The Committee considered a report detailing the annual performance of the Mental Health Flexible Support Service (MHFSS) which was currently provided by Hestia Housing Support Ltd.
The report provided a summary of how the service had performed to date in addressing the requirements of the specification and demonstrating how community-based support was a key element in meeting the Council’s statutory duties by preventing the need for more expensive accommodation / health-based provision. The Mental Health Flexible Support Service was a specialist service for adults with mental ill health, offering and providing support towards independent living and resettlement in the community following hospital discharge or a diagnosis of mental ill health. The current contract was awarded to Hestia Housing and Support, following a competitive tender, and commenced on 1st October 2019. The contract was let for 3 years with the option to extend for a further 2 years. The option to extend had been exercised and the contract was now in the first year of the 2-year extension.
The Integrated Strategic Commissioning Officer advised that, to date, the service had performed well over the life of the contract. The provider had been very proactive in supporting clients. When they had initially taken on the contract, reviews of all clients had been completed – this had highlighted a number of clients who were then assessed by the care co-ordinators and moved to different services. The provider had also work well with the Local Authority and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust in relation to the safeguarding of clients. It was noted that efficiencies had been made without reducing the quality of the support and care provided.
In response to questions, the Integrated Strategic Commissioning Officer stated that referrals were made into the service – but if they were assessed as not being suitable for the service they would be signposted back to the referrer. It was noted that these instances had been reduced as a resource panel had been established and reviewed the cases before referral to Hestia. The Head of Service for Community Living Commissioning advised that there was a close relationship between the Hestia support workers and the care managers that worked directly with the clients – both would feed in the information needed to build a holistic package of support which was bespoke to the service user. With regards to how success was measured, the Integrated Strategic Commissioning Officer stated that, due to the nature of the client group, there would be some clients that would always require some level of support. Others would only be in the service for a couple of years then would be in a position to move on in stages. Members considered that reassurance needed to be provided through figures for comparison. The Head of Service for Community Living Commissioning advised that comparative benchmarking data could be circulated to Members following the meeting.
A Member enquired if feedback was gathered from service users. The Integrated Strategic Commissioning Officer said that this was something that the provider could be asked to submit, however as service users were not always willing to engage so this may be challenging. The Head of Service for Community Living Commissioning advised that this was an area that they had asked Healthwatch Bromley to look into, but they had not been able to meet with service users. It was noted that they could consider the methods being used by the provider and look at best practice. The Integrated Strategic Commissioning Officer highlighted that there had been low uptake in relation to the consultation held by Experts by Experience, however another event was planned to take place next month.
A Member noted that reference had been made in the report to four individuals that ceased services and suggested that it would be useful to gather feedback as to why. The Integrated Strategic Commissioning Officer said that this had been due to non-engagement or refusal of the service. The provider would then liaise with the care co-ordinator to identify an alternative provision. From the information gathered, engagement was usually impacted by a dual diagnosis, such as substance misuse. The Director of Public Health highlighted that treatment services had clear outcomes and were therefore much easier to gather data – however support services were much harder to quantify as individuals often had very different packages of support provided to them.
Another Member considered that there should now be a focus on gathering intelligence and ensuring that aspects within the contract were correct. The Director of Adult Social Care noted that there had initially been some concerns when the contract was retendered as the previous provider had been delivering the service for a long period of time, but the current contract provider had performed extremely well.
RESOLVED that the content of the contract monitoring report on the performance of Hestia Housing Support Ltd be noted.