Agenda Item No. 7
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 4th December, 2017
Report of the Director of Social Services
Telecare Service Update
Purpose of the Report
To update Members regarding the progress made over the past 12 months by the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Telecare Service.
That the work being undertaken by the Telecare Service is considered by Scrutiny Committee.
That Scrutiny Committee receives annual updates on the work of this service.
Reason for the Recommendations
1&2 To appraise Members of the progress made with regard to Telecare Services.
The Telecare Service supports individuals and their carers, resident in the Vale of Glamorgan, to enhance their independence and to manage risks in their lives through technical solutions.
The service is made of several distinct parts:
TeleV - a chargeable service which supports personal and environment safety and the management of low level risk, available to anyone living in the Vale of Glamorgan; the service is linked to the 24/ 7 monitoring centre at Contact One Vale. In addition there are a number of individuals who are supported in their own homes with a similar service to TeleV from the legacy Vale Community Alarm Service (VCAS).
TeleV+ - a bespoke, specialised service to support individuals who have more complex needs to manage greater risks to their safety and independence; it may be part of a wider support package; charges are dependent on an individual's financial assessment. This service may be linked to the 24/7 monitoring centre or alternatively may alert to a carer or carers.
All installation and maintenance for the TeleV and TeleV+ services is now undertaken by an in-house team.
Housing Schemes - The majority of the Council's Housing Stock has an alarm service currently supported through the Telecare service. This consists of 2 elements, monitoring (through Contact One Vale's 24/7 monitoring centre) and maintenance (provided through an external contract or by the Council's Telecare team).
Recent Government legislation is having an impact on the service in a number of ways. The Welsh Government's Supporting People review will impact on the funding to the service; this has provided a large proportion of the service's income to date. From April 2018 the Supporting People Grant will be provided to individuals on a needs (not location) basis.
A new tender for the monitoring service will need to be in place by October 2018. From this date Supporting People Funding will be for the 24-hour monitoring element only. Maintenance will still need to be provided to the Housing alarm service (utilising the equipment currently maintained through the Telecare service); the implications of this are still being considered.
Further, the transfer from analogue to digital phone lines which will be implemented by 2025 will require development of the service. The move is being supported by the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) industry and British Telecom, but the true implications of this switch-over are uncertain currently. The Vale of Glamorgan Council's Telecare service is receiving advice from equipment manufacturers and the Telecare Services Association, of which it is a member.
Relevant Issues and Options
Staffing arrangements within the small Telecare team are still subject to on-going review; however the team's resources have increased slightly over the past year to ensure that we have a resilient and effective team model fit for future delivery.
The team have undertaken a large amount of promotional work over the past 12 months, focusing on the TeleV service. In particular building links with Health colleagues, particularly promoting the service in GP surgeries and in Hospitals has been prioritised. .
Other areas of promotion have included libraries, leisure centres and supermarkets, through 3rd sector organisations, Bro Radio and the use of the Council's Social Media accounts. New promotional cards, posters and banners have been produced and the website pages for Telecare updated.
The promotion of an 'Installation free' period (utilising resources from an ICF bid with Cardiff), has successfully delivered a significant increase in take-up of the service. Collection of better data will continue to be investigated and utilised, to impact on the effectiveness of such promotional activities.
Telecare Awareness sessions have been run for staff across all agencies. These will continue over the coming year alongside work to strengthen the links that the Telecare team have with Social Service teams. In particular this aims to increase awareness of the TeleV+ service and advances in technology, to enhance take-up of the service, support the management of risks, and increased independence to users and their carers and to optimise any potential cost savings to the Council.
A Service Level Agreement is in place with Contact One Vale (for the 24/7 monitoring and activities related to TeleV); this is monitored through on-going regular reviews.
The development of an online application for TeleV has proved difficult, but progress is now being made, so that access to the TeleV service can be made easier for potential customers.
The number of people receiving TeleV has grown over the past 12 months to the end of October 2017 - the number of active users has grown from 742 to 843 over this period; 292 TeleV installations have been carried out in the 12 months to October 2017, compared to 235 for the same period the previous year.
The number of TeleV+ active users has also increased over the past 12 months, from 135 at the end of October 2016 to 158 users to the end of October 2017, although the number of TeleV+ installations over the past 12 months has dropped slightly - from 87 in the 12 months to the end of October 2016, to 84 in the 12 months to October 2017. There has been a slight increase in the number of referrals received by the team in the last couple of months since work promoting the service with social services teams has begun, so we are hopeful that use of this service will increase further over the coming months. The prospects for continued further growth in both services therefore appear positive.
The Telecare service was subject to another internal audit in early 2017, which indicated reasonable assurance, an improvement on the previous 2 audit reports. It was noted that issues relating to the IT system used to monitor stock control, within the remit of the Council, were resolved.
The service has continued to evaluate good practice across the UK, in relation to the need for service developments. Work has included investigation of new technology, some of which has/ is been trialled in the Vale. We have also analysed the services and costs of a neighbouring Local Authority's commercial Telecare services, in order in help inform the way forward for the Vale's Telecare service.
Evaluation of good practice will remain vital over the coming year in order to inform the possible future direction of the service, particularly with the potential loss of income from Supporting People funding and the switchover from analogue to digital phone lines in 2025.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
There are no direct financial implications as a direct result of this report. However it is noted that the service does need to ensure that it remains financially sustainable. Officers therefore are very mindful of opportunities to maximise funding and this may include considering income generation options.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
None as a direct result of this report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
An effective approach to providing Telecare services will have a positive impact on all sectors of the community.
The work outlined in this report addresses the following corporate objectives outlined in the Corporate Plan 2016 - 2020:
- Wellbeing Outcome 1: An Inclusive and Safe Vale
- Objective 2: Providing decent homes and safe communities
- Action : Provide appropriate accommodation and support services for particular vulnerable groups.
Policy Framework and Budget
This is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
The issue relates to all areas of the Vale of Glamorgan. Therefore, there has been no individual ward consultation in relation to this matter.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
Healthy Living and Social Care
Assistive Technology and Dementia Care Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health), 9th March 2015
Assistive Technology and Dementia Care Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) Update March 2016
Suzanne Clifton, Head of Adult Services/Locality Manager
Sarah Congreve, Assistant Locality Manager
Lance Carver, Director of Social Services