I want more evidence over Supporting People cash, says council leader

Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader

Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards Exclusive by , Political Reporter

THE leader of Worcestershire County Council has rejected claims that slashing £8.5 million from services for the vulnerable will lead to legal challenges - saying he has little "hard evidence" it worked.

Councillor Adrian Hardman has refuted criticism the authority is adopting a "chop it and hope" approach to slashing 60 per cent of its Supporting People funding.

As your Worcester News first revealed in November, a £15 million pot is being reduced to £6.5 million in April due to major funding pressures.

It goes on a range of services including domestic abuse, substance misuse and debt advice, 24-hour wardens for pensioners in sheltered accommodation, call alarms for the disabled and homelessness support.

On Wednesday the council came under fire from a range of housing associations which get grants from the £15 million kitty, with Festival Housing saying it could lead to a judicial review.

But Coun Hardman said evidence the funding was helping people can be disputed.

He said: "Supporting People was a very badly designed New Labour grant scheme which had very little rationale around how it was distributed around the country.

"We had no 'bench-marking' systems so we could get details on what outcomes it helped deliver and how that compared nationally, nothing at all.

"It actually ceased to exist in 2010 and since then this council has been able to keep it going, but I think it's entirely right that we review it.

"Reforming a prevention system with the financial constraints we face will always take time but we have been open with people all the way along.

"We've always said 'if you have evidence where this spending has worked, tell us about it'.

"What we have had is a lot of interesting case studies, but we're struggling to find hard evidence where it has saved us cash."

His stance is directly opposed by the county's main housing providers and other bodies that get the cash, like Worcester Citizen's Advice Bureau.

Many of the critics say the spending is preventing vulnerable people, including the elderly or disabled, from being "institutionalised" by having to go into care instead.

There are also fears if more people become eligible for statutory care because of it, removing the funding could cost taxpayers more.

Clare Huyton, from Festival Housing, said: "We've got 917 people who get some sort of help from this funding.

"There is a risk of a judicial review."

Comments (13)

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1:13pm Mon 3 Feb 14

pudniw_gib says...

They are all as bad as each other. The housing organisations are a law unto themselves, Festival are desperate to get out of the difficult sheltered housing area, look what they did at Alexander Gardens, it was empty for ages, elderly were turfed out ion a major hurry and council leaders give jobs to their mates,,etc etc.. . Corruption is rife in the public sector, the money that is wasted on overpriced projects and the like is staggering. Its not their money , it is ours. I would like to see some heads on spikes.... please..
They are all as bad as each other. The housing organisations are a law unto themselves, Festival are desperate to get out of the difficult sheltered housing area, look what they did at Alexander Gardens, it was empty for ages, elderly were turfed out ion a major hurry and council leaders give jobs to their mates,,etc etc.. . Corruption is rife in the public sector, the money that is wasted on overpriced projects and the like is staggering. Its not their money , it is ours. I would like to see some heads on spikes.... please.. pudniw_gib
  • Score: 1

4:00pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Paul Oldroyd says...

I can understand the need for cuts: given the reduction in funding from central government something has to give locally. But Cllr Hardman's grasp on both the origin of both the Supporting People funding mechanism and the outcomes achieved by agencies receiving it leave my flabber well and truly gasted. What on Earth does he think the outcomes measures provided by agencies to his staff have been showing over the last decade? If those outcomes have been insufficient, why has his council been funding them?

The need to make cuts is bad enough: having the work of Supporting People agencies trashed by the leader of the council is unforgivable. Politicising the situation is even worse ("Supporting People was a very badly designed New Labour grant scheme"). One might think that there was an agenda here that had nothing to do with the needs of vulnerable people ......
I can understand the need for cuts: given the reduction in funding from central government something has to give locally. But Cllr Hardman's grasp on both the origin of both the Supporting People funding mechanism and the outcomes achieved by agencies receiving it leave my flabber well and truly gasted. What on Earth does he think the outcomes measures provided by agencies to his staff have been showing over the last decade? If those outcomes have been insufficient, why has his council been funding them? The need to make cuts is bad enough: having the work of Supporting People agencies trashed by the leader of the council is unforgivable. Politicising the situation is even worse ("Supporting People was a very badly designed New Labour grant scheme"). One might think that there was an agenda here that had nothing to do with the needs of vulnerable people ...... Paul Oldroyd
  • Score: 10

5:03pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Gusty Levanter says...

