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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/02/2005
Developing Extra Care Sheltered Housing in Farnham

Summary & Purpose
This report advises members of proposals for the Council’s sheltered housing service to work with Surrey County Council Adults and Community Care (Social Services) to provide higher levels of care and support within two sheltered housing schemes in Farnham. This initiative is in line with the County Supporting People Strategy and will be funded from resources made available by the County Council. The County Council will expect to be able to make nominations to a number of the vacancies that arise in these sheltered housing schemes for elderly frail people who need higher levels of care and support than are currently available to them.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Resource Use
Prevention and Control
and Nature
Safe, Healthy
and Active

E-Government implications:

There are no E-Government implications arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct resource implications arising from this report, because the revenue funding required for this initiative is being provided by Surrey County Council. The longer term financial implication is that these two sheltered housing schemes will clearly be within the scope of the Supporting People Strategy and will continue to be eligible for support through that route. There should be fewer vacancies for long periods, which gives rise to loss of rental income. It is envisaged that a formal Memorandum of Understanding will be entered into detailing the respective roles and responsibilities of each of the parties.


1. In the last thirty years the nature of sheltered housing and its clientele has changed dramatically. Thirty years ago it was not unusual for people in their late fifties and early sixties to move into sheltered housing. Life expectancy was shorter and there were relatively few people in sheltered housing schemes in their 80’s and 90’s. By comparison, in February 2004, an age audit across Waverley’s sheltered housing showed that the 336 residents in occupation spanned the following age ranges:

Age Groups
60 - 65
66 - 70
71 - 75
76 - 80
81 - 85
86 - 90
91 - 95
Number of Residents

2. For a variety of reasons the pattern of occupation in sheltered housing schemes has changed over the years. These include: people living longer; people ageing better and being fitter and healthier into later life; having higher expectations of services and people wanting to live in ‘their own home’ for as long as possible. Social care policy at national and local levels has enabled the desire for people to live in their own home through the policy of Community Care and home based services.

3. One of the challenges facing Waverley’s sheltered housing ‘business’ is that there is something of an over supply of sheltered housing in the Borough in relation to the need and demand. Not only does the Council provide sheltered housing, but so does the charitable sector and housing associations.

4. The Council has already recognised some of these challenges. It has supported Mount Green Housing Association to demolish one of its schemes in Godalming and replace with general needs accommodation. The Council has also agreed to decommission and ultimately demolish Dorlcote at Witley; and to decommission Rowland House at Cranleigh with a view to redevelopment.

5. There are a number of sheltered housing schemes in Farnham:

o 3 owned by the Council;
o 1 owned by Humanist and St Pancras Housing Association;
o 1 owned by Raglan Housing Association; and
o 1 owned by Downland Housing Association.

6. In addition, there are a number of leasehold schemes for the elderly, almshouses for the elderly and a number of properties managed by the Abbeyfield Society.

7. The County Council’s Supporting People Strategy recognises that across Surrey there is an oversupply of traditional sheltered housing. At the same time, there is an under supply of “Extra Care Sheltered Housing” which can provide for the needs of very old and frail people.

8. Waverley’s sheltered housing has been extremely successful in meeting the needs of older frail people. However, the Council is primarily a landlord and not a ‘care provider’. The duties of scheme managers is to manage the housing scheme, deal with landlord matters, to look after the general welfare needs of residents and to co-ordinate any additional support that is required by residents – but not to provide care. They also provide a ‘safety net’ by being on 24 hour call to deal with emergencies as and when they arise.

9. One of the issues facing some tenants of Waverley’s sheltered housing is being able to manage without additional care as they grow ever older. Some residents potentially face a move to residential care and this move can be a considerable upheaval. It is also recognised that this can be a potentially expensive option for both the residents and the County Council.


10. Surrey County Council’s long-term strategy is to provide care choices for older people and to reduce the reliance on Residential Care bed-spaces. This in turn requires alternative forms of care and support.

11. Extra Care Sheltered Housing is seen as an effective and popular alternative to Residential Care allowing older people to remain in their own homes with on-site care services provided by County Council/PCT care staff available to them 24 hours a day. This model of Extra Care Sheltered Housing has been piloted at Dray Court, in Guildford.

