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Joining up the commissioning of accommodation and support for young people aged 16 - 25. Version 2 December 2010. Welcome. This resource is designed to help local authorities and their partners to take forward a joint commissioning approach to accommodation and support for young

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joining up the commissioning of accommodation and support for young people aged 16 25
Joining up the commissioning of accommodation and support for young people aged 16 - 25

Version 2 December 2010

welcome
Welcome

This resource is designed to help local

authorities and their partners to take forward a

joint commissioning approach to

accommodation and support for young

people in their area, and to provide ideas and

information to support the process.

It will be of particular interest to commissioners

and strategic managers with responsibility for:

Looked after and leaving care services

Supporting People or housing related support

Strategichousing, social landlord and homelessness/housing options services

Youth offending, health and other services working with vulnerable young people

Tackling child poverty

an example to begin oxfordshire young peoples pathway
An example to begin:Oxfordshire young peoples’ pathway
  • Partnership approach to developing housing and support services forvulnerable young people aged 16-24, including looked after children aged 16-18 who need new placements(including unaccompanied asylum seeking children),and young people leaving care.
  • Funding from the Children Young People and Families Department, Supporting People and the 5 local housing authorities.
  • Joint commissioning process to enable the development of a clear pathway of housing and support services, aiming to:
    • Prevent young people becoming homeless
    • Ensure high standards of accommodation and support
    • Provide a range of accommodation options to meet diverse needs
    • Improve value for money
  • Process overseen by the Children’s Trust and underpinned by a joint commissioning strategy and a partnership agreement.

20% saving whilst meeting young peoples’ needs better

For a full case study see www.commissioningsupport.org.uk and search for ‘Oxfordshire’

why change
Why change?

Common problems reported by local

authorities, young people and partners:

  • ‘Compressed’ transitions for young people leaving care – 18th birthdays…
  • Minimal choice and control for young people – personalisation??
  • Placement/tenancy breakdowns, weak contingencies, burned bridges
  • Duplication and gaps, with common

pressure points often not addressed, e.g.

emergencies, high risk, move-on

  • … And the need for savings.

16 & 17

year old

LAC

Young

people

at risk

Care

leavers

common needs
Common needs

We know from practice and research that young people do best with:

  • Practical and emotional preparation for independence
  • Gradual, supported transitions with choice, control and flexibility about where they live, how they are supported and how quickly things change
  • Follow up support as needed

16 & 17

year old

LAC

Young

people

at risk

Care

leavers

what can be gained from joining up more
What can be gained from joining up more?

Efficiencies coupled with better experiences and outcomes for young people by bridging the gap between children’s services and (adult) housing and housing support services

Better links with wraparound services by designing them into the system

Pooled commissioning and procurement expertise including approaches to quality and standards

Advantages of increased scale, for example reducing procurement costs, aligning services, increasing influence on markets.

a strategic approach to commissioning
A strategic approach to commissioning

Commissioning is ‘the process for deciding how to use the total

Resource available … in order to improve outcomes in the most

efficient, effective, equitable and sustainable way’.

Partners will need to agree a commissioning strategy focused on

delivering agreed outcomes for young

people

contributing tolocal strategic objectives

enabling partners to meet their statutory

duties

within known and/or anticipated

resource constraints

who needs to be involved
Who needs to be involved?

If you decide to adopt a joint commissioning approach to young people’s accommodation

and support needs, all partners will be signing up to considerable change.

Children’s services, Housing, Supporting People and potentially Youth Offending

Services, PCTs and other services working with young people; providers in the voluntary

and private sectors; social landlords and young people and their families will be involved

and affected.

Its critical that the right people are involved from the outset, so that any decision to go

ahead has been informed by young people, families and other key stakeholders and has

the support and understanding of those who will make its implementation possible.

