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NAT Reveals Findings of AIDS Support Grant Review

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Independent review of AIDS Support Grant shows areas for improvement

NAT (National AIDS Trust) has today announced the findings from its independent review of the AIDS Support Grant. The Grant, worth £21.8million in 2009/10, is a ring-fenced fund distributed to local authorities to spend specifically on the social care needs of people living with HIV. The independent review, the first ever of the Grant, identified examples of good practice and makes recommendations for local authorities about how use of the Grant can be improved in the future.

In 2008/09 the size of the Grant given to local authorities ranged from £2,000 to £860,000. 106 (out of a possible 150) local authorities responded accounting for 81% of the Grant. In addition, 30 voluntary sector organisations contributed to the review.
The review found that the AIDS Support Grant remains an important source of social care funding for HIV. The findings showed that services, including counseling, peer support, staff training, support for carers and respite care, may not continue if the Grant was no longer ring-fenced. 
The review identified a number of areas for improvement. Half of the local authorities had not carried out any form of needs assessment before deciding how to use their grant. In addition, the need for improved transparency of how the Grant is used was also identified. 
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments:
“The AIDS Support Grant remains a unique and important source of funding for the HIV community in England. The Grant was first introduced in 1989 when the reality of an HIV diagnosis was very different. Today new treatments mean that many people living with HIV can expect to live into old age. The social care needs have changed but they have not disappeared. 
There were many positive findings from the review. There are also areas where we identified a need for improvement, particularly around needs assessments and transparency about how the Grant is used.
We hope this report will enable local authorities to maximise the benefits of the Grant as well as demonstrating to the Department of Health that maintaining the Grant is vital to meet the needs of the growing number of people living with HIV.”

Notes to the editor:

For further information please contact:
Katherine Sladden
Communications Officer
020 7814 6733 / 07947 725299
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
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