Care Leaver Housing Report
Decision Maker: Corporate Parenting Board
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
To update the Board and young people on
supported accommodation and the new Care Leaver Housing
Sarah Jones, Policy Development Officer, Policy, Information and Commissioning (Start Well), Lancashire County Council provided a brief update on the Supported Accommodations Services – commissioning arrangements and the Joint Housing Protocol including the refreshed 16/17 Homeless Protocol and Roxanne McAllister, Children Social Care Team Manager, Child Protection/Children in Need Family Safeguarding, Lancashire County Council outlined the new Care Leaver Housing Protocol. Further details can be found in the report that was attached to the agenda.
In terms of the Supported Accommodation Services – commissioning arrangements, the Invitation to Tender for services was published in May 2019. A significant number of providers across the private and Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector (VCFS) have been successful at selection criteria stage 1, which will allow them to bid towards mini-competitions for service contracts. COVID-19 implications have delayed the next stage of the procurement process and consequently direct awards have been issued to block-contract providers so that service contracts continue until September 2021, by which time it is anticipated that the new contracts will be in place. Other services will continue to be commissioned via the regional system during that timeframe. A further update once the re-tendering process is nearing completion will be brought to a future Board meeting for its views and considerations.
The Joint Housing Protocol has been in place since 2016 and is generally working well across the County. As part of that, there is an overarching protocol with specialist areas for 16/17 homeless young people and within that protocol there is also information on what to do for emergency presentations, throughput for young people leaving care into supported accommodation and then into independent living. Work has been carried out alongside district housing partners to ensure they are also invested. There has been a lot of legislative changes recently, particularly around the Homeless Reduction Act and also support for care leavers. The new legislation will change how things are being done currently and the refresh to the protocol is also going to introduce a more robust way of preventing homelessness particularly 16/17 year olds, working with the Advocacy Service, Family Group Conferencing Service as well as the Child and Family Wellbeing Service to ensure there is a more even distribution of prevention services across Lancashire and also working alongside Third Sector partners.
Roxanne McAllister provided an update on the Care Leaver Protocol which is currently being drafted and will create some specific housing pathways for Care Leavers. There has been Joint Housing Protocol's in the past with single Districts, however the intention is to have a single protocol across the County. Work has been carried out with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the Rough Sleepers Initiative and there are now two Housing Officers in post who will form part of the protocol. Consultations have been carried out with the Districts and the housing providers to explore issues that are frequently found when accommodating young people. The new protocol will focus on priority banding, access to social housing, discretionary housing payments which had previously been raised by a young person at a recent Board meeting, in terms of employment and what allowances should be made and this will also be included in the protocol. Following completion of this piece of work, it will then be presented to the Districts for them to agree and sign off that their offer is agreed and it will be presented to the Corporate Parenting Board for it to be approved and then rolled out across the County, which should then improve the situation around housing for Lancashire's young people. If there were to be some challenge back from the Districts then this is something that the Corporate Parenting Board could look to step in and speak with Districts at a more senior level. It is the role of the Board to take this initiative forward and share it with contacts in the Districts to help support and deliver the housing protocol.
Following discussion it was agreed:
Resolved: i) That a meeting be held with District Housing representatives in the New Year and that County Councillor Brown meet with Sharon Hubber, Brendan Lee and Sam Gorton to arrange this.
ii) That a table to be drawn up by Roxanne McAllister for all Districts, detailing what they have agreed to offer, which will then highlight those Districts where more pressure is required.
iii) That any issues on the Care Leavers Housing Protocol be alerted to the Board as and when they arise alongside.
iv) A further update once the re-tendering process for the Supported Accommodation Services – Commissioning Arrangements is nearing completion to be brought to a future Board meeting for its views and considerations.
Report author: Sarah Jones
Date of decision: 24/11/2020
Decided at meeting: 24/11/2020 - Corporate Parenting Board