Supporting People

The Supporting People programme offers vulnerable people the opportunity to improve their quality of life by providing a stable environment which enables greater independence.


Supporting People began on 1 April 2003, bringing together seven housing related funding streams from across Central Government. It is a grant programme administered through 152 top-tier authorities in partnership with Housing, Health, Social Services and Probation, and is delivered largely by the third sector (the voluntary and community sector, and housing associations).

From its beginning Supporting People's main aim was to help end social exclusion by preventing crisis and more costly service intervention and enabling vulnerable people to live independently both in their own home and within their community through the provision of vital housing-related support services.

Authorities' performance in delivering housing-related support is measured through Comprehensive Area Assessments and through the two National Performance Indicators 141 and 142. These indicators measure the number of vulnerable people achieving independence and the number of people supported to maintain independent living.

Supporting People funding

The Government has invested over £13.6bn in the programme by the March 2011. It is the biggest single source of Government revenue funding for the Third Sector - over £1 billion per year.

From April 2010, Supporting People was allocated to local authorities as a non-ringfenced grant paid as part of Area Based Grants. The removal of the ring fence provides councils with increased flexibility and the opportunity to develop new, more holistic and innovative ways to support vulnerable people in a range of different situations.

Transitional support

From early in 2008, CLG has been working on a package of measures to support the sector during this period of change, including:

  • a new model, which CLG commissioned Capgemini to produce, to enable authorities to evidence at a local level the potential financial benefits of investment in housing related support services.
  • the Commissioning of a report from the Audit Commission on the progress of the programme. This report - Supporting People review 2009 report (external link) was published on 9 October 2009. It found that the programme improved outcomes for service users.
  • a Supporting People Transition Board was convened on 27 October 2009. It is made up of representatives from across the sector to consider what further work is needed during this transitional period.

The Supporting People programme makes a real difference

Supporting People is an invest to save budget. The best overall estimated of net financial benefits from the Supporting People programme is £3.41bn per annum against an overall investment of £1.61bn.

The programme helps around one million people at any one time, including:

  • approximately 815,000 older people with support needs
  • approximately 39,000 single homeless people
  • approximately 36,000 people with mental health problems
  • approximately 10,000 women at risk of domestic violence

Supporting People Outcomes data provides the evidence that housing-related support services make a real difference and deliver positive outcomes. For example, between April 2008 and March 2009, clients leaving short-term services (ie less than two years in duration) achieved the following outcomes:

  • 95,994 people maximised their income, including receiving correct welfare benefits
  • 59,556 people maintained their accommodation and avoided eviction
  • 43,279 people established contact with their family and friends, and 64,826 with external services
  • 43,100 people were able to better manage their physical health
  • 30,330 people accessed their desired training and education needs
  • 7,896 people gained paid employment

You can access data about clients who enter Supporting People services (Client Record data) and the successful outcomes that clients achieve at: http://www.spclientrecord.org.uk/ (external link).

Select Committee

In March 2009 the Communities and Local Government Select Committee announced an inquiry into the Supporting People programme.  The Committee looked at the delivery of the Supporting People programme and the implications of removing the ring fence.  

Their report - Communities and Local Government Committee - Thirteenth Report
The Supporting People Programme
(external link) - welcomed the devolution of decision making on local matters to local authorities.  Our response , published in January 2010, explains that the Government considered that local authorities and their strategic partners are best placed to make decisions about local spending priorities; and that Local Area Agreements are the most appropriate mechanism to influence local decision making.

Change following the closure of the Supporting People website

We announced the archiving of the SPK website on 22 January 2010, a copy of the letter is on the archived Supporting People website.

As outlined in that letter, links to Supporting People job vacancies and tenders can be sent to us for publication in this section.  The vacancies and tenders page lists all of the current items that we have been notified of. If you wish to promote a Supporting People job vacancy or tender that is advertised on your website please send the link to Mike.Aimey@Communities.gsi.gov.uk for consideration.

Contact the Supporting People team

Contact details for the Supporting People team, including a brief overview of areas of their responsibilities are provided below.

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