Semi-independent living refers to the provision of supported accommodation and one-to-one key worker support for young people leaving care to enable a smooth transition into independent living as an adult. It supports the duty of the local authority to provide services. including the provision of suitable accommodation, to Relevant and Former Relevant children to the age of 21 (or 25 if pursuing a programme of education or training).
Current provision is varied across the borough in terms of need, quality and models of service delivery. The Council places many young people in borough through block contracts with Supporting People Housing providers. The commissioning responsibilities for these providers are split to varying degrees between Children's Services and Adult Social Care. Additional and out-of-borough placements are spot purchased as required from private and voluntary providers by the Placements Team in the Children's Services Commissioning Directorate. It is an unregulated market in which quality and price varies hugely.
It was recognised that the authority needed to improve the quality of the provision being used but could also make significant savings in the area through improved commissioning. Children's Service initiated a review of current arrangements for semi-independent living (SIL) for Looked After Children aged 16+ and Care Leavers in the London Borough of Hammersmith 8, Fulham in early 2014. Our aim through the review was to develop a consistent approach to die commissioning and utilisation of semi-independent placements, providing a continuum of support for young people from leaving care to living independently in the community.
This final Commissioning Strategy was developed in collaboration with other departments including social workers from Family Services. Adults Social Care, Housing and legal services, young people and providers. with key engagement activities mapped out in Appendix B. The Commissioning Strategy proposes for new semi-independent living arrangements to be implemented from 2015.
The service primary objective is to ensure Care Leavers in Hammersmith and Fulham are placed in safe and instructive semi-independent supported accommodation that is most suited to their requirements and represents best value to the Council. The accommodation will provide young people with the understanding and life skills required to move on to independent living in the community when appropriate.
It is projected that over the next 5 years, the Council will need to provide provision for between 116-121 Care Leavers at any one lime. Through agreements with a number of Registered Social Landlords, 71 units of accommodation are made available to the Council within the borough. This accommodation can provide for approximately 60, of the borough's cam leavers. In addition to this the Council will need to ensure there is sufficient capacity for the additional 40, of the borough's requirements.