Top level backing and explicit links to key local strategies and plans will be

needed to get the process moving and help unblock any barriers to change

further down the line.

prevention and supporting families
Prevention and supporting families
  • The effectiveness of your family support and intervention services will significantly affect the numbers of young people coming into, and remaining in, the system and thereforethe capacity you will need in your accommodation and support pathways.
  • Most young people seeking help because of homelessness do so because of problems at home. How local services respond to young people and their families can have a dramatic effect on the proportion who are able to remain at or return home, or live with other family members or responsible adults in their network. (See slide 28)
  • There is no national data but anecdotally, different local authorities have reported between 30% and 85%of 16 and 17 year olds seeking help because of homelessness or threatened homelessnessreturning to live with family members.
  • Universal and targeted services for children, young people and families have a roles in preventing young people from having to live away from home before they are ready – much can be done before families reach a crisis point that leads a child or young person to seek help because they feel, or have been told, they can not longer live at home.
  • Consider applying an invest to save approach within your commissioning strategy.
slide19

Section 3Identifying public sector expenditure on young peoples’ accommodation and support in your area… and what it is paying for

as well as looking at the money remember to consider
As well as looking at the money, remember to consider:
  • Buildings
  • Workforce and expertise
  • Providers
  • Co-production – the role of young people and families
slide21
You will need to understand what is currently being spent and which bits should be considered for the joint commissioning pot. Options include:

Children’s Services

Placement and leaving care budgets– protect stability for young people in settled placements, but consider money you would expect to spend on first or new looked after and leaving care placements for young people aged 16 plus.

‘Section 17 budgets’ – e.g. is money being used to pay for emergency accommodation (e.g. B&B) for 16 and 17 year olds who were not looked after? If so can you put it in the pot and develop suitable alternative provision in partnership?

continued
…continued

Housing and housing related support

Supporting people revenue funding – in 2008/09 there were almost 20,000 admissions of 16 and 17 year olds into SP funded accommodation in England. [NB in some areas some of these young people will have been looked after children and care leavers aged 16 and 17, often funded through internal charging of children’s services by SP]

Temporary accommodation secured by housing authorities / departments under the homelessness legislation. [Note that, depending on the type of accommodation used, significant proportions of this is recouped from DWP under HB subsidy rules so LA expenditure should be fairly low]

Tenancy sustainment services provided by some housing authorities and social landlords, funded in a range of ways.

Rent and service charges– will form a significant element of the revenue flow for accommodation and support services. Housing Benefitis likely to be covering most of this, with young people making a contribution from their personal income for services which aren’t eligible for HB and, if they are earning enough, the rent.

The local (children’s services) authority will need to fund any rent and service charges for looked after children and care leavers aged 16 and 17 (eligible and relevant children).The whole revenue package (rent, service charges and support costs) will therefore need to be considered during planning and procurement –beware comparing support costs alone with all-inclusive placement costs for eligible and relevant children.

continued23
…continued

In addition, other departments and agencies working with young people sometimes fund accommodation or support e.g.:

Some YOTs retain a budget to make sure they can access short term accommodation, for example to prevent young people from being remanded into custody for want of an address, and / or contribute funding to supported accommodation services.

PCTs fund residential placements for young people with mental health problems. There are examples of PCTs contributing to high support accommodation services to obtain local, high quality and good value options for some of their clients.

It may also make sense for others such as learning disability, drug and alcohol services to contribute in kind or cash to the cost of support in (generally high support) accommodation given the potential impact on the outcomes they achieve with young people and corresponding savings.

mapping the money and the provision
Mapping the money and the provision

In order to guide the process of analysing the various flows of funding and the

provision they buy, you may find it helpful to first identify some key questions

to help you determine how well current services are offering value for money.

For example, to what extent does each service:

Contribute to relevant strategic priorities?

Enable the LA(s) to fulfil statutory functions? (including consideration of the duty to provide sufficient accommodation for looked after children in your area due to come into force in April 2011)

Meet identified housing, care and support needs of young people in the area, targeting those who need them most?

