Cabinet asked to approve borough-wide consultation on proposals to recommission housing-related and homelessness services
23 November 2016Proposals to recommission the four housing-related and homelessness contracts the Council holds will come before Cabinet for approval next week (Wednesday, 30 November), with a recommendation that if approved, consultation with the borough’s residents should begin immediately.
Cheshire West and Chester Council currently commissions four housing-related and homelessness services across the borough, run by different providers:
Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Angela Claydon said: “Having a stable and affordable home is fundamental to someone’s quality of life. Whilst this is something that many of us take for granted, there are still too many individuals and families, who, for a variety of reasons, experience housing difficulties.
“We work closely with our partners to provide a range of services to support those who find themselves homeless or who need housing-related support but whilst excellent work is being done, homelessness is increasing.
“With more residents being placed in temporary accommodation we have an opportunity to review our approach and see how, with a clear focus on prevention, we can link vital services together in a more effective way to support those most vulnerable. We want local residents to share their views as part of this process and, if Cabinet approves the move next week, we will initiate a comprehensive 12-week consultation almost immediately.”
This would support seamless provision for service users, joining up accommodation and support - including daytime activities - to prevent and alleviate homelessness and create more stable and sustainable lifestyles, whilst reducing confusion in regards to which provider offers what support.
The proposed new single service would include:
Councillor Claydon added: “The current range of housing-related support services provided across the borough costs the Council £2.6 million every year. We are under huge financial pressure to make savings and we believe that they can be made if we move from four separate contracts to one, but not at the expense of service users.
“For that reason we also want to invest in new daytime activities and increase the provision of Direct Access emergency accommodation, which will come at an additional cost and as such we have reduced the proposed saving from £500,000 to £250,000.
“We will look to engage and work closely with residents every step of the way, starting with the consultation. I would really like to hear from as many residents as possible on all aspects of the new service model and I would urge people to have their say.”
If approved by Cabinet next week the recommendations will then be considered by People Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Monday, 5 December. If no concerns are raised the next stage of beginning to consult with residents from December 15 will be delegated to Councillor Claydon.