Review to Keep Mental Health Recovery Service Sustainable

THE FUTURE of one of the Council’s mental health recovery services is being reviewed in a bid to keep the service cost effective and sustainable. This work is part of a wider plan to continue providing mental health services in Reading.

Amongst the services known locally as ‘Focus House,’ one aspect provides a CQC registered care home, providing  24/7 support for up to 7 residents with mental health needs as they recover.  This part of the service is being reviewed.

The review is focused on changing the way services are delivered as people recover from mental health issues. The review will consider how these services may be provided differently and in a more cost effective and efficient way.

The proposal is to provide suitable alternative accommodation which supports and encourages recovery, maximises and improves life skills and promotes the independence of the current resident community, as well as providing value for money to achieve the Council’s commitments.

Focus House also provides support to people who, as part of the recovery process, have moved on to other accommodation where they are supported to live independently. The support needs of these people will also be considered as part of this review.

Cllr Rachel Eden, Reading’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said:

“I know that any change for vulnerable residents can be daunting and Council officers will be working closely with the people at Focus House, and related service providers.  

“The proposal is about changing the way part of the Focus House service is delivered but would mean particular changes for 7 residents, so Council staff would work closely with them to support them. This is not an end to the service known collectively as ‘Focus House’ but a change to the way part of the service is delivered.

“Unfortunately, due to major government funding cuts, the Council cannot continue to support the existing service as it is. We need to ensure our services are sustainable for the future and look to how we can make the most of our limited resources, whilst maximizing the benefit to users of these mental health support services. 

“I would encourage people to take part in the consultation and welcome suggestions for how we can continue to support people recovering from acute mental health issues in the face of the challenges set by the government’s squeeze on council and health services.”

People affected by the changes,  family members, friends and carers and the staff themselves,  will be individually consulted and  the Council also hopes to hear from residents and other stakeholders who have an interest in mental health services in Reading.

If the proposal goes ahead individual plans for service users who are ready to move on will be made and staff will be offered redeployment .

The consultation on these changes launches on Monday 20th March and will last for 90 days, ending on 16 June 2017. People can take part by visiting

To request a paper copy, a large print version of this consultation or for help with completing it, call 0118 937 4600 or email

Adult Social Care Funding

Almost 70% of Reading Borough Council spending is on adult and children’s social care. That equates to 70p for every £1 spent by the Council.

The Government this year gave local authorities permission to raise Council Tax by an extra 1%. In Reading that will raise just over £760,000. This is set alongside the estimated direct cost of paying for adult social care services in Reading next year, which is £35 million.

The Local Government Association (LGA) reiterated that there will be a £2.6bn gap nationally by 2020 between the amount of money social care services need and their budgets, with a major knock-on effect on NHS pressures and budgets. More information on the LGA ‘State of the Nation’ report can be found at

Social care needs £1 billion in emergency funding to stave off a crisis, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services warned this week. More information at


Notes to Editors

Government & Grant Funding

In 2013/14 when the present revenue support grant was introduced the Council received £40.3m; that will be just £10.3m next year and will fall below £2m in 2019/10. Between 2010 & 2013 the Council reported Government funding cuts of £19.2m.

Despite £70 million of savings agreed since 2010, latest estimates show the Council still faces a £44 million funding gap to 2019/20 because of Government cuts to funding at a time of increased demands on services.

Cuts to Council money have included:

  • A cut in Government funding of £57.5 million since the start of this decade to just £10 million in 2017/18. It will fall below £2 million in 2019/20
  • Reading has lost £185 per head of population since 2013/14. Wokingham has lost £115 and West Berkshire £129
  • In 2012/13 the Council was allowed to spend 57 pence in every £1 of business rates collected in Reading to help fund local services. In 2017/18 it will be 25 pence in every £1, meaning 75% of locally collected business rates leave the town and go to Government
  • In addition to the cuts to Council funding, schools’ funding is being cut by 1.5% per pupil by the Government. As a result Reading schools will lose almost £1 million over the next year.

Victoria Nickless

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