May I suggest you read the CapgeminI report (written in 2009) by Tom Ashton and Claire Hempenstall, or perhaps the report commissioned and produced by your own council staff. Both provide strong evidence.

You appeared to be quite happy to spend this money since its inception in 2004 - and you cannot blame that on the Labour Party because you were in power in Worcester. So why then have you wasted public funds for 10 years?
May I suggest you read the CapgeminI report (written in 2009) by Tom Ashton and Claire Hempenstall, or perhaps the report commissioned and produced by your own council staff. Both provide strong evidence. You appeared to be quite happy to spend this money since its inception in 2004 - and you cannot blame that on the Labour Party because you were in power in Worcester. So why then have you wasted public funds for 10 years? Gusty Levanter
  • Score: 11

1:12am Tue 4 Feb 14

Jabbadad says...

Adrian Hardmans comments just demonstrate that he is COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH and just trying to cover the SLASH & BURN tactics being employed by the TORIES.
SHAME ON YOU ADRIAN.
And if there wasn't such a shambolic Political system at Council and Cabinet meetings wherebye anyone wishing to address the Tory Elitists are only given 5 minutes to speak then not allowed to reply to the councillors who can, and do, waffle on for as long as they wish as long as they are able to get the party message out.
Myself and many more could quite easily debate with you and your cronies in public, if the opportunity arose. But you and others hide behind the Archaic system at both City & County Councils. And yes Adrian we do pay your high attendance allowances Yours being over £33,800.per year.
Adrian Hardmans comments just demonstrate that he is COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH and just trying to cover the SLASH & BURN tactics being employed by the TORIES. SHAME ON YOU ADRIAN. And if there wasn't such a shambolic Political system at Council and Cabinet meetings wherebye anyone wishing to address the Tory Elitists are only given 5 minutes to speak then not allowed to reply to the councillors who can, and do, waffle on for as long as they wish as long as they are able to get the party message out. Myself and many more could quite easily debate with you and your cronies in public, if the opportunity arose. But you and others hide behind the Archaic system at both City & County Councils. And yes Adrian we do pay your high attendance allowances Yours being over £33,800.per year. Jabbadad
  • Score: 7

7:50am Tue 4 Feb 14

pudniw_gib says...

Jabbadad wrote:
Adrian Hardmans comments just demonstrate that he is COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH and just trying to cover the SLASH & BURN tactics being employed by the TORIES.
SHAME ON YOU ADRIAN.
And if there wasn't such a shambolic Political system at Council and Cabinet meetings wherebye anyone wishing to address the Tory Elitists are only given 5 minutes to speak then not allowed to reply to the councillors who can, and do, waffle on for as long as they wish as long as they are able to get the party message out.
Myself and many more could quite easily debate with you and your cronies in public, if the opportunity arose. But you and others hide behind the Archaic system at both City & County Councils. And yes Adrian we do pay your high attendance allowances Yours being over £33,800.per year.
I very much agree... We have the same bs in Malvern..... Whether the same unpleasant attitude would come from another party I doubt. The Conservatives are generally a bit scared of debate as they often have things to hide.
[quote][p][bold]Jabbadad[/bold] wrote: Adrian Hardmans comments just demonstrate that he is COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH and just trying to cover the SLASH & BURN tactics being employed by the TORIES. SHAME ON YOU ADRIAN. And if there wasn't such a shambolic Political system at Council and Cabinet meetings wherebye anyone wishing to address the Tory Elitists are only given 5 minutes to speak then not allowed to reply to the councillors who can, and do, waffle on for as long as they wish as long as they are able to get the party message out. Myself and many more could quite easily debate with you and your cronies in public, if the opportunity arose. But you and others hide behind the Archaic system at both City & County Councils. And yes Adrian we do pay your high attendance allowances Yours being over £33,800.per year.[/p][/quote]I very much agree... We have the same bs in Malvern..... Whether the same unpleasant attitude would come from another party I doubt. The Conservatives are generally a bit scared of debate as they often have things to hide. pudniw_gib
  • Score: 2

