Thursday, 14 July 2011

Framework's Judicial Review of City's Supporting People Cuts Failed

One from earlier in the year that I missed. Can't really find anything in local media and blogs either except in the NCH Bulletin.

It seems that Framework Housing's application to have NCC's Supporting People cuts Judicially Reviewed was refused back in March, according to an article in 'Inside Housing'.

It's not overly surprising, judicial reviews of governmental policy decisions, both local and national, are somewhat hit and miss but what is interesting is IH's reporting that correspondence between JoCo and DCLG "...indicated that the city’s formula grant allocation for the coming year includes at least £19.8 million for Supporting People..." whereas NCC cut its SP budget by 45% to £12.4m.

That £19.8m figure appears to have come from this letter from Grant Schapps to JoCo sent in January. The thing is that 'Supporting People' no longer has a ring fenced amount provided by central government. It was decided to roll SP into the overall 'Formula Grant' from this year (a decision actually made by the previous Labour administration) meaning that councils can more or less spend it as they see fit. This is probably why the JR action was refused; it was a local decision as to how to allocate formula grant to SP and other services and NCC's decision was not considered to breach the limits of 'rationality'.

I've touched on this before but as JoCo is still going about the place saying that it was the Tory Government that cut SP by 45% not NCC, it perhaps bears repeating. The Tory government axed NCC's overall 'spending power', a new measure which includes contributions to NHS and other services and thus probably disguises the true extent of cuts, by 8.9%. NCC calculates that this is equivalent to a cut to the actual council of 16.5%. Lets make no mistake this was an appalling and unjustified cut and we must continue to challenge it.

However, it was NCC that decided to disproportionately cut Supporting People by 45% rather than apply a proportional cut of 16.5% (or less for that matter), while at the same time protecting funding for Community Protection Officers (waste of space and a remnant of Labour's authority wank) and children's centres (more justifiable). We must all continue to challenge this with equal determination and Collins could do us all a favour and come clean.

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