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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 13/11/2006
REVIEW OF WAVERLEY’S SUPPORTING PEOPLE LANDLORD SERVICES



Summary & Purpose
Members will recall that the review undertaken by Surrey County Council Supporting People Team, which funds the support staff in the Sheltered and Community Supporting People services, concluded that services could be remodelled to make cost savings and reduce the Supporting People Team’s grant commitment by 25% to be phased over 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09 subject to their grant settlement.

The Council agreed to a programme of work to make the requisite budget reductions over the next three years and, in order to do so:

a. review the demand, location and quality of accommodation;
b. review the residential on-site staffing in Sheltered Housing service;
c. refocus the Community Supporting People Service; and
d. consult with tenants affected by any proposed changes;

This report identifies progress so far. In the Sheltered service, Rowland House is being decommissioned, lettings are being monitored in all schemes (particularly those with bedsits and shared facilities), some related properties are being removed from the Supporting People service as they become vacant and the possibility for extending the enhanced care scheme continues to be discussed with Surrey County Council. A pilot project in the Sheltered schemes is testing out the implications of switching over to the 24/7 Care Centre from 6pm to 8am.

In the Community Supporting People service the tenants are having needs assessments to identify whether they need Careline, Enhanced or Floating support. When this is complete the changes in service will be implemented next year.

APPENDIX E
Waverley Borough Council

Community overview and scrutiny Committee –
13TH november 2006
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Title:
REVIEW OF WAVERLEY’S SUPPORTING PEOPLE LANDLORD SERVICES
[Wards Affected : All]
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Summary and purpose:

Members will recall that the review undertaken by Surrey County Council Supporting People Team, which funds the support staff in the Sheltered and Community Supporting People services, concluded that services could be remodelled to make cost savings and reduce the Supporting People Team’s grant commitment by 25% to be phased over 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09 subject to their grant settlement.

The Council agreed to a programme of work to make the requisite budget reductions over the next three years and, in order to do so:

a. review the demand, location and quality of accommodation;
b. review the residential on-site staffing in Sheltered Housing service;
c. refocus the Community Supporting People Service; and
d. consult with tenants affected by any proposed changes;

This report identifies progress so far. In the Sheltered service, Rowland House is being decommissioned, lettings are being monitored in all schemes (particularly those with bedsits and shared facilities), some related properties are being removed from the Supporting People service as they become vacant and the possibility for extending the enhanced care scheme continues to be discussed with Surrey County Council. A pilot project in the Sheltered schemes is testing out the implications of switching over to the 24/7 Care Centre from 6pm to 8am.

In the Community Supporting People service the tenants are having needs assessments to identify whether they need Careline, Enhanced or Floating support. When this is complete the changes in service will be implemented next year.
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Environmental implications:

There are no environmental implications arising from this report.

Social / community implications:

There are major implications in ensuring that the development of both the Sheltered and Community Supporting People services continue to meet the needs of older and vulnerable tenants to stay at home, to maintain their quality of life and maintain community cohesion.

E-Government implications:
The delivery of remote monitoring services using the latest ICT technology and telemonitoring equipment supports the e-government agenda in stimulating joined up working and supporting person-centred public services. Generally the tenants involved have alarm systems which are connected to the 24/7 Care Centre (located at Guildford Borough Council).
Resource and legal implications:
The resource and legal implications are fully discussed in the report. The funding regime for providing support in sheltered housing was changed some years ago by the Government. The budget, now allocated by Surrey County Council’s Supporting People Team, is ring-fenced. With growing demands and a constrained budget there are financial pressures. Following review in 2005, the Supporting People grant for Waverley’s support services to older people in sheltered housing is being reduced by 25% over three years. This means that the Council needs to look for commensurate savings/reductions.

In respect of legal implications, the current staffing arrangements in sheltered housing need to be reviewed so that the Council’s employment practices come in line with the European Working Time Directive.
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Background

1. The Sheltered Housing and Community Supporting People services provided by Waverley as a landlord are funded by Surrey Supporting People team. In 2003, the Government introduced new arrangements whereby support services – such as sheltered housing, and supported accommodation for people with special needs for older/vulnerable/disabled people were to be funded from a central funding pool operated by the local unitary or social services authority – in Waverley’s case, Surrey County Council. One of the obligations placed on all Supporting People authorities was a requirement to undertake reviews of all services in receipt of Supporting People grant funding.

2. In 2005, the Review by Surrey Supporting people team of the Sheltered and Community Supporting People services provided by the Council as a landlord concluded that these were of a high quality, with well-trained and motivated staff, well-maintained accommodation and appreciative clients. However, the Review questioned the strategic relevance and value for money of the services. It also considered that the Community Supporting People service needed to be refocused and address more clearly the assessed needs of users.

