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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 16th April 2012

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Extra Care Housing

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Scrutiny Committee regarding the progress made in the development of Extra Care Housing in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Recommendations

1.             That Scrutiny Committee notes the current position with regard to Extra Care in the Vale of Glamorgan.

2.             That a further report be submitted to Scrutiny Committee by the Director of Social Services and the Head of Housing in six months time.

Reason for the Recommendations

1&2. To ensure effective scrutiny of a key function undertaken by the Council.

 

Background

2.             Extra Care Housing can be defined as purpose-built housing which incorporates access to flexible support and social care services, including waking night staff. This form of accommodation is very popular among those living in such schemes for a range of reasons including:

  • their capacity to promote independence for people within their own home;
  • increased opportunities for social interaction;
  • the availability of comprehensive on-site facilities; and
  • a physical environment specifically built to meet the needs of people with social care needs. 

3.             To support local authorities in developing this type of provision, the Welsh Government made funding available via the Social Housing Grant. In 2006 a competitive exercise identified Hafod Care Association as the preferred provider to work with the Vale of Glamorgan in developing an Extra Care scheme. A joint proposal was submitted to the Welsh Assembly Government in February 2007 and, in August 2007, confirmation was received that the bid for Social Housing Grant had been successful. The submission was based on a proposal to develop a 40 bed Extra Care scheme in Barry in which the units would be for rent.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The bid for funding was based on a proposal to build the new scheme at Salisbury Road in Barry. The site is a former children’s home, now used as office accommodation and a base for the Youth Offending Service. When the funding was agreed, a more detailed survey of the site was undertaken. The report concluded that the land available was not large enough to support the development of a 40 bed unit. It was agreed, therefore, that an alternative site should be identified.

5.             In identifying an alternative site, Welsh Government guidelines were applied. These state that, when choosing the location / site of an extra care scheme, a local authority and its partner should have regard to the broad geographical area and site specific criteria which can include:

  • relationship with the community;
  • easy access to bus and rail services;
  • proximity to retail and leisure services;
  • links to existing services for older people;
  • proximity to other older people’s accommodation;
  • easy access to primary care services;
  • planning requirements and constraints.

6.             As the bid for funding was predicated on a scheme being developed in Barry, work to locate an alternative site focused on the same area. The initial intention was to find a vacant site, given the range of criteria outlined above, the size of the plot required and the need to start the scheme as soon as possible. However, it was not possible to do so until the Theatre Royal site was identified as a strong option for the Extra Care scheme.

7.             Progress in relation to purchase, demolition and rebuild at the site has been the responsibility of Hafod. For the following reasons, there have been delays in the scheme:

  • A survey of the site prior to the purchase of the property identified significant levels of asbestos within the building and this influenced negotiations with the vendor.
  • The Theatre Royal was owned by private individuals and the negotiations were complicated by their particular issues.
  • On the recommendation of the Planning Service and because this is a landmark site in the town, Hafod referred the plans for the building to the Design Commission for Wales. Their report was favourable but this did delay the plans being submitted to the Council for planning permission.
  • The need to remove the asbestos from the site made the tendering process more protracted than originally planned.

8.             Hafod have confirmed that the contract for developing the site has now been agreed and they are due to take possession of the site compound adjacent to the development in April 2012. The contract duration is anticipated to be 90 weeks. The funding from the Welsh Government for the scheme is secure.

9.             Establishing additional Extra Care schemes is made more challenging by the fact that the Welsh Government is not willing to make a commitment to further funding until it has outcomes from research being done to evaluate current facilities. The independent sector is interested in funding various forms of ‘accommodation with care’ options, including older people villages and Extra Care. However, these accommodation units are intended primarily for purchase by those who have considerable assets and any growth in schemes is limited by difficulties in getting bank loans, selling the properties currently occupied, etc.