8:36am Tue 4 Feb 14

green49 says...

HARDMAN RESIGN,, if you do not understand what SP is all about and you say you dont then you are not fit to be in the job, its quite simple go and ask the staff who work in that department and they will be quite happy to show you how it works,what it does etc, etc, you wont need to read an instruction book,
I have been involved in SP for all the years its been going,i do not work for the WCC.

I have watched the webcam meetings, Hardman you are a disgrace of a chairman as you belittle any serious question or comment made against the council, you as chairman are there to see the meeting is in order not make TORY political personnal comments, had i been present at the last one i would have made that quite clear to you, an awful lot of staff shy away from you as they seem intimidated but you just bully your way through, i doesnt work on me. RESIGN
HARDMAN RESIGN,, if you do not understand what SP is all about and you say you dont then you are not fit to be in the job, its quite simple go and ask the staff who work in that department and they will be quite happy to show you how it works,what it does etc, etc, you wont need to read an instruction book, I have been involved in SP for all the years its been going,i do not work for the WCC. I have watched the webcam meetings, Hardman you are a disgrace of a chairman as you belittle any serious question or comment made against the council, you as chairman are there to see the meeting is in order not make TORY political personnal comments, had i been present at the last one i would have made that quite clear to you, an awful lot of staff shy away from you as they seem intimidated but you just bully your way through, i doesnt work on me. RESIGN green49
  • Score: 8

8:44am Tue 4 Feb 14

green49 says...

Hardman i recall Geraghty saying something on the same lines, he was shot down as what he claimed were just pure lies and he was told by someone who is an eminant expert in SP, since then he is very quite, hope he has gone away. pigs night fly first though, This Tory council are devastating all the support systems in this county, they do not know what they are doing and as usual they will tell the taxpayer anything.
VOTE get them out.
Hardman i recall Geraghty saying something on the same lines, he was shot down as what he claimed were just pure lies and he was told by someone who is an eminant expert in SP, since then he is very quite, hope he has gone away. pigs night fly first though, This Tory council are devastating all the support systems in this county, they do not know what they are doing and as usual they will tell the taxpayer anything. VOTE get them out. green49
  • Score: 5

9:31am Tue 4 Feb 14

Jabbadad says...

!! HERE HERE !!
!! HERE HERE !! Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

8:42pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Wakefieldlass says...

