Manchester City Council

Helping Hand

The Council's Executive Committee met today. The Belle Vue proposals have already received significant media coverage. I suspect any further media coverage will focus on the excitingly titled 'Leisure Budget Proposals Consultation Response report', so I want to draw attention to two other items on today's agenda, proposals involving rather smaller amounts of money than the aforementioned reports, but ones with the potential to impact, hopefully positively, on far more people's lives.

The first concerns Advice Services. Government funding of £1.3m to the Community Legal Advices Services has been cut completely just as welfare cuts have significantly increased demand. The gap is being filled to a certain extent by Northwards Housing, the Council's own arms length management company, local housing companies and other social landlords, and there is a plethora of unco-ordinated on-line and telephone advice services out there, if you know where to look. Many people will be able to help themselves using these services so the Council is concentrating on people at moderate, high, or very high risk of escalating need who cannot be adequately supported through other provisions. The Council is putting an extra £1m ( coming from the Manchester Investment Fund reserve and from Public Health monies ) as a one-off to develop a new model of service which will comprise of reactive services, where advice services will be delivered as part of a package of interventions, and proactive services, targeted at the high and very high risk categories where failure to address escalating needs would result in further cost to public services. Under this model workers like family support workers will be able to spot purchase appropriate advice as part of sequenced programmes of work with families.

The second is concerned with making the business case for investment in equipment and minor adaptations to make it easier for some people to stay living in their own homes. This work will be funded with £500k from the public health budget and aims to demonstrate that the right investments at the right time can improve health outcomes and save the need for, or delay the need for more expensive interventions. If successful, the case will be made, the evidence collected to demonstrate that this is investment that is at the very worst self-financing, and should help thousands of our residents continue to lead independent lives.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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