The consultation is seeking people’s views to help ensure the appropriate services are provided to those in need at best value. An online questionnaire can be found on the council’s iwight.com website as part of the consultation and all service users have also been written to.
The services, which are discretionary, include outreach and accommodation support (including at hostels) for vulnerable Island residents, which since 2003 have been provided by suppliers outside the council. This includes accommodation provided via various housing associations and private providers at sites around the Island – and also support for services offering help with legal advice, alcohol and drugs issues, older people, mental health, domestic abuse and in many other areas.
Housing-related support services are known under the title ‘Supporting People’, which is a national initiative introduced by the government in 2003 to provide lower-level preventative-type support aimed at helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
Currently about 1,200 Island residents benefit from such services.
The consultation is seeking the views of all service users, providers and stakeholders to enable a decision to be taken by April 2016. As part of the consultation, people are also being asked if they would be willing to pay for aspects of the services. The consultation ends on 17th April 2015.
Executive member for adult social care and community wellbeing, Councillor Steve Stubbings, said:
“Ensuring our vulnerable residents receive the correct support is of crucial importance. It is hoped that through this consultation with all service users, we will receive the valuable feedback we need to ensure this is provided in the right way long into the future.
“Although this is a non-statutory function, we fully recognise the major community benefits that are provided through supporting people to manage their tenancies, in tackling anti-social behaviour, in contributing to their community and in helping people to achieve independent living.”
The council has a budget for housing-related support services of £3.2 million in 2014/2015, but is faced with making savings of £200,000 in 2015/2016 and a further £550,000 in 2016/2017.