Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting - 19th October 2011


Report of Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Safety


Vale Community Alarm Service (VCAS) -Council Tenant


Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek Cabinet approval for the purchase of a new Care Alarm Service for Council Tenants.


1.             That the purchase of the TeleV alarm service for Council tenants is approved.

2.             That Housing Capital Reserves be used to pay for the purchase of this new facility.

3.             That current users of the VCAS service without a BT telephone line are offered the opportunity of the line installation costs being paid by the Council up front and repaid through the monthly monitoring charge.  Line rental will be met by the individual tenant.

4.             That Tenants not living within a Sheltered Scheme complex, be given the opportunity to opt out of the TeleV Service.

5.             That Council's Contract Standing Orders are waived in this instance due to the value of the contract and there being only one potential provider.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             The current VCAS system is no longer fit for purpose and requires replacement. 

2.             To allow for the immediate replacement of the redundant alarm system.

3.             The new system works off individual telephone lines rather than the current arrangements of a hard wired system.

4.             Because of the individual connections offered by the TeleV system this will provide the opportunity for tenants choice.

5.             The goods and equipment are proprietary articles and Tunstall as the supplier of the Councils TeleV monitoring equipment will not indemnify against third party alarm equipment.


2.             The current VCAS alarm service provides a 24/7 emergency alarm contact for around 1000 Council tenant users.  The VCAS system is stand alone and cannot therefore be linked/upgraded to any other alarm service/facility.

3.             It is an old system no longer maintained by the supplier although special arrangements are in place whilst we consider an alternative.

4.             A big disadvantage of the current VCAS service is that once it has been hard-wired into a Council dwelling then it effectively becomes a fixture and the tenant is obliged to pay for the service irrespective of whether it is needed/used. 

5.             There is an option to upgrade the current system but this would be expensive at £350k  and would not provide the flexibility of a new more modern alarm system.

6.             Out of hours monitoring is currently provided by the OneVale service and it is proposed that this arrangement will continue with any new system. 


Relevant Issues and Options

7.             The Council currently provides 2 x modern alarm services for private residents.  TeleV which provides as part of a standard package:  An emergency alarm service; radio smoke detectors and extreme temperature sensors; along with a wireless alarm  worn by the tenant.  This system (unlike the VCAS system can be upgraded to TeleV+ as required.) TeleV+ which provides a more bespoke, specialised service which links the tenant remotely to a range of support where there is greater risk to their safety and independence.  To qualify for TeleV+, a resident would need to undertake a Social Care Assessment or self fund.

8.             Monitoring for both TeleV and TeleV+ is through OneVale on a 24/7 basis.

9.             It is proposed that for consistency and equality of service provision the Council extends the TeleV service to Council tenants. 

10.        Some initial difficulties are likely to be experienced because unlike the VCAS system which works on a hard wired basis,  TeleV operates from an individual tenants BT telephone line. 

11.        There are likely to be some tenants who do not have a BT telephone line so arrangements will need to be put in place for those tenants who do not wish / are financially unable to pay the installation costs of around £150 per line. We are unable at this stage to estimate these costs as they will become clear when individual tenants are notified of the proposals.

12.        TeleV and TeleV+ are provided by Tunstall Health Care UK Ltd who is also the supplier of the VCAS system.  Tunstall is the market leader and there is merit in migrating Council tenants onto the same system as other residents in the Vale.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

13.        The cost of purchasing and installing the TeleV system is circa £430,000 including a 5 year maintenance agreement.

14.        In addition there will be an upfront cost for installing BT lines to a number of tenants properties (number a yet to be determined).  These costs will be recouped as part of the monitoring fees. 

15.        It is proposed that the costs of migrating to the TeleV system will be met through the Housing Capital Reserve which has sufficient sums already ear marked for this expenditure. 

16.        Shared monthly monitoring charges for tenants at £4.50 per week will be slightly higher than the current VCAS charge of 3.95 per week which reflects the higher facilities on offer through the TeleV system.  In addition, those tenants who wish to take advantage of the Council paying for the installation costs of a BT line will need to pay an increased monitoring charge of an additional 50p per week.

17.        Any tenant requiring the TeleV+ package will be charged according to the level of care package provided.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.        There are no legal implications arising directly from this report. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.        The provision of an alarm service will enable tenants using the service to have the peace of mind of a 24 hour emergency facility.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.        This proposal will bring Council tenants using the service onto an equal footing with private residents.  The flexibility of the new system will also enable greater accessibility by a larger number of tenants. 

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.        To support vulnerable people to access and maintain housing accommodation and to live safely and independently.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.        This report is consistent with the Council's Policy Framework and Budget and is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

Service Users

Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Safety

Social Services


Relevant Scrutiny Committee

Housing & Public Protection


Background Papers



Contact Officer

Tony Jaques


Officers Consulted

Sian Davies, Director FICT & Property

Bob Waldron, Auditor


Responsible Officer:


Peter Evans, Director of Legal, Public Protection & Housing