Deliver high quality services which demonstrate positive outcomes with young people?

Offer sufficient flexibility to be able to be tailored to meet the needs of individual young people - personalisation?

Satisfy service users and stakeholders?

Offer competitive prices?

the following information about each service may be helpful in making your analysis
The following information about each service may be helpful in making your analysis:

Procurement method, e.g. spot purchase, framework agreement, block contract

Annual expenditure (for some funding sources analysis may be required to separate out accommodation expenditure, for example if Children’s services ‘section 17’ budgets have been used to provide emergency accommodation, or the YOT occasionally funds emergency B&B accommodation).

Any planned or anticipated reductions in funding likely to affect the provision.

The nature, quantity and type of provision purchased and a broad assessment of its suitability (e.g. Independent Fostering Agency, private placement in PRS with support, floating support, supported lodgings, young people’s supported accommodation, Foyer, emergency/assessment accommodation, B&B, all ages hostels/supported accommodation).

The unit cost of each ‘placement’ (using the same units for each type of provision, perhaps ‘per person per week’ and/or per hour of support).

Which young people are ‘eligible’ to access the provision including its use to discharge statutory functions under Children’s and Homelessness legislation.

How young people access the provision (in what circumstances, referral routes, speed/flexibility of access).

Geographical locations and degree of flexibility in this.

The levels of support available to young people in each type of provision (perhaps categorised as high, medium, low). Tip – agree shared definitions for support levels (quantative, e.g. hourly rates and qualitative) as perceptions may differ between commissioning partners and between commissioners and providers.

Outcomes achieved with young people – for example from Supporting People outcomes monitoring and children's services management information where available, plus softer information from stakeholders.

The balance between need/demand and supply

involving young people family members and front line workers from key stakeholder services 1
Involving young people, family members and front line workers from key stakeholder services [1]

Working with a range of agencies and services, collect examples of ‘customer journeys’ from a cross section of young people who have used housing and support services and experience a range of circumstances – for example young people who are:

Looked after, care leavers, and neither

Unaccompanied asylum seeking young people

Aged under and over 18

A mix of genders

Young parents

With and without partners

In urban and rural areas as appropriate to your locality

In learning, work and neither

Involved in the youth justice system including having been released from custody in need of housing and support

Needing a range of levels and types of support including re mental health, learning disabilities, use of alcohol and drugs.

From BME groups, different cultural and religious backgrounds, and LGBT

Recovering from trauma such as experience of domestic violence

This information should be gathered directly from young people rather than, for example, as case studies provided by agencies who work with them.

involving young people family members and front line workers from key stakeholder services 2
Involving young people, family members and front line workers from key stakeholder services [2]

Analyse these with young people, family members and workers to identify critical points - problems and strengths - in the system (or series of parallel and overlapping systems), for example:

Access to and timing of quality advice on accommodation and support options and help to prevent homelessness

Access routes and eligibility criteria for services - which options are open to which groups of young people? What factors determine these and do they correspond with needs?

Drivers for planned moves – led by young peoples’ needs or pressures on particular budgets?

Triggers for unplanned moves – placement and tenancy breakdowns and evictions

Consequences for young people of unplanned moves – e.g. exclusions from other services

Securing settled, independent accommodation – are young people ready to manage independently and how well do they cope? Are their move-on options maximised?

Analyse the relative costs and outcomes associated with the different accommodation and support pathways accessible to different groups, including when things go wrong. Where is the best value in current arrangements?

section 5 analysing needs and gaps and agreeing priorities

Section 5Analysing needs and gaps and agreeing priorities

Use the qualitative insights developed during the journey mapping to underpin your needs analysis and help quantify needs and gaps, and test your analysis with young people and stakeholders.

needs data 1
Needs data [1]

Available data will depend on your local monitoring systems. Find

out what you can about (not an exhaustive list):

The looked after population and projected numbers of young people expected to leave care over the period of your strategy, including any peaks and troughs.