I could give Cllr Hardman reams of evidence about the impact Supporting People funding has had on vulnerable people. Another thing that amazes me is that the County Council have asked the very people who will be impacted by the cuts how 'they would spend the money'. Did the County Council not do one of there famous Impact Equality Assessments when they designed the consultation document? Now that would be open to legal challenge, as the assumption they made was that everyone understood local authority workings. Especially as the strap line of Future Lives is to "give service users greater choice over the services they use and greater control over their lives" well it appears to me that the service users and many other residents of Worcestershire have chosen not to make cuts. Perhaps the County Councillors should put it out for consultation whether we believe they should have their £10,000 each year to hand out to the community in an attempt to buy votes. 34 Cllrs = £340,000.00 or perhaps ask the people of Worcestershire if they want a two tier authority, Cllr Hardman says NO, I say economies of scale do we need 6 district councils and a county council? Do we need politicians who in-directly discriminate against its residents by using 18 page consultation documents and methods that harder to reach and vulnerable groups just won't fill in. Before anyone says the council did roadshows etc etc. Of the 88+ events they held only TWO were targeted at young people supported Accommodation. Just a reminder Cllr Hardman and buddies, Serious Case Reviews! when, not if, someone dies as a result of your stance on lack of evidence, I sincerely hope you have adequate evidence to prove it wasn't as a result of cuts to vulnerable people.......
I could give Cllr Hardman reams of evidence about the impact Supporting People funding has had on vulnerable people. Another thing that amazes me is that the County Council have asked the very people who will be impacted by the cuts how 'they would spend the money'. Did the County Council not do one of there famous Impact Equality Assessments when they designed the consultation document? Now that would be open to legal challenge, as the assumption they made was that everyone understood local authority workings. Especially as the strap line of Future Lives is to "give service users greater choice over the services they use and greater control over their lives" well it appears to me that the service users and many other residents of Worcestershire have chosen not to make cuts. Perhaps the County Councillors should put it out for consultation whether we believe they should have their £10,000 each year to hand out to the community in an attempt to buy votes. 34 Cllrs = £340,000.00 or perhaps ask the people of Worcestershire if they want a two tier authority, Cllr Hardman says NO, I say economies of scale do we need 6 district councils and a county council? Do we need politicians who in-directly discriminate against its residents by using 18 page consultation documents and methods that harder to reach and vulnerable groups just won't fill in. Before anyone says the council did roadshows etc etc. Of the 88+ events they held only TWO were targeted at young people supported Accommodation. Just a reminder Cllr Hardman and buddies, Serious Case Reviews! when, not if, someone dies as a result of your stance on lack of evidence, I sincerely hope you have adequate evidence to prove it wasn't as a result of cuts to vulnerable people....... Wakefieldlass
  • Score: 3

9:15pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Empathy66 says...

Mr Hardman,

I feel it's important I respond the the economies of truth set out in this article. The Supporting People (SP) programme consisted of seven housing related funding streams which were spread across central government. These streams were brought together in 2003 to form the SP programme.

The SP programme was ring-fenced to fund housing related support services for vulnerable adults, including homeless people. In 2009 the SP funding stream was ‘unringfenced’ and local authorities were no longer required to spend this funding on housing related support.

In 2011 SP funding became a non-differentiated part of the Formula Grant (central government’s allocation to local authorities) and decisions about where to allocate these funds are now entirely at the discretion of the local authorities.

Firstly and fore-mostly it was NEVER intended to divert funds away from health and social care, so to demand evidence to show that is moving the goalposts , now I know that your party are very good at this ( ask the Badgers!) But it is wholly unfair on the very many vulnerable people who rely on the assistance of these services to say you have no evidence.

This targeted housing related support have kept women who are victims of violent domestic abuse safe from harm, it has helped people with a learning disability develop essential daily living skills to allow them to achieve independent living, it has helped young people who have grown up in dysfunctional families develop the confidence to attend training and education and it has helped elderly people who have for the first time in their lives needed additional support to stay in their own homes.

Whilst you say there is no evidence I dispute this, the SP program was underpinned by a robust Quality Assessment Framework with was designed by a partnership of housing and service professionals, it's aims were clear, they were closely aligned to National Indicators ( a central Government measure) and local housing strategies and corporate plans, many of which your local cabinet would have signed up to.

Furthermore Worcestershire was considered a front runner in developing a specific outcomes framework which was aligned to central Govt's every child matters and had an immense amount of evidence to back up the achievements of the services.There is also a comprehensive record of client record data.

To dismiss all this evidence is frankly insulting to anyone who has been involved in these valuable services, it does a huge discredit to your constituents in Worcestershire who I believe are genuine caring people who would not want to see our less fortunate and most vulnerable residents treated so poorly.

