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Supported accommodation is typically offered to vulnerable young people aged 16–25 as a stepping stone to independent living, equipping individuals with the skills, confidence and resources to overcome challenges related to their situation and live fulfilled lives.


Our in-house health and social care team complete numerous tenders for supported accommodation contracts for local authorities and related organisations across the country, with examples including:

·         Nottingham City Council

·         Beford Borough Council

·         Oxfordshire County Council

·         Hampshire County Council

·         Sheffield City Council

·         Central Bedfordshire Council

·         West Midlands Combined Authority

·         Newham Council

·         Brighton and Hove City Council

·         Kirklees Council

·         Coventry City Council

·         East Ayrshire Council

·         Medway Council

·         Lewisham Council

·         Leicestershire County Council

·         Northamptonshire Children’s Trust

·         Cambridgeshire County Council

·         Thurrock Council

·         Hackney Council

·         Derby City Council

·         Plymouth City Council

·         Reading Borough Council.

Key aspects of supported accommodation

Young person eligibility for supported accommodation varies from tender to tender, but typical examples of needs/backgrounds include:

  • Estrangement or loss from their family, meaning they are no longer able to live with them.
  • Historical experiences that may impact their ability to live at home, such as trauma relating to being a victim and/or witness of abuse and neglect, family breakdown, parental drug/alcohol abuse and parental mental health/disability issues.
  • Challenging behaviours, which have often developed from their experiences.
  • Spontaneous arrival into the country, including unaccompanied asylum seekers.
  • Mental health (either diagnosed or undiagnosed) and related needs, such as anger management issues, low self-esteem and self-harm.
  • Care leavers.
  • Learning disabilities, either diagnosed or undiagnosed, and autism.
  • Other needs, including substance misuse, domestic abuse issues, offending issues and vulnerability to exploitation (e.g. sexual, financial, radicalisation, etc).
  • A combination of a presentation of the above needs.

Based on the above needs, authorities procure a range of accommodation/support services, with contracts usually split by lots to give bidding organisations an option based on experience, preference and specialism, such as:

  • Shared accommodation between two or more young people, either semi-independent or with 24/7 managed support – often accommodation has to be owned or leased by the service provider. Each individual receives an agreed number of contact hours per week and may include waking night or sleep-in support.
  • Single occupancy accommodation for individuals who are either more independent or not suited to live with other young people (e.g. due to challenging or risky behaviour), usually semi-independent with the accommodation owned or leased by the service provider. Each individual receives an agreed number of contact hours per week.
  • Supported lodgings, whereby a young person is assigned a ‘host’ in the community, providing them with a safe and secure place to live whilst supporting them to develop life skills. These placements act as a ‘stop gap’ between full independence or less intensively supported accommodation.
  • Floating support as an alternative to accommodation-based support. Support workers will visit young people at a preferred location (e.g. at home, in the community or another residential setting) to deliver agreed contact hours.

Key themes in supported accommodation tenders

As supported accommodation is a (largely) unregulated service that offers ongoing, tailored support (rather than personal care) specifically to young people, themes vary compared to more traditional support-based services, such as domiciliary care or supported living whilst mirroring similar topics:

  • Delivering a person-centred service through outcomes-focussed support planning, encouraging and supporting young people to develop the skills they need to live independently based on their needs, background and ambitions. For example, these could include maintaining a tenancy, budgeting, cooking, accessing relevant benefits and managing their health needs.
  • Supporting access to volunteering, education, training and employment opportunities based on the young person’s aspirations, enabling them to develop stable and sustainable careers and options for their future. This could involve identifying college courses or apprenticeships, setting reminders to attend classes and employability support.
  • Providing suitably qualified staff covering topics including recruitment, retention and training, providing consistency of support for young people and ensuring sufficient capacity is in place to meet different accommodation arrangements and needs. Often each young person will be allocated a keyworker who will provide continuity, supplemented by background support workers.
  • Maximising young person safety through robust safeguarding and risk management. Young people may have needs/backgrounds that impact their safety such as past trauma, gang affiliations, history of abuse/exploitation, challenging behaviours and substance misuse, with providers agreeing risk management measures to offset risks whilst protecting the young person’s independence.
  • Procuring and maintaining accommodation, detailing which properties the provider already possesses and where any plans for obtaining more properties meet the contract requirements. Specific topics may also include maintaining good relationships with landlords (if properties are leased), security measures, options for modifications based on young person needs and how properties are guaranteed to be fit for purpose throughout.
  • Partnership working with other providers/organisations related to the young person’s support, ensuring a multi-agency approach to meeting outcomes, addressing challenges and transition to independent living, for example, social workers, mental health teams, the police, emergency services and substance misuse charities.

Challenges for bidders

Due to the bespoke, specialist nature of support required, supported accommodation can pose challenges in both the tender process and service delivery, such as:

  • Recruitment, reassuring the buyer that sufficient, highly skilled staff can be effectively resourced, onboarded and deployed for the duration, acknowledging that there are staffing shortages across the health and social care sector. Staff may also need specialist training to meet the needs of young people, e.g. trauma-informed support, positive behaviour support and L3+ diplomas in health and social care (or a related discipline).
  • Accommodation. Some buyers request that addresses for suitable properties are communicated during the tender process, meaning that accommodation options (whether leased or owned) must be in place before an award notice is announced, which can cause complications. Additionally, depending on the geographic location, the housing market may differ resulting in difficulties procuring suitable accommodation in the first place.
  • Challenging needs. Young people referred into supported accommodation may have complex needs and backgrounds, including offending behaviours, missing from home episodes, drug/alcohol abuse, trauma, self-harm, anger management issues and little comprehension of the English language. Staff have to be calm, resilient and knowledgeable in order to support these needs and prevent harm both to themselves, the public and the young person.
  • Experience. Through the technical and professional ability section of the SQ, experience-centric questions and case studies/examples interweaved throughout all responses, all bidders must demonstrate they have previous experience of delivering services of a similar type, scope, value and level of need. This may make it difficult for new entrants to the industry to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and experience over providers who have had/currently hold similar contracts.

Bidding for supported accommodation tenders

40% of Executive Compass’ business is within the health and social care industry (including supported accommodation), meaning our team of bid writers have the knowledge, skills and expertise to obtain the information needed to address challenges and produce high-quality, competitive responses.

For support in bidding for a supported accommodation tender, contact our team today to discuss how we can help. We are happy to provide up-front consultation to also check that you meet all eligibility criteria and can successfully bid for the contract.

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