Somerset County Council’s contracts for Support in Sheltered Housing schemes is due to end in October 2018. In April, a consultation will be launched to explore the different ways in which the Council could provide these services in future.
The current service
Currently the County Council partially funds Sheltered Housing Providers to help tenants to manage their day to day requirements. This can include assisting with correspondence; helping to pay bills or manage the household budget. They also help to arrange appointments and help to plan shopping or meals. Some people don’t need this support on a regular basis, but may benefit from a visit to check all is well and to see if any help is needed.
The current contract covers about 3,500 sheltered housing tenants in Somerset. However, a much larger number of people have similar needs, but don’t get any support because they own their own homes or live in other types of housing. As funding from the Government is being reduced, the County Council are working to find new ways to provide these services and to make sure they are fair, affordable and available to all eligible people living in Somerset.
Involving and consulting others
The County Council has already started to change the way in which it can help people through “Community Connect”. This has introduced a new way of working, which is being adopted by community, health and social care organisations in Somerset to improve wellbeing, whilst allowing people to continue to live independent lives. This is done by having conversations to understand what people want to achieve to live a good life in their local community, and residents are then given help and guidance in order to achieve this.
The County Council is now in the process of working with housing providers and stakeholders to develop potential ideas for the future model. They will also seek views from both service users and non-service users on what options they would prefer, and will invite suggestions for alternative models. This will then be followed with a consultation in April, asking respondents for their preferred option. The consultation will include a number of drop-in events and workshops, as well survey packs and an online surveys.
Involvement and consultation is a necessary and valuable part of changing, modernising and reviewing how these services are delivered, and no decisions have been made. The consultation will provide the opportunity for service users and partners to feedback on the proposals, and no decisions will be made until the results of the consultation are fully analysed.
The consultation exercise is being undertaken in order to provide existing and potential users of the service, and other stakeholders, the opportunity to have a meaningful input into the development of future commissioning intentions.
For future updates and details on how you can have your say, please contact the Support in Sheltered Housing Project Team. Email shelteredhousingservice@Somerset.gov.uk or 01823 359161.