10.        In this difficult context, the Social Services Directorate has taken a lead within the South East Wales Improvement Collaborative (SEWIC) to explore the opportunities for a regional approach to developing Extra Care and other accommodation with care options. SEWIC has chosen this area of work as one of its five priority workstreams (albeit one with a longer lead-in time than others), with the Director of Social Services from the Vale of Glamorgan as the responsible officer. A project development officer has been seconded from Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC. She has already done considerable work to inform a scoping paper and an analysis of current provision within the ten local authorities. This is attached at Appendix 1.

11.        An important conference was held in March, sponsored by SEWIC, the Welsh Government, the Social Services Improvement Agency and the Older People’s Academic Network based in Swansea University. It brought together representatives from a wide range of organisations to exchange information and to explore what constitutes best practice. The next task for SEWIC is to discuss an Extra Care Business Case paper which contains the following Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis of Extra Care as an accommodation option.

Strengths

  • An additional supportive model to maximise the independence of older people.
  • Ability to meet social care and housing needs in a supportive and enabling manner where the care is provided with the purpose and focus of enabling socialisation – widows in particular are noted to have reduced social isolation within the schemes.
  • Schemes can add to community regeneration, intergenerational work and add to community resources.
  • A developing model with the ability to provide an alternative to traditional services when tailored to meet demands, needs and fit to local communities.

Weaknesses

  • No proven cost savings benefits to social services.
  • Current models in Wales are not meeting the needs of either the physically or cognitively frail elderly as well as home care or residential provisions.
  • A lack of health engagement in the current work within the region.
  • The fit to unified assessment / care programme approach and supporting people assessments and tailoring care packages to meet individual needs – the fit with direct payments and personal budgets.

Opportunities

  • Meeting niche client category needs such as older people with a learning disability or younger people with a dementia (in particular those with Korsakoff's syndrome).
    • Working with health to secure capital and revenue, such as CHC funding, funding in recognition of the prevention agenda, co-location of services or savings from off-setting delivery costs.
    • Developing a hub for specialist services for older people.
  • Training and skill building with extra care staff and social work staff could increase current ability to meet higher care needs.
  • If linked to Communities First agendas and areas, developing schemes as wider community resources could meet multiple needs.
  • Working with health, housing strategy and planning, housing associations and UK wide not-for-profit organisations focused on supporting older people to encourage the development of mixed tenured or privately rented retirement villages inclusive of extra care.

Threats

  • Reduced revenue and capital funding available to local authorities.
  • Welfare reform altering the level and distribution of housing benefit and council tax benefit – additional changes under Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments replacing incapacity based benefits could reduce individuals’ income streams.
  • A lack of long term cost analysis limits the ability to project any savings forward.

12.        More work is needed to develop a better understanding of specific needs within each local authority, current and future, and the Welsh Government is willing to consider providing some funding for this purpose. This would facilitate decisions about the best possible combination of regional and local approaches that will reduce ‘front end’ costs; reinforce the power of local authorities in their contact with the market and link extra care housing developments to wider service modernisation strategies.

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

13.        The Social Housing Grant from the Welsh Government will provide 58% of the capital funding required to build the facility on the Theatre Royal site.  The remaining 42% of the cost of the development will be funded by Hafod Care Association through its existing borrowing arrangements. The Welsh Government has confirmed that the funding is still available to support this development.

14.        The development will provide 40 units for rent. Accommodation charges will be funded from rental and service charge income. Care services will be provided and coordinated through community care budgets. It is anticipated that the cost of these packages will be less than the alternative support offered currently through residential care packages.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.        The partnership arrangement with Hafod will have to be formalised.

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.        There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.        There are no Equal Opportunity implications as a direct result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.        This development meets the Corporate objective “to make the Vale a safe, healthy and enjoyable place in which individuals can live their lives to the full”.

Policy Framework and Budget

19.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.        Consultation events were held by Hafod in relation to this development before submission of the planning application.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.        Social Care and Health

Background Papers

Cabinet report, 20th February 2008

 

Contact Officer

Carys Lord, Head of Business Management and Innovation

 

Officers Consulted

Tony Jaques, Head of Housing

 

Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

 

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