Sitra has long been at the forefront of raising the profile of housing related support services, and following a consultation last year, is now beginning some new work that will make it easier for councils to measure the impact of these services.
In October 2011, the LGiU launched a report entitled ‘Promoting Independence’ in partnership with Circle Housing. It focused on the future of housing related support following the removal of the ring-fence on funding for the Supporting People programme, and of the requirement to collect outcomes data.
The report was covered by BBC News.
In a survey of nearly 200 councils, only half of respondents reported that they were definitely to continue collecting data from this type of service. This was a big area of concern as the data is important in demonstrating the value of the work, and in promoting good outcome-based commissioning. One of our report’s key recommendations was therefore that councils should continue to collect information where possible.
At the time, Sitra was running a consultation on data collection in this area, and they have now released this statement:
‘If your staff commission or manage contracts for services you will know that the efficient collection of information on needs and performance is essential to your work. Those involved with housing related support services have developed systems for recording and reporting performance which are already well-embedded in many areas. The local authority staff teams who have been monitoring housing related support are often a step ahead of their colleagues in adult social care or community services
Sitra’s consultation on data collection for housing related support services carried out last year showed there was strong support from commissioners, providers and service users for streamlined, nationally consistent information on service provision. They were keen to build on the learning from past housing related support service monitoring while benefitting from continuity with historic data.
Sitra has been working with sector reference groups to refine and improve the common data framework and establish the basis for an annual national call for data. Software suppliers have been engaged in the consultation to help ensure that improvements fit with current systems. Sitra is also working with the Centre for Housing Research at St Andrews whose client records and outcomes data collection will continue to feed in to many local systems.
Now is the time to make use of this resource as you plan your data collection for 2012-13. Make it easy on yourself and your service providers by taking advantage of the work being done nationally to identify core data items, strip out duplication and clarify definitions. It will save you staff time, enable your service providers to collect data more efficiently and support your price and performance benchmarking. Engagement with this robust data source will also support your authority’s approach to Open Data and responses to Freedom of Information requests.
We would encourage councils to speak to Sitra if they are considering their data collection needs for housing related support services. For more information on the data collection framework and guidance see Sitra’s website here: http://www.sitra.org/spdataconsultation10/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org