‘Cuts’ to in funding services to the most vulnerable proposed by West Sussex County Council

£5.1million spent contracts in West Sussex, which will be lost in the proposed cuts, saves £38.3 million in avoided costs across West Sussex in a single year. 4 of Life's supported houses will be affected. (Every West Sussex £1 spent saves £7.50 avoided costs elsewhere)

See below the video that was produced by the West Sussex Coalition of Providers which sets out the Service User response to the proposed Cuts. This was shown at the HASC select committee on the 12th December 2018 along with our witness statement. The video includes clients from Life as these cuts affect four of our supported Life houses in West Sussex, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Littlehampton & Worthing.

Key messages from the West Sussex Coalition of Providers:

  1. £5.1million spend the avoided costs it saves to Adult and children social Care, primary and acute health trust, police and District and Borough Councils is equal to a total of £38.3 Million.
  2. Protect and extend contracts by at least 12 months to prevent lives and jobs being lost.
  3. Build a strong cross agency partnership which can undertake and fund the remodelling of services for the longer term
  4. Continue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and protect communities in West Sussex
  5. No cliff edge in a years’ time which puts once again at risk the lives of the most vulnerable.
  6. The key questions is which West Sussex County Council and its partners need to address is not whether West Sussex can afford to fund these services but, conversely, whether West Sussex can afford to be without them.

Background:

In August 2018 West Sussex County Council proposed a 100% cut in funding for all housing related support services they held contracts for and 75% cuts to the Local Assistance Network (LAN).  These contracts were held by 18 providers across West Sussex and equate to a budget spend of £6.3 million.  These services provided an essential safety net for the most vulnerable people within the communities of West Sussex. Housing Related Supports prevents and provides relief to those who are:

  • at risk of becoming homeless
  • Homeless
  • Rough Sleeping

It empowers and enables those who are:

  • suffering from mental ill health
  • who have substance misuse issues
  • offenders
  • escaping from Domestic Abuse
  • Young People
  • Older People

Housing Related Support gets people back on track and enables them to address the barriers and issues in their lives which are either the cause or symptom of their vulnerability and severe housing need.

The LAN provides a financial safety net for Families, those at risk of homelessness and all in significant poverty across West Sussex communities.

The providers of these services came together in August 2018 to provide a united response to these proposals and formed the West Sussex Coalition of Providers. Hilary Bartle (CEO- Stonepillow) chairs this Coalition and John Holmstrom (CEO- Turning Tides) provides the secretariat role.

The Coalition has been working hard to try and reduce the impact on these vulnerable service users by campaigning for recognition of the services and how the spend on these services saves lives and saves tax payers across West Sussex money on other high cost intervention services across the Health, Housing, Criminal Justice and Children’s and Adult Social Care Services.

There was recognition by West Sussex County Council that contracts needed extended for 6 months and that full consultation should take place and a new forward plan was reissued in September 2018.  However, the Coalition and the other statutory agencies of Primary and Acute Health Services, Police, Probation Service, District and Borough Councils do not believe this has gone far enough.  WSCC also proposed that rather than Cutting the budget by 100% they would make a cut of 64%.  This would leave a budget of £2.3million to meet WSCC statutory duties.  Whilst recognising the financial pressures on WSCC this budget would not meet the ever-increasing demand for services which we are seeing across West Sussex.

Homelessness nationally has grown exponentially and within the South East it has grown since 2010 by 261%

Families within poverty is growing and within the South East there is significant disparity between the rich and the poor. Therefore, the need for the Local Assistance Network has never been so great.

Across West Sussex between April 2017 and April 2018 nearly 8,500 people were recipients of Housing Related Support Services Local Assistant Network services and funds.

 

Proposals by the County Council and response from the West Sussex Coalition of Providers

Following a swell in public concern regarding the proposed cuts to these invaluable services alongside the feedback from 700 people to the consultation process run by WSCC which showed the 97% were critical of the proposals.  The Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee called the proposals for ‘cuts’ to the services to be scrutinised.  The recommendations put forward by WSCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care were as follows:

  1. That the County Council allocates a core budget of £4.6 million in 2019/20 reducing to £2.3 million in 2020/21 for the investment of Housing Related Support, the investment to be used to meet the Councils statutory duties and address the risk that reducing the targeted prevention will lead to increased demands in other areas.

Response from the West Sussex Coalition of Providers: 

This is a 64% Cut in funding to services in 2020. This means that services will cease, people will end up on the streets, the safety of the public in West Sussex will be at risk and lives will be lost.

  1. All current Housing Related Support Service Contracts be terminated by 30th September 2019 and new contractual arrangements will be developed to commence on the 1st October 2019.

Response from the West Sussex Coalition of Providers: 

Based on an 80% review of services with contract values of £5.1million the Coalition of West Sussex Providers have produced a report analysis report setting out Avoided Costs [3].  This report demonstrates that for the £5.1million spend the avoided costs it saves to Adult and children social Care, primary and acute health trust, police and District and Borough Councils is equal to a total of £38.3 Million. This equates to every West Sussex £1 spent it saves £7.50 avoided costs elsewhere. These are tax payer savings! No money means no appropriate services to meet the needs.

 

  1. The County Council works closely with strategic partners, providers and stakeholders to remodel the service offer in line with the statutory responsibilities, revised priorities and the financial envelop.

Response from the West Sussex Coalition of Providers: 

The timescale which has been set (which the County Council accept as challenging) does not provide enough time to undertake the task at hand. In the case of the LAN it gives only 1 month to remodel, recommission and let contracts. This provides a cliff edge for the financially most vulnerable in West Sussex. We support the need to extend contracts for 12 months to allow for West Sussex County Council,  the Coalition of Providers, the Districts and Borough Councils, Acute and Primary Health trusts, Police and Probation Services to work together in order to properly and robustly  remodel, investigate funding options and appropriately commission a new set of services which are sustainable and continue to meet the needs of the most Vulnerable People living in West Sussex .

The recommendations from the HASC select Committee will shortly be available on WSCC website. 

To summarise the feelings of the HASC group as we see it. They felt that there should be a 12 month moratorium on existing contracts to give time for all the partners to actively work together including providers, police, probation, the District and Borough Councils and Health Services to be able to effectively remodel, financially support and commission a new set of services to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable in West Sussex in 2020.  This moratorium would also include the LAN.

The questions remain:

  1. Will Amanda Jupp Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care take the decision at the Cabinet Meeting on the 18th December to recommend the extension for 12 months.
  2. Will she can drive forward a partnership to remodel, fund and commission a set of services within the time frame. This is essential to meeting the needs and ensuring that these invaluable services are not lost and continue to meet growing demand across West Sussex communities.

Key messages from the West Sussex Coalition of Providers:

  1. £5.1million spend the avoided costs it saves to Adult and children social Care, primary and acute health trust, police and District and Borough Councils is equal to a total of £38.3 Million.
  2. Protect and extend contracts by at least 12 months to prevent lives and jobs being lost.
  3. Build a strong cross agency partnership which can undertake and fund the remodelling of services for the longer term
  4. Continue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and protect communities in West Sussex
  5. No cliff edge in a years’ time which puts once again at risk the lives of the most vulnerable.
  6. The key questions is which West Sussex County Council and its partners need to address is not whether West Sussex can afford to fund these services but, conversely, whether West Sussex can afford to be without them.

 

Please find attached a link for the video which was produced by the West Sussex Coalition of Providers which sets out the User Service response to the proposed Cuts. This was shown at the HASC select committee on the 12th December 2018.  Along with our witness statement.


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