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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 05/02/2008
Proposals for the Future Delivery of Waverley's Sheltered Housing Service


Waverley Borough Council



[Portfolio Holder for Housing and Human Resources: Mrs P M Frost]
[Wards Affected: All]

Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972

Annexes to this report contain exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded during the item to which the report relates, as specified in Paragraphs 1,2 and 3 of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 19072, namely;-

1. Information relating to any individual

2. Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual

Summary and purpose:

Waverley has provided a fully sheltered service with seven day a week onsite staffing in 9 sheltered schemes throughout the Borough. The funding for this service from Supporting People has been reduced by 25% since 2005/06 and will be capped at 24 per week from 2008/09.

In addition recent judgements on the Working Time Regulations have raised issues around what is ‘working time’ in the way that the staff provide the onsite service. Accordingly the Council has had to consider changes to the service.

Over the last 15 months in consultation with tenants and their families alternative service arrangements for the provision of the out of hours service have been piloted. The schemes have been switched over to the Guildford 24/7 Care Centre where experienced staff have managed the emergencies and all the out of hours calls.

Waverley has prided itself in delivering a high quality service in its sheltered schemes which enables frail older people to remain in their homes for the rest of their lives. In considering the future delivery of the service this continues to be the aim to maintain a high quality but less costly service.

The proposals are for each scheme to have a Manager and Assistant Manager providing a weekday service Monday to Friday with cover being provided by the Guildford Care Centre and Waverley’s out of hours services. The implementation of these proposals will be in April 2008 after a further period of reviewing the out of hours arrangements with the staff onsite 24/7 and continuing consultation with the tenants.

Environmental implications:

There are none arising from the recommendations in this report.

Social / community implications:

There are major implications in ensuring that the development of the Sheltered service continues to meet the needs of older and vulnerable tenants to stay at home, to maintain their quality of life.

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.

Resource and legal implications:

The resource and legal implications are fully outlined in the report.


1. In the 1960’s, Councils developed the first Sheltered Housing Schemes and in Waverley Blunden Court, Bramley, was one of the first such schemes in the Country. Waverley had 11 fully Sheltered Housing Schemes across the Borough providing shelter and support for older residents to maintain their independence.

2. The schemes had varying degrees of shared facilities such as bathrooms and w.c’s and over the years had been improved to the then current standards. All schemes have alarm systems linked to the Guildford Care Centre who provide a 24/7 response for our sheltered schemes, as well as other customers.

3. Improvements in health and social care have meant that increasingly older people have been supported to remain in their homes and two of Waverley’s Sheltered Schemes have been de-commissioned due to these demographic changes – Dorlcote, Witley and Rowland House, Cranleigh. The current schemes are:-

4. As a result of a court judgement in the early 2000’s, the Government changed the funding of support which was no longer eligible to be considered as part of the rent and therefore housing benefit would only cover the housing management and maintenance costs ‘ the bricks and mortar’. As detailed below this new regime, which also includes other types of supported housing, was introduced in 2003.

5. Transitional funding arrangements were introduced for local authorities to protect existing tenants affected by this new regime for their lifetime. New tenants being subject to the new regime of separate rent and supporting people charges. Tenants of sheltered housing now receive three strands of service, Supporting People, Tenancy and Estate Management charged as Supported People charge, rent and service charges.


6. The Sheltered Housing and Community Supporting People services provided by Waverley, as a landlord, are funded by the government Supporting People funding regime. 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.

7. In 2005, the Review by Surrey Supporting people team of the sheltered housing service 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. The Council now provides 280 units of accommodation in 9 schemes throughout the Borough.

8. Waverley’s sheltered housing schemes are relatively costly to provide, in comparison with other sheltered housing providers, and the Supporting People Team resolved to reduce its grant to Waverley by 25% over three years. Thus, the grant to Waverley was reduced from 770,000 in 2005/06 to 693,000 in 2006/07; to 616,000 in 2007/08 and will be further reduced to 577,500 in 2008/09.

9. In 2007 Surrey SP team carried out a Strategic Review of Supporting People services for Older People in Surrey. This review has concluded that Waverley has Supporting People funding on services for older people disproportionate to the population of older people.

