


27.12    Councillor Gibson stated that he considered that the level of cuts visited on the city were due to the proposals put by the previous administration being turned down.  He echoed Councillor Mear’s comments and he expressed concern at the equalities implications set out in paragraph 7.3.  


27.13    Councillor Gibson noted that the financial comments in paragraph 7.1 stated that the risks identified in the report would need to be quantified.  He felt this work should have been carried out already. Councillor Gibson noted that the parts of the service being cut were non statutory.  This could lead to more problems and he considered that prevention was better than cure.  The Commissioning Officer, Rough Sleepers, Single Homelessness, Substance Misuse replied that floating support had been remodelled and this would help to build resilience.  Officers were trying to reach people more effectively.


27.14    The Head of Adult Assessment informed members that the aim was to target those most in need.  Prevention was not always about money.  It was about working in a different way.  There was a risk involved in the proposals but the work was part of an overarching strategy with regard to wellbeing.  This was a city wide issue. 


27.15    Councillor Mears referred to Councillor Moonan’s comments and stated that the voluntary services were exceptional in this field.  However, she asked why St Mungos Broadway had been awarded the Rough Sleepers Outreach contract rather than an organisation closer to home.  Meanwhile, Councillor Mears stated that many vulnerable people were being discharged from Millview Hospital and there needed to be more work in this area.


27.16    Councillor Hill agreed that the budget cuts would have a negative impact but stressed that the local authority was facing budget cuts year on year. 


27.17    Councillor Atkinson shared the concerns about the report which he did not fully understand.  He felt that Councillor Moonan’s work on the 

            Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee would provide members with more understanding on this issue.  Councillor Atkinson expressed concern that winter was approaching and he was not sure how homeless people would cope if there was severe weather.

27.18  RESOLVED:-


(1)            That the report be noted.


NOTES: A vote was taken.  Six members voted for the recommendation and four voted against.


Councillors Mears and Miller requested that it be recorded that they did not wish to note the report.

Supporting documents:


Brighton & Hove City Council | Hove Town Hall | Hove | BN3 3BQ | Tel: (01273) 290000 | Mail: | how to find us | comments & complaints