“You can only use them in one shop”
I think my 13 year old son has just explained why the ring fence was not only removed from Supporting People but why it won’t ever be put back.
For the best part of a decade the supported housing sector seemed to forget what a vibrant, creative and innovative place it had once been. It became bloated and lazy knowing that every year local authorities would get their annual Supporting People Gift Card from CLG…….obliged to spend it with them.
Sure, as they pushed their trolley round “SP R US” the commissioner could swap a few ‘floating support finest’ contracts for a bumper pack of ‘value supported living’; but essentially there was only one show in town.
The removal of the SP ring fence was the equivalent of my son opening a card to find a crisp new £20 note instead of a GAME voucher. He does love new games for his Wii or his DS…….but he also likes to download music, get the latest Stoke kit or browse round a range of different shops with his mates.
At Bromford it is a bit of a mantra that it’s not what life throws at you that is important but how you react to it. The removal of the SP ring fence is here to stay…..and at Bromford Support it has kick started something of a renaissance in developing and testing out new ideas.
If we want local authorities (and other agencies too) to come into our store ready to spend their £20 notes then we had better understand what problems and challenges they are facing and how we can help solve them.