3. The Council was disappointed that notwithstanding the positive aspects of the Review this still has resulted in a decision to substantially reduce their funding by 25% over three years. It was agreed earlier this year that the Council would make the requisite budget reductions over the next three years and plan for the future through the following programme:

a. review the demand, location and quality of accommodation;
b. review the residential on-site staffing in Sheltered Housing service;
c. refocus the Community Supporting People Service; and
d. consult with tenants affected by any proposed changes;

Resource and legal Implications

4. Supporting People grant reductions 5. The Working Time Regulations 1998
Progress on the review so far

SHELTERED HOUSING

6. It was agreed that the Council should review the location, quality and demand for sheltered schemes and consult with tenants in this regard. There needs to be a longer-term view taken about a number of sheltered housing schemes – particularly those with unsuitable accommodation i.e. bedsits; shared facilities and those that cannot easily be brought-up to meet the decent homes standard. It is worth noting that housing associations with sheltered housing schemes in the Borough are also having to review their services.

7. The closure of Rowland House with bedsit accommodation is being carefully managed to support the remaining tenants to move to other suitable housing by March 2008. In the other sheltered schemes with bedsits, lettings are being carefully monitored. At present Wey Court House, Godalming and Rolston House, Haslemere, both of which have mostly bedsit accommodation continue to have full occupancy. However just recently Blunden Court in Bramley, beautifully renovated in the mid 1990s with mainly one bedroomed accommodation has found difficulty letting some of the 8 remaining renovated bedsits whilst they have a waiting list for their one bedroomed flats.

8. At both Rolston House, Haslemere and Shepherds Court, Farnham where respectively there are 12 flats and 4 bungalows close by the schemes, there has not been a demand from applicants needing the Sheltered Supporting People service for these properties. As vacancies occur they are being removed from the Sheltered Supporting People service reducing the overall total numbers of units receiving the service. The present tenants who need the service will continue to receive the support and involvement in the scheme from the staff team at each of the schemes.

9. Moat Lodge, Cranleigh provides a Sheltered Supporting People service to the tenants of the 12 bungalows at Malthouses. With the closure of Rowland House in Cranleigh and local demand officers anticipate in the short to medium term that these bungalows will continue to be included in the service provided at Moat Lodge.

10. The Council also continues to work with the County Council’s Adults and Community Care Service to develop ‘Extra-care Sheltered Housing’- which currently enables 24-hour enhanced care service at Riverside Court and Falkner Court in Farnham. It is hoped that this model can be developed elsewhere.

11. All tenants in the Sheltered schemes have a supporting people assessment and support plan. All new applicants have an assessment before being offered a vacancy in the sheltered schemes to meet the requirements of the Supporting People team. Over time an analysis of these assessments will enable the Council to review the standard of service provided in each scheme.

12. The review of the 24/7 onsite residential staffing service is proving to be challenging. To meet the requirements of the Working Time Regulations and maintain a 24 hour on-site staffing service would require significantly increasing the staff levels making it prohibitively expensive and appears not to be acceptable to the Supporting People Team.

13. The key issue is the out of hours cover and response. The Sheltered schemes are connected to the 24/7 Care Centre but have very rarely been switched over because of the high onsite staff presence. Out of hours tenants generally contact staff only for emergencies but whilst the onsite staff remain the first port of call officers are unclear what the difference would be if the scheme was switched over.

14. At Riverside and Falkner Court in Farnham due to the need for the Care staff providing the enhanced care service to some tenants needing to be called instead of the sheltered staff, these schemes have been switched over from 8pm until 8am and the calls handled by Guildford. In spite of initial concerns from both staff and residents this has proved to be very successful with emergency services being called more quickly than the onsite staff could have done. The staff have been less disturbed by the non emergency calls of the door entry system and reassurance calls from residents and these have been handled effectively by Guildford.

15. A research pilot project is being undertaken in Dower House, Milford, Moat Lodge, Cranleigh and Wey Court House, Godalming to explore the issues by switching over to the Care Centre from 6.00pm to 8.00am. For the first three months the staff will remain onsite. If this proves successful the pilot will then allow the staff to go offsite with a mobile phone to enable them to be contacted by the Care Centre if required.

16. All calls in all the sheltered schemes from 5pm to 9am will be monitored and analysed to provide information on the impact of switching over to the 24/7 Care Centre from 6.00pm to 9.00am. Officers have discussed these proposals with the residents of the sheltered schemes and whilst some concerns have been expressed, generally the residents and staff understand that the Council needs to test out whether changed arrangements will be effective for the current client group.