12. Following discussions with our partners in Adults and Community Care and the Health Service, your officers propose to develop an Extra Care Sheltered Housing Service at two existing Sheltered Housing Schemes in Farnham. This will enable existing residents to continue to live in ‘their own home’, rather than have to move into residential care; it will mean that elderly people who are on the cusp of needing sheltered housing/residential home can be accommodated in a sheltered housing facility; and that the accommodation that Waverley provides is also providing services in line with the County Council and PCT’s strategic intention. This will enable this service to be financially viable into the future.

13. It will also assist with overcoming some of the lettings problems the service has experienced in recent years where applicants have been living in their family homes for many years, but are considered too frail to move into traditional sheltered housing. Many of the applicants on the Council’s Housing Needs Register who are seeking sheltered housing are in this category, and there are few ‘younger’, independent, older people seeking sheltered housing.

14. ‘Extra Care’ services include: helping people to dress and undress; washing and bathing; putting to bed and getting up; helping with toileting; administering medicines etc. These are personal care activities, which the staff of this Council do not undertake, and are not employed nor trained to do.

15. It is proposed that a dedicated in-house Home Based Care Team be established to work across two sheltered housing schemes in Farnham. These staff will be employed by Surrey County Council. They will provide ‘on-site’ cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to provide round the clock care for up to 7 tenants at each scheme who require Extra Care. The service would also be available to other tenants in the Schemes as required in an emergency. This would enable Care Services to be immediately available to all our tenants in both Schemes without the need for, sometimes lengthy, liaison with Care Managers before a service can be commissioned.

16. The existing Sheltered Housing Staff team would continue to provide housing support and work alongside the Home based Care Team. There would also be close liaison with the Health Service in order to co-ordinate services from General Practitioners, District Nurses, Community Mental Health Teams and other health professionals.

17. Waverley will need to provide accommodation for the 24 Care Team and this would be achieved by creating a dedicated office and rest area within one of Waverley’s sheltered housing schemes in central Farnham. Any capital costs of creating an office will be found through the project development budget and will not be a call on Waverley.

18. Of course, as with any activity there are potential risks as well as opportunities. Some of the risks for Waverley have been identified as:

o Care Staff absences, which in turn may affect the day-to-day running of the scheme, but this will be mitigated by the County Council hiring agency staff or redeploying other care staff.

o A perception that these sheltered housing schemes are residential homes, and a potential change in clientele to people with very high care needs. Any publicity and literature about the schemes will make it clear that these are primarily sheltered housing with Extra Care and an explanation of what this means.

o A breakdown in relationships between the parties. This risk can be reduced by regular liaison meetings at operational and policy levels.

19. A full risk appraisal will be undertaken as part of the project development plan. This model of working has already been adopted by Guildford Borough Council at one of its sheltered housing schemes and is being extended to another. Lessons from the Guildford project are being applied to the Waverley initiative.

20. The greater risk for Waverley is that because there is an apparent surfeit of traditional sheltered housing and a limited demand amongst relatively fit elderly people, if this part of the housing service does not respond to the changing market, there may be increasing revenue loss through voids and loss of revenue support from Supporting People.

21. Extra Care Housing in Farnham would provide a valuable alternative to Residential Care and would enable more people to remain in their own homes, living as much an independent life as possible.

Financial and Legal Implications

22. There are no financial implications directly arising from this report as the care staff and their facilities will be provided by the County Council at its expense.

23. There will need to be a formal agreement between this Council and the County Council to clearly establish the relationship and responsibilities. The County Council is also asking that they have seven nominations to flats in these two sheltered housing schemes. It is your officers’ view that this is reasonable in the circumstances and should help with more effective lettings and by being able to assist people who, in the past, the Council has not been able to assist.


24. The proposed initiative to introduce an Extra Care facility into two sheltered housing schemes in Farnham is a timely opportunity. It will help Waverley with the lettings process – by being able to assist very frail people, who hitherto, have been unable to access or remain in sheltered housing due to the lack of an appropriate high level of care. It is also in line with the County Supporting People Strategy and other strategic directions in respect of home based care and support.


It is recommended that the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee receives this report and commends this initiative to the Executive.
Background Papers (DoH)

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


Name: Mr J Swanton Telephone: 01483 523375
E-mail: jswanton@waverley.gov.uk