I urge you to at the very least consult with the teams who know these services and look at the information available before you approve these devastating cuts.
Mr Hardman, I feel it's important I respond the the economies of truth set out in this article. The Supporting People (SP) programme consisted of seven housing related funding streams which were spread across central government. These streams were brought together in 2003 to form the SP programme. The SP programme was ring-fenced to fund housing related support services for vulnerable adults, including homeless people. In 2009 the SP funding stream was ‘unringfenced’ and local authorities were no longer required to spend this funding on housing related support. In 2011 SP funding became a non-differentiated part of the Formula Grant (central government’s allocation to local authorities) and decisions about where to allocate these funds are now entirely at the discretion of the local authorities. Firstly and fore-mostly it was NEVER intended to divert funds away from health and social care, so to demand evidence to show that is moving the goalposts , now I know that your party are very good at this ( ask the Badgers!) But it is wholly unfair on the very many vulnerable people who rely on the assistance of these services to say you have no evidence. This targeted housing related support have kept women who are victims of violent domestic abuse safe from harm, it has helped people with a learning disability develop essential daily living skills to allow them to achieve independent living, it has helped young people who have grown up in dysfunctional families develop the confidence to attend training and education and it has helped elderly people who have for the first time in their lives needed additional support to stay in their own homes. Whilst you say there is no evidence I dispute this, the SP program was underpinned by a robust Quality Assessment Framework with was designed by a partnership of housing and service professionals, it's aims were clear, they were closely aligned to National Indicators ( a central Government measure) and local housing strategies and corporate plans, many of which your local cabinet would have signed up to. Furthermore Worcestershire was considered a front runner in developing a specific outcomes framework which was aligned to central Govt's every child matters and had an immense amount of evidence to back up the achievements of the services.There is also a comprehensive record of client record data. To dismiss all this evidence is frankly insulting to anyone who has been involved in these valuable services, it does a huge discredit to your constituents in Worcestershire who I believe are genuine caring people who would not want to see our less fortunate and most vulnerable residents treated so poorly. I urge you to at the very least consult with the teams who know these services and look at the information available before you approve these devastating cuts. Empathy66
  • Score: 9

11:04pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Jabbadad says...

Brilliant Strong posting Well Done.
Hope Hardman or one of his cronies read and understand your words.
Brilliant Strong posting Well Done. Hope Hardman or one of his cronies read and understand your words. Jabbadad
  • Score: 2

11:45pm Tue 4 Feb 14

F1 Dave says...

The leadership at WCC are totally out of touch with most of what they are doing. They put out consultations that are rigged; they ask questions that will deliver the answers they want.
They do not conduct business cases for outsourcing services, so it’s not possible for anyone to know if there will be any savings for the Tax payer. Hardman is a total disgrace, so are his close Tory councillors. You are all letting down the people of Worcestershire.
The leadership at WCC are totally out of touch with most of what they are doing. They put out consultations that are rigged; they ask questions that will deliver the answers they want. They do not conduct business cases for outsourcing services, so it’s not possible for anyone to know if there will be any savings for the Tax payer. Hardman is a total disgrace, so are his close Tory councillors. You are all letting down the people of Worcestershire. F1 Dave
  • Score: 2

8:06am Wed 5 Feb 14

green49 says...

Empathy66 and F1 Dave are 100% right, Hardman in my view is not fit for purpose, if what he says as leader of the WCC about SP he believes, HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING, He is just like all the other TORY louts on this council on the It is all everyone elses fault train, i have seen him virtually preach the Tory line at meetings, he is a servant of the taxpayer not this disgusting evil government that are going to make life if your ill and vunerable even worse misery.
Empathy66 and F1 Dave are 100% right, Hardman in my view is not fit for purpose, if what he says as leader of the WCC about SP he believes, HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING, He is just like all the other TORY louts on this council on the It is all everyone elses fault train, i have seen him virtually preach the Tory line at meetings, he is a servant of the taxpayer not this disgusting evil government that are going to make life if your ill and vunerable even worse misery. green49
  • Score: 3

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