17. If the pilot project is successful, it will be extended to all sheltered housing schemes. Thus, by next autumn, officers should be in a position to bring forward proposals for the future staffing of this service, which will continue to provide a service that enables residents to live their lives in a secure home with appropriate support. This will include consideration of both the conditions of service and renumeration of the staff in the sheltered housing services and what, if any, adjustments may be necessary given that the present renumeration package includes compensation for out of normal office hours working.

COMMUNITY SUPPORTING PEOPLE SERVICE

18. The Council provides a Community Supporting People service to some 1,030 mainly elderly tenants in their own homes. Each of these homes has an alarm system connected to the 24/7 Care Centre which provides the emergency response. Tenants using this service receive regular visits by trained staff. Visits are weekly to three-monthly depending on circumstances and need. Tenants appreciate the visit they receive from staff and their frequency, but recognise that whilst this is a desirable service, the visits are not absolutely necessary. This service is available to tenants wherever they live based on a needs assessment.

19. The Community Housing Officers who provide this service carry out needs assessments and provide tenants with support plans. This exercise has identified that the majority of tenants consider the alarm system to be important as it provides them with both security and peace-of-mind. The needs assessment and support plans have identified that there are three main types of service user receiving this service.

20. Firstly the majority, older and other vulnerable tenants growing old and living independently in their own homes with the security of an alarm system and visits to check their alarm and update their personal data for the 24/7 Care Centre.

21. Secondly older and younger tenants with long term disabling conditions, dementia or physical disabilities. Generally these tenants also have the alarm system which is their or their family’s means of calling for emergency help but the regular support visits are the lifeline that helps them to maintain the quality in their daily lives.

22. Thirdly for all of these tenants and for other vulnerable tenants without alarm systems either ill health or some major life crisis means that they need more support for short periods of three to six months. During this period either the issues get resolved and life returned to an even keel or their need for a long term more regular visiting service becomes obvious. In addition there are a range of young families and younger vulnerable people, who have problems maintaining their tenancies and are sometimes causing problems to other around them, who can benefit from short term support.

23. After much discussion between the Council and the Supporting People Team three types of support are being proposed for the Community Supporting People service. All tenants receiving the service have had a letter and leaflet explaining the proposals and are being visited and assessed individually by their Community Housing Officer to discuss their need for the new standard of service.

24. The three types of support being proposed within the Community service are:-

a) Careline This would be for tenants who value the safety and security that the 24/7 alarm system provides but are otherwise living independent lives. The Community Housing Officer will visit up to twice a year and regularly check with the 24/7 Care Centre whether the tenant is needing more support. This is the same service that residents in the private sector receive from the Council’s Careline service. b) Enhanced Support This would be for tenants without other support, who have a chronic disability or long term condition which means that with more regular monthly support they are able to maintain their tenancy and stay at home. Many of these tenants will also have the alarm system for emergencies that the 24/7 Care Centre will continue to respond to and resolve.
c) Floating Support This would be a support service for tenants who are having a crisis or some problems in their lives and short term support from the Community Housing officer will enable them to manage much better and maintain their tenancy. This means that in addition to the range of vulnerable tenants that this service can assist, tenants receiving the Careline or even the Enhanced Support service can have the floating support service when they need it. This will also enable the Council to develop a service to support vulnerable tenants and families where their problems can spill over and affect the communities in which they live.

25. When the Community Housing Officers have completed their discussions and assessments with tenants by the end of the year. The numbers of tenants needing each service will be evaluated and the Community Supporting People service will be reorganised to deliver the three much more focused types of support effectively and efficiently in the new year.

Officer Comment

26. The changed arrangements being proposed are being driven by financial necessity. They also reflect the changes in how sheltered housing and community supporting people services are now being managed by other organisations using technology to its full. The aim is to pilot the changes and monitor their impact carefully to ensure the quality of the service is maintained. Residents and staff will be fully consulted on changes being made.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Committee:

1. endorse the approach being taken in relation to piloting changes to how sheltered housing schemes are staffed and monitored;

2. endorse the approach of refocusing the community supporting people service to provide a Careline, Enhanced and Floating support service according to tenant’s needs

3. receive a further report in 2007 about the pilot project and the progress of the review of the Council’s Landlord Supporting People services.
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Background Papers (DoH)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mrs Sheila Goodall Telephone: 01483 523355

E-mail: sgoodall@waverley.gov.uk
comms\o&s2\2006-07\042.doc