Numbers of young people coming into the system aged 16 and 17, including in particular homeless 16 and 17 year olds and unaccompanied asylum seeking young people. Depending on how things work in your area the ‘gateways’ for 16 and 17 year olds into publicly funded accommodation could include:

The housing options service(s)

Children’s services

Supported accommodation services (through self referral or direct referral by other agencies working with young people) Note that extensive Supporting People data is likely to be available.

A purpose designed gateway, e.g. a multi-agency panel

needs data 2
Needs data [2]

Housing and support needs linked to particular circumstances, for example young people in education, young people in work, YOT clients (including on release from custody), young parents and/or young couples, young people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, substance misuse

Numbers of young people aged 18 plus (18-21 or 25 for example) with support needs seeking help with housing.

Numbers, characteristics and referral routes of young people entering supporting people services.

Numbers, circumstances and placing agencies of young people entering B&B or other unsuitable accommodation, and data on length of stay.

Evictions and placement breakdowns with reasons – what do they say about unmet needs?

Move-on issues; is part of any shortage in supply to do with barriers to young people moving on when they are ready for more independence?

needs data 3 homelessness prevention
Needs data [3] – homelessness prevention

Make sure you know how this is working in your area. How many young people seeking help because of homelessness are supported to remain in the family home or their wider family network rather than entering services? Does this vary with different access routes into services? If so, what makes the difference, and what scope is there for improvement?

Some factors to consider:

Embedding a creative and tenacious family focus at all first points of contact,

Making sure prevention work always takes place alongside assessment

Opening up family support and family group conferencing services to this client group.

Continuing work to reconcile families beyond decisions to accommodate

Investing to make reconciliations sustainable

Prevention, not gate keeping; systems need to be in place to ensure the interests of children are safeguarded in the face of resource constraints.

agreeing priorities
Agreeing priorities

By this stage you will have a clear picture of:

The nature and cost of services currently provided

The resources potentially available to invest / re-align into a more integrated approach

The quality of young peoples’ experience of these service offers, and strengths and weaknesses of individual services and the ‘system(s)’ overall

The needs of young people

Given the likely tension between needs and available resources, partners will need to agree whether there are particular groups of young people who’s needs will be given greater priority within your new service offer. Any such priorities should be clearly set out in your commissioning strategy.

Mechanisms will need to be put in place to ensure these priorities are followed through in the establishment and management of your pathways (see section 6)

a pathway approach
A pathway approach

The aim of an accommodation pathway is to enable young people to move through services in a structured way. It should enable them to move from more intensively supported accommodation to more independent accommodation as they develop life skills and confidence - and as they make life choices that affect their accommodation and support needs and preferences.

Effective pathways commonly include four basic components:

Assessment services – short stay with emergency access so that B&B is not used. Not all young people need to use assessment services, for example young people leaving care in a planned way.

Progression services  (where young people can develop the skills they need to live independently, including support with education, training and employment )

Specialist services (which can cater for young people with high support needs and challenging behaviour)

Move on options with resettlement and floating support services (these can be in the private rented sector or social housing and may include flat shares).

a pathway approach cont
A pathway approach (cont.)

There are a wide range of options for providing each component, and choice and flexibility can be built in at each stage.

All services should able to be tailored to the needs of individual young people, and work together to meet needs and increase flexibility.

Whilst the overall direction of travel for young people will be towards increasing independence, it is important that individual young people can move to obtain more intensive or different support if they need it.

Including on some flexible resource able to deliver intensive help where a placement anywhere in the pathway is at risk can be very cost effective, reducing the need for permanently ‘high support/tolerance’ services/placements and preventing placement breakdowns.

