Kirklees Council have used social outcomes contracts to improve outcomes and accountability across its homelessness prevention services.
In recent years across the UK, homelessness of all forms has been rising, while local authorities face cuts in their budgets. In Kirklees, funding for preventative services has been repeatedly cut, leading to a 66% increase in rough sleeping between 2015 to 2019. Kirklees Council felt its previous service provision was not always helping users move on to independent lives, so it was looking for other ways to commission these services that would achieve better outcomes.
Kirklees Council had played a part in the successful Fusion Fair Chance homelessness outcomes contract, which was delivered locally but commissioned by Central Government. Now it saw an opportunity for the social outcomes contract approach to improve outcomes and accountability across all its homelessness prevention services.
Kirklees Better Outcomes Partnership (KBOP) brings together nine local charities that have been delivering floating support services in Kirklees for over fifteen years. They now operate under a social outcomes contract, managed by Bridges Fund Management, with the aim of supporting vulnerable people to live independently, sustain their tenancies, and improve their overall life chances. It achieves this by providing practical support and accommodation, while helping people to navigate additional services. Bridges Fund Management has provided £3 million in working capital to deliver the services from its Social Outcomes Fund II, into which Big Society Capital invested £13.65 million.
Impact and learning
In re-commissioning housing-related floating support services as a social outcomes contract, Kirklees Council has enabled a redesign of the project, based on the lessons learned during Fusion's delivery:
- The centralised referral process and standardised assessment will support better multi-agency collaboration.
- The target social outcomes are aligned to helping clients achieve long-term independence.
- The focus on outcomes means delivery organisations have the flexibility to do what works best.
As the concept is scalable, it has the potential to improve thousands of existing local services and budgets, by recommissioning them with more focus on outcomes.