A consultation helping to shape the future of the Council’s sheltered housing support service has been launched.
Reading Borough Council provides a sheltered housing service to 335 tenants in 10 sheltered housing schemes across Reading. The service makes a valuable contribution to enabling older people to carry on living independently.
The Council needs to ensure that the money it spends and the service it delivers, continues to offer good value, works efficiently, targets support to those who most need it and meets individuals needs.
In November 2010, the Council’s Cabinet approved a review of sheltered housing services. As a result, Council officers have developed proposals for a new way of working comprising five key proposals.
Over the next 12 weeks a consultation team will be asking sheltered housing tenants, their families and other stakeholders including health, care and voluntary agencies for their views.
The main change proposed is that instead of having one sheltered housing officer based at each scheme, seven of the schemes would instead be looked after by two teams of staff, with staff available at fixed times at each site, depending on the level of need of the tenants who live there. The remaining three will continue to have a dedicated officer for each of them.
The hours of on-site time, together with a proposal to amend the weekend on-site cover, are also part of the Council’s consultation. One of the proposals is for one rather than two duty officers to provide weekend cover across the ten sites, with 24 hour a day, seven day a week cover continuing to be provided for all residents through Forestcare community alarm service, which will summon the appropriate response.
Other proposals for discussion are to introduce an activities officer to develop and promote social and health activities across all the Council’s sheltered housing schemes and make them available for older people in the neighbouring community.
The consultation will also ask peoples’ views on changing the way the night service is delivered and tenants’ priorities for officers covering this service. There is also a proposal to open up some accommodation at some schemes to people under retirement age who need specialist housing support provided by their own support worker.
Talking about change can be worrying for older people and so the Council’s sheltered housing officers are hand delivering consultation documents to tenants so options can be discussed.
Additionally all tenants (and their families and friends, if they so wish) will be met individually and in small groups, to ensure everyone has an opportunity for their views, concerns and comments to be heard. This will involve around 120 meetings with individual tenants and their families.
The results of the consultation will determine any final proposal that is made to the Council’s Cabinet.
Residents can fill in the questionnaire online at www.reading.gov.uk/shelteredhousingconsultation and find out more information. Paper copies of the consultation document are available from the Civic offices.
The consultation will run until 16th December 2010