10. Surrey Supporting People Team propose to achieve more equity of provision across Surrey by capping costs. For the type of provision proposed in the sheltered schemes they are proposing a cap of 18 - 24 a week. The present charge for the sheltered schemes is 29 a week. Thus the Council has to anticipate further reductions in funding from Surrey Supporting People team for the sheltered housing service.

Working Arrangements 11. The Manager and Deputy Manager of each sheltered scheme are required to live onsite and deliver the support service in office hours on the schemes and the out of hours emergency call out service from their homes. The managers work 37 hours per week within a 4 x 24 hour shifts and the deputies work 27.75 hours per week within a 3 X 24 hour shifts. Assistant wardens work part time during the week. 12. Amongst other things, the Working Time Regulations (made in response to the European Working Time Directive) in 1998 limits the extent to which people should be expected to work. Whilst individuals can voluntarily agree to work longer hours, the standard weekly hours limit will be 48 hours. The Council has a collective agreement with the Sheltered Housing staff that waives certain rights under the regulations. 13. Recent judgements on the Working Time Regulations have raised issues around what is ‘working time’ in the way that the staff provide the 24/7 onsite service. This taken together with the reductions in funding are the drivers for this change to service.

Piloting change

14. In October 2006 in consultation with the tenants, 3 schemes were switched over to the 24/7 Care Centre from 6.00pm to 8.00am, although the onsite staff stayed on call. From early 2006 Riverside and Falkner Court in Farnham have been switched over from 8pm until 8am and the calls handled by Guildford because of the enhanced care service where carers rather than sheltered housing staff needed to be called. In consultation with the tenants these hours changed to 6.00pm to 8.00am.

15. A survey of the tenants involved in the initial pilots identified that those tenants who had used the out of hours service had become confident about the response they received.

16. At the beginning of June 2007 after consultation with the tenants the other 4 schemes were brought into the pilot. All the out-of-hours calls have been monitored and analysed over this time.

17. At Riverside, both the Manager and Deputy retired earlier in the year. In consultation with residents the staff worked 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 12.30pm Saturday and Sunday and were not required to stay onsite. The scheme was switched over out of these hours to the Guildford Care Centre.

Learning from the pilots

18. Staff on site and on call responded to out of hours calls because they were resident and our tenants expect them to do so because they always have.

19. The emergency calls have been dealt with well by Guildford Care Centre – more quickly in fact because the emergency services are called immediately instead of staff attending and then acting.

20. A significant proportion of the calls are maintenance and caretaking issues which can be dealt with by our repairs and maintenance contractors. We have specialist maintenance contractors for heating, emergency alarm and fire detector systems and a general out-of-hours service. Arrangements have been put in place to manage out of hours maintenance issues at all Schemes.

21. Staff can and have already changed working practices to manage a service that does not really rely on staff on site to respond on an out of hours basis. Access arrangements with a key and document safe at Riverside.
Key safes for individual flats or external bungalow linked to schemes.
Building security walk rounds between 5 & 6pm instead of 9 & 10.00pm

22. The onsite staff have been dealing with and managing a higher level of repairs and maintenance issues than was previously reported. This has identified that the proportions charged to supporting people versus caretaking and therefore service charges will need to be adjusted.

23. Tenants who have called out of hours have had an excellent service from the Guildford Care Centre. The pilots have helped to reassure residents and staff that the Guildford Care centre can dealt effectively with out of hours calls.

Proposed reorganisation of the sheltered housing service

24. Waverley has prided itself in delivering a service in its sheltered schemes which enables frail older people to remain in these homes for the rest of their lives. This aim has been maintained through the proposed reorganisation of the service.

25. The three key duties of the role of staff in the sheltered schemes are – Supporting People, tenancy management and estate (buildings grounds communal areas, heating lighting lifts and emergency systems) services and the carrying out of these duties will be during office hours Monday to Friday.

26. It is proposed that each scheme has a Manager working 37 hours a week over a 5-day week instead of 4 x 24hour shifts. Because of the need to maintain a high level of service with this frail elderly resident group a second role is proposed of an Assistant Manager whose job description falls between that of the present deputy manager and assistant warden roles. The Assistant Manager will work Monday to Friday 9.00am to 1.00pm and work additional hours to cover the Managers annual leave.
27. The purpose of these staffing levels is to provide a high level of support to residents which also ensure good quality out of hours arrangements are in place for each individual resident. Cover will be provided during staff sickness. It will also ensure the higher level of supporting people funding of 24 per week is received from Surrey Supporting People Team.

