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Blog on The National Statement of Expectations
- In our last few blogs, we have been considering the quality of supported housing for vulnerable adults in the UK and how a minority of rogue providers have been exposed in recent years for failing to provide adequate accommodation. In this blog, we will consider the standard that the Government expects providers to reach which has been set out in the National Statement of Expectations.
What is the National Statement of Expectations?
In October 2020, the Government published a National Statement of Expectations (“NSE”) which sought to set out their vision of the planning, commissioning and delivery of supported housing for the future. This statement followed on from the Government’s announcement in 2018 to commit to improving the oversight of supported housing to ensure good quality accommodation and value for money. It has been developed in collaboration between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions with additional input from local councils and the supported housing sector.
Although the NSE is not a statutory requirement, it is intended to provide a wide range of organisations involved in the provision of supported housing with principles and examples of best practice to help them to achieve a consistently high level of accommodation and service to their residents.
- The NSE focuses on the accommodation element of supported housing. Its goal is to seek to drive out the rogue providers by setting out a clear understanding of what is expected of providers to ensure that residents are living in safe and good quality accommodation which provides value for money for the resident and the taxpayer.
Some of the key areas addressed
Supported housing accommodates some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Therefore, it is essential that it is safe, of good quality, meets the residents’ needs and fits with the local community. Clearly, the better the quality of the supported housing, the more likely it is that the resident will be successful in achieving the goals of their support.
In seeking to reach and maintain a consistently good standard of accommodation, the NSE contains a detailed checklist for providers of both the legal requirements and the suggested standards for supported housing. These standards are relevant to both commissioned and non-commissioned housing providers.
The NSE sets out general expectations for providers to be aware of to ensure that their accommodation is fit for human habitation. The housing must be accessible, suitably located, appropriate and suitable to meet the needs of residents, including health, care and support needs. Procedures and measures must be in place to minimise risk and provide the best possible support to people in supported living settings.
- It should also be noted that for supported housing with commissioned support, the accommodation will need to comply with the accommodation standards set by support commissioners.
How does the NSE affect providers for the future?
Providers will want to establish and maintain a strong and workable relationship with their local council, so they must ensure that they have a robust and efficient infrastructure in place that is capable of withstanding the detailed scrutiny of the local council who are tasked with assessing and awarding claims for exempt accommodation status. We are able to assist providers - both newcomers and those with many years’ experience - to formulate a structure that will ensure compliance with the housing benefit regulations and case law to help them achieve and maintain the exempt status.
- All providers and would-be providers would be well advised to read the NSE and ensure that they are aware of what is expected of them. In addition, we have prepared an advice note on the NSE to assist providers in understanding the main elements of the statement (please contact us on email@example.com to request a copy of our advice note or arrange an initial free consultation with us to discuss how we can assist you in meeting the expected standards).
MR Associates - November 2022