Wigan Council

Wigan Council

Supported Accommodation

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

The project, which commenced in June 2019, was to provide a new model of delivery to alleviate the issue of rough sleeping and homelessness across Wigan Borough. This was in conjunction with wider developments to ensure a service that would meet future need. In total, 250 accommodation units (ranging from 25-100 units), would be procured across the Borough providing enhanced, bespoke, therapeutic support for individuals aged 16+ with a range of complex health and social issues, e.g. drug and alcohol, housing, mental health and ending behaviour. The providers of the accommodation having complete freedom to develop the accommodation portfolio that offered a therapeutic environment, increasing the likelihood of a successful recovery outcome. The providers were tasked to ensure a 24-hour response, 7 days a week (with no restrictions to accessing the service), and as part of ‘The Deal’ values and principles, support individuals across all age groups to ultimately make progress towards independent living within the community. Excessive lengths of stay being avoided by providers understanding the community assets and developing sufficient options for progression and move on, including use of wider accommodation
stock owned by the provider.

The project was advertised as 6 lots, providers bidding for an individual lot, or any combination of lots. Partnership and consortia bids were supported to ensure the right combination of quantity and quality of units and specialist support were provided and to enable smaller providers to support delivery of the new model in an integrated approach to delivery and promote Social Value. As part of the project, providers also had to support the wider Borough homeless model ‘No Second Night Out’ and maintain between 6 and 10 beds, with additional support, for emergency use and unplanned accommodation immediately prior to the weekend. Where contracts existed, all were due to expire in March 2018, so these contracts were extended to allow time for the relevant design and procurement to be completed. As part of the review, data from across the partnership and health system had been reviewed to understand the current needs
and trends in conjunction with wider developments to design and procure a service to meet future need.

A series of engagement events were held with the Council workforce, providers, partner agencies, and charities, to outline the new approach, but importantly to ensure that it opened up an opportunity to understand the strengths and challenges within the current system, and to collaborate and develop a spirit of joint working on current and future delivery, and that the networking opportunities this provided had the potential to develop into more formal contractual partnerships that arise within procurement activity. Site visits to meet with all current providers were undertaken, and six service user engagement events were also held in May 2018 across the Borough with people with lived experience of the provider and the system from each provider. As part of understanding the potential of the new model, a number of visits to other areas have taken place with visits to accommodation and support provision in Manchester, Liverpool, and Lancaster. This wider understanding has helped ensured that good practice from other areas is considered as part of the procurement activity.

What are the key achievements?

By developing a new approach that creates capacity and opportunities to work more creatively in partnership, there were broader improvements that this model would achieve.

These included: Reduction in Police call outs; Reduction in attendance and admission at A&E; Reduction in re-offending; Reduction in rough sleeping and homelessness; Reduction in risk associated with drug and alcohol use; Improved health and well-being; Successful hospital discharge arrangement; Successful transition from prison to community following release.

This project achieved:

Previous model: Beds available – 140 Cost per annum – £1,210,831
New model: Beds available – 250 Cost per annum – £1,152,679.

A smooth service for the service user as the providers of the support are aligned under one partnership. The procurement process was shortlisted for an award at last year’s ‘GO Awards’, PROCUREX 2020. The resulting contract and established partnership of providers (known as “Wigan Supported Housing Partnership” consisting of The Riverside Group Ltd comprises Adactus Housing Association, Riverside Care and Support, and Your Housing Ltd) is a resource that is being utilised by Wigan Council and Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in their response to the pandemic and in their approach to market shaping and service delivery.

What are the key learning points?

Encouragement of partnerships bids to resolve TUPE issues where possible to deliver the best outcomes for affected staff. Importance of research into service design and engagement with stakeholders including service users and providers. Importance of pre procurement engagement with the market.
Learning shared across the Greater Manchester procurement leads. Development and fostering or a new partnership for social housing in Wigan. The new partnership has broken down barriers between three organisations that provide social housing and support accommodation in Wigan.