28. Service tenancies will be available on all sheltered schemes and we anticipate in the short term that the majority of schemes will retain staff living onsite.

29. Out-of-hours and at weekends the schemes will be switched over to Guildford Care Centre. The Centre will manage emergencies through the emergency services and maintenance calls through an enhanced service provided by Contractors for sheltered schemes.

Managing the implementation of the reorganised service

30. To ensure that the out of hours arrangements are robust, in January all schemes will be switched over to the Guildford Care Centre from 5.00pm to 9.00am Monday to Friday and 12.30pm to 9.00am Saturday and Sunday through to Monday. The staff will remain onsite under their present conditions of service and will only be called if the 24/7 Care Centre is unable to deal with the problem. This will help us to identify any gaps in the out of hours arrangements before the full implementation of these proposals.

31. In Riverside the present pilot arrangements of staffing the scheme Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 12.30pm Saturday and Sunday will continue. These arrangements have been working well.

31. Officers will continue to ensure that residents are confident with the proposals and monitor each scheme to make sure all arrangements in place before the full implementation of the new service in April 2008 in all schemes.

Staffing implications

32. The review has been carried out in consultation with staff and staffside. The new staffing arrangements are shown at (Exempt) Annexe 1. Since the review started permanent staff have not been recruited to vacant posts (relief staff have covered the service) which means that whilst the actual posts will reduce overall from 30 to 18 staff this will affect 23 current staff members. Staff have been offered the option of requesting voluntary redundancy and shown at (Exempt) Annexe 2.

Financial and legal implications

33. The new staffing structure for sheltered accommodation is expected to deliver savings of the order of 311,000 in 2008-09. The support account will benefit from a reduction of 163,000 helping the sheltered accommodation service to break even. The balance of the saving achieved will reduce the charge to the housing management account. The time of staff working at sheltered accommodation is divided between housing management duties, providing support to tenants and providing services that are the subject of a service charge. The allocation of time across these different areas is kept under review and following these latest significant changes, service charges will be reviewed to ensure that they are at an appropriate level.

34. With the expected capping of the SP grant payable for the sheltered service in 2008-09 and referred to above, the support account in respect of the sheltered service is estimated as follows:

Sheltered Accommodation SP Service
Employee Costs 308,550
Careline Charge 65,000
Telephones 11,490
Estimated Total Cost 385,040
Supporting People Grant 290,800
Transitional Support 70,000
Tenant Contributions 30,000
Estimated Balance 5,760

35. The recharge from central communications for the careline service is currently under review and it may be possible to effect further savings in the charge to the support accounts as a whole.


36. The Council has provided an excellent high quality service for frail older people. However as a result of the introduction of the Supporting People regime in 2003 funding from Supporting People has dramatically reduced and is likely to reduce further over time. The Council’s HRA as Landlord and Provider also is required to make a payment of some 44% of its rent to the Government as negative HRA subsidy of 9.5m for 2007/8 and projected at 10.5m for 2008/9.

37. Accordingly the Council has to respond to stark financial realities. Residents at all Sheltered Housing Schemes have been working with our Resident Staff and Officers to ensure that we can maintain the high levels of service at lower costs. The proposed new service will be introduced in a phased manner with staff continuing to monitor all out of hours calls, responses and checking that the arrangements put in place will provide the appropriate responses.
Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee

38. The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered this report at its meeting on 14th January and recognised that changes to the Sheltered Housing service were required because of reduced funding from the Supporting People Regime and judgements relating to Working Time Regulations. Some councillors who had recently visited Sheltered Housing Schemes in different parts of the Borough reported that any concerns they previously had were overcome by talking to the residents who were confident and reassured about the effectiveness of the new arrangements.

39. The Committee fully endorsed the recommendations set out below.


It is recommended that

Background Papers (DoHC)

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


Name: Sheila Goodall Telephone: 01483 523355
E-mail: sgoodall@waverley.gov.uk

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