Managed pro-actively, pathways can dramatically reduce both the incidence and impact of placement/tenancy breakdowns.

design options
Design options

Here are some variables to consider in consultation with young people, their families,

providers and other key stakeholders in establishing a range of provision to meet the

needs you have identified at each stage in the pathway:

Support levels – including high support for the most vulnerable and challenging (incorporating wrap-around support from specialist agencies where needed)

Length of stay and degree of flexibility

Shared with other young people – Foyers and supported accommodation schemes

Size of accommodation based services such as Foyers and supported accommodation

Shared with a household – fostering, supported lodgings, Nightstop

Self contained – private renting and social renting, floating or attached support

Locationsand proximity to key services and support networks

Affordability and incentives for employment

Facilities and support for study

Diversity – for example are there any groups of young people requiring access to dedicated services because of, for example, factors linked to culture, gender or sexuality?

assessment emergency accommodation
Assessment / emergency accommodation

As a minimum it should be suitable and prevent the use of B&B and other unsuitable

accommodation. But it should also be a key prevention tool,not simply a holding

position between placement breakdowns or a gateway to living away from home.

In practice: Time Out Lambeth - for 16 and 17 year olds at risk of

homelessness

Young people referred by Family Services

if initial prevention work not successful

8-12 week stay

Specialist mediation staff

61% of young people returned home during

the 1st year of operation

shaping and developing the market
Shaping and developing the market
  • Commissioners will need effective relationships with all providers (including private, voluntary and public sector providers) to ensure markets can be incentivised to provide the required services.
  • Assess the markets of providers for placements, accommodation and support, including looking at the different business models used by both internal and external providers, and the ways in which they can respond to address identified needs.
  • Consider both the support and accommodation elements in supported accommodation models. For example:
    • For building based services such as supported accommodation and foyers, it will be necessary to ensure that appropriate accommodation is available for young people using the service and will make sense to ensure that suitable buildings in the area are best used in order to secure best use of capital assets.
    • Where ‘floating support’ or outreach is to be provided, mechanisms will be needed to ensure access to suitable accommodation in the private or social rented sector, for example through contractual requirements on the providers to secure accommodation in the private rented sector, or collaboration with social landlords.
    • The role of ‘community hosting’ models such as supported lodgings and Nightstop
  • Local authorities and their partners may be involved in or want to use national, regional and sub-regional commissioning arrangements to manage markets where this will help secure particular types of placement.
  • Where the commissioning exercise is expected to result in a dramatic change in the shape of services and/or in providers, the transition will need to be carefully planned to protect outcomes for young people already accommodated.
procurement methods
Procurement methods
  • Whilst mapping the money and provision (section 3) you probably found a range of procurement methods and variable procurement practice between partners.
  • Bear in mind that Spot purchasing has been found to be inefficient and reduces commissioners’ ability to manage the market, (para 4.16, Sufficiency: Statutory guidance on securing sufficient accommodation for looked after Children, DCSF 2010) although it may be appropriate in some individual circumstances, for example where a young person has very specific support needs.
  • Partners will need to agree what approaches they plan to use, and could choose to vary these between the types of placement/accommodation sought – for example, framework agreements may be most appropriate for procuring some types of placement, for example foster care, whilst block contracts may make more sense for others, for example building based provision such as supported housing and foyers.
managing a pathway
Managing a pathway

See the pathway as a whole system rather than a collection of individual services.

Put in place streamlined multi-agency arrangements to manage and monitor:

Entry, move through and exit from the pathway, linked to assessment and pathway/support planning to ensure the best fit between each young person’s needs and the services they access – don't let it turn into a sausage machine!

Pro-active action to prevent placement breakdowns, addressing challenging behaviour and/or lack of engagement of young people by moves within the pathway rather than eviction from services.

Move-on options and support to prevent silting up of services

Outcomes for young people against agreed objectives for both individual services and the pathway as a whole.

managing a pathway cont
Managing a pathway (cont.)

