Homelessness Directorate Budget and Savings Options 2021/22
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 13th January, 2021 2.00 pm (Item 3.)
Report of the Director of Homelessness
This report provides the high level budget context and priorities for Homelessness across 2021/22 and the feedback from the budget conversation, which has been used for the development of savings options 2021/22 and investment requirements to fund population driven and other budget pressures.
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Homelessness provided the high level budget context and priorities for Homelessness across 2021/22 and the feedback from the budget conversation, which had been used for the development of savings options 2021/22 and investment requirements to fund population driven and other budget pressures
The Committee was invited to consider and comment on the savings proposals identified prior to being considered by Executive.
The main points and themes within the report included: -
· Funding announcements in the government’s spending review on 25 November 2020 and provisional local government finance settlement on 17th December 2020 suggested the Council would not be facing the worst-case scenario for 21/22, which was a shortfall of around £100m;
· It was now expected that savings in the region of £50m, as previously identified, would be sufficient;
· The overall approach to the budget strategy had been to align with the 4 key strategic aims of the service and to utilise the investment to maintain frontline delivery in support of these aims, keeping service reductions to a minimum;
· The budget strategy for Homelessness had been to contain the cost of rising need for temporary accommodation within available resources whilst also prioritising resources towards service developments that would achieve the service’s priority to prevent and reduce the incidence of homelessness;
· Noting that the greatest risk for the priorities of the service and the budget strategy was the continuing rise in need which was likely to be exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19 and the uncertainty of short term funding;
· The Service Transformation Programme would form the core of the approach to tackling and reducing homelessness over the next three years. It would be the framework in which reductions in temporary accommodation and rough sleeping would be achieved through a radical reorganisation of the Homelessness Service and its activities.
· Savings Options and Proposals; and
· Workforce Impact.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· What was the impact of recent changes to the lifting of the restriction on evictions in the Private Rented Sector, introduced as a result of COVID-19 on homelessness services;
· Consideration should be given to providing in-house temporary homelessness accommodating as this would allow for better control of quality and management;
· Further information was sought on the delivery of the A Bed Every Night (ABEN) scheme;
· Noting the Protect Programme funding that had been awarded as a result of COVID-19, was there a commitment from Government to continue funding this programme; and
· Could the Council’s reserves be used to support homelessness services.
The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure stated that despite the promises made to Manchester and all other local authorities that financial assistance would be made available to support councils to accommodate homeless people during the pandemic this had not been provided. He described this as a failure of government, however despite this Manchester had responded to the situation and sought to support the most vulnerable residents in the city and he now called upon the government to fund Manchester appropriately and fairly.
The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure reiterated that the proposals did not represent a cut in services, but rather savings were to be achieved through a service redesigning. He described that that the reasons for homeless presentations were varied, however recognised that the removal of the protection from eviction would have an impact on the number of presentations. The Members were also advised that the proposals also protected the current ABEN spaces and there was no requirement to draw down on the Council’s reserves.
The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure described the challenge to plan and deliver innovative schemes and programmes to tackle homelessness due to the short term funding arrangements provided to local authorities, stating that long term funding was required. He informed the Committee that the Manchester Homelessness Partnership had written to the Secretary of State to lobby on this issue.
In response to the question regarding the suggestion of providing in-house temporary accommodation, the Executive Director of Adult Social Services stated that a response to this would be provided following the meeting.
The Chair stated that the work of the homelessness team and all voluntary organisations was important and valued in addressing homelessness in Manchester. She stated the importance of the preventative work undertaken and stated that the Committee should be kept informed of any changed to the service,
The Committee endorse the savings proposals identified to the Executive.
- Homelessness Directorate Budget, item 3. PDF 332 KB
- Appendix 1 Homelessness Budget, item 3. PDF 198 KB
- Appendix 2 Homelessness Savings Options, item 3. PDF 109 KB