15 February 2011
We are sending this letter to clarify the situation regarding Supporting People data
after the collection of data for this current financial year. This includes both uploads
of Supporting People data via the Supporting People Local System (SPLS) to Steria
and Client Record and Outcome data submitted by providers to the Centre for
Housing Research, University of St Andrews.
This Government is committed to decentralisation and freeing local authorities from
top-down data burdens. As a response to this the Department is looking to remove
unnecessary burdens of data collection on both providers and commissioners of
Supporting People services particularly at a time when there is also an overriding
need to find savings as a result of the fiscal deficit. In addition, Supporting People
will roll into Formula Grant with effect from April 2011 increasing authorities’ freedom
and flexibility in how they are able to spend their funding. As Formula Grant is a
single unhypothecated grant that is not divided by any service in any way, there will
not be a specific budget allocation for Supporting People services
Therefore, it will no longer be appropriate for the Department to continue to collect
data returns that specifically correlates to Supporting People services. However, we
will ensure that there are final Supporting People datasets for the current financial
year (i.e. 1st April 2010 to 31st March 2011) and will not cease collection of
Supporting People data until we have collected the final data.
In practice, given the time lag in data collection, analysis and publication for the
current financial year we are requesting that submission of data continues until the
following specified dates below:
Client Record and Outcomes: Providers should be encouraged to continue
to submit data to the Centre for Housing Research, University of St
Andrews until this data base closes for final submission on Friday 6th May
2011. This is earlier than previous years but the Centre for Housing
Research will send reminders out nearer the time to encourage providers
to submit quarter four data by this date.
SPLS: We ask that authorities continue to submit quarterly returns to
Steria, via the SPLS uploads, until closure of the final upload window on
Friday 22nd May 2011.
Although Departmental collection of Supporting People data will cease we are
mindful of local authorities’ need to monitor the effectiveness of services they provide
to vulnerable people and be accountable to local people for these. We have
therefore decided to issue a consultation paper which will seek the views of
authorities and the sector on the development of an alternative approach to
Department for Communities and Local Government Email Shehla.Husain@communities.gsi.gov.uk
evidencing the value of housing related support services that authorities and
providers can use and own. Early thinking is that this could take the form of a
common framework which authorities and providers could use to collate essential
data necessary to enable people to make informed comparisons about their local
services and provides local councils with the ability to benchmark their services.
DCLG can co-facilitate a way forward that can both support transparency and also
continue to build a robust evidence base about the value of housing related support.
We will be in touch again shortly with a sector specific consultation for you to
respond to. We look forward to hearing your views. We would also be grateful if you
could ensure that you inform your providers about the contents of this letter.
Deputy Director Housing Care & Support