One option is the establishment of a multi-agency placement panel, reported to be effective by a number of LAs. Panels demand significant officer time (often weekly or fortnightly meetings) but the time is deployed in a planned way to provide a preventative and pro-active service. This can save considerable unplanned (und generally unmeasured) time and service disruption spent in response to crises across a wide range of services.

Services will need the flexibility to make emergency accommodation placements between meetings, reporting retrospectively to the panel.

Another option is the establishment of a post or team responsible for co-ordinating placements and moves within the pathways, reporting to a multi-agency group made up of commissioners and any other key stakeholders. They could have recourse to multi-agency meetings for young people with more complex needs.

It may make sense to retain a specific placement function from some young people / types of provision - for example a children’s services placement team responsible for placing looked after young people in regulated provision where this is the required option, as they will know and manage the market for all looked after children and young people. This team could work closely with a wider placement panel or team responsible for placements in unregulated supported provision, both:

referring looked after children and care leavers into the pathway

responding if a looked after young person is struggling to cope in supported accommodation and some form of regulated placement is identified as the most appropriate alternative.

guidance and resources 1
Guidance and resources [1]

Statutory Guidance; Care Planning, Placement and Review, Transition to Adulthood and

Sufficiency:

http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/families/a0065502/care-planning-regulations-and-guidance

Oxfordshire and Camden case studies: www.commissioningsupport.org.uk/ (search for

‘Oxfordshire’ and ‘Camden’)

Guidance to local areas in England on pooling and aligning budgets (CLG 2010)

www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/poolingaligningbudgets

Total Place: a whole area approach to public services (HM Treasury and CLG, 2010)

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/total_place_report.pdf

Better Outcomes for Children’s Services though Joint Funding (DCSF 2007)

www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/strategy/managersandleaders/planningandcommission

ng/jointfunding/jointfund/

Good Practice Guidance on joint working between housing and children’s services:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/goodpracticeguide

guidance and resources 2
Guidance and resources [2]

National Youth Reference Group: http://www.nationalyouthreferencegroup.co.uk/

National Youth Homelessness Scheme:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/youthhomelessness/

Supporting People Quality Assurance Framework: www.sitra.org.uk/index.php?id=1019

Foyer Accreditation: http://www.foyer.net/level3.asp?level3id=184

Depaul Nightstop UK (Nightstop umbrella organisation) http://www.depaulnightstopuk.org/

Statutory Homelessness in England: The Experience of Families and 16 and 17 year olds

(see chapter 12)

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/experienceoffamilies

NCAS accommodation resources:

http://www.leavingcare.org.uk/professionals/projects/accommodation/accomresources

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Subsidy Circular HB/CTB S7/2009, Department

for Work and Pensions (re Housing Benefit subsidy affecting the costs to housing

authorities of providing temporary accommodation under the homelessness legislation):

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/s7-2009.pdf

guidance and resources 3
Guidance and resources [3]

See www.commissioningsupport.org.ukfor further information and resources,

Including the following:

Achieving Better Outcomes: Commissioning in children’s services (2009)

This document introduces the essential characteristics of good commissioning in

children’s services, in 18 modules.

A-Z of Commissioning (2010)

18 modules of training to support service managers, providers and commissioners to

better understand commissioning, redesign services, manage the markets and achieve

efficiency savings; available from: http://www.commissioningsupport.org.uk/events--training/csp-events--training/development-programme.aspx

Outcomes and Efficiency: Commissioning for Looked After Children (2010)

This guidance was developed in conjunction with commissioners and providers. It is

aimed at lead members, directors of children’s services and senior commissioners and

sets out a number of practical solutions which may be useful in optimising the

commissioning of services for looked after children.

for further information about using this resource contact
For further information about using this resource contact

Val Keen, Specialist Adviser, Youth Homelessness, Communities and Local Government

[email protected]

07929207623

Katy Burch, Commissioning Support Programme

[email protected]

01225 484088

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