The SP programme also names and shames poorly performing, in fact the term is failing councils. Does it rid the sector of them? No! In fact it rewards them as we can see that the first council to fail both an inspection and then a re-inspection is given even more freedom and flexibilities!!! I'm all for getting rid of poorly performing providers, but shouldnt the same go for failing councils? Will this happen - of course not.
The removal of the ringfence is on the dubious rationale that the grant conditions are too inflexible. So why not loosen the grant conditions and NOT unringfence the monies so that as we all know, these will be pillaged by social service depts to set off against their deficits.
As for SP being a success - its primary rationale as explained in its original paper was to place supported housing on a secure legal and financial footing - It has done none of these.
At inception SP budget of £1.8bn plus delivered services to over 1.2m vulnerable people. The latest £1.6bn - hence a massive actual and real-term decrease - delivers to less than 1 million vulnerable people.
In terms of finance, central govt officially state that for every £1 invested in SP, it saves the public purse £1.70 a massive success there - so why (a) reduce its budget and (b) why unringfence? This simple facts show the abject stupidity of this latest announcement.