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Paper 11B - 29 January 1999 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

29 January 1999

HOUSING ADAPTATIONS IN HAMPSHIRE

A CODE OF PRACTICE

Report by the Director of Social Services, Hampshire County Council

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the draft Code of Practice for consultation with all partner agencies be noted.

SUMMARY

(1) Adaptations to people's homes are an essential part of Care in the Community, enabling people to stay in their own homes for as long as it is practicable and desirable. At present there are a wide variety of agencies involved in various parts of the process.

(2) It is necessary, in order to achieve clarity and common standards between agencies, to agree a Code of Practice which both defines each agency's roles and sets standards for how those responsibilities can best be achieved.

(3) The Hampshire Code of practice attempts to achieve this in agreement with the wide variety of agencies involved. Representatives of each are taking part in this collaboration which, it is intended, will make a real difference to the quality of the service that the client receives.

INTRODUCTION

1. For each service user who requires adaptations to their home a number of agencies need to work together efficiently and effectively. This is made more difficult because of the complexity of funding arrangements which entail that the best route for the person to go down is determined by a variety of factors.

2. These include variations for owner occupiers, tenants of registered social landlords, tenants of Large Scale Voluntary Transfer Housing (LSVT) Associations and those in the rented private sector.

3. Within Registered Social Landlords, all have their own policies and priorities. They also have different funding streams. For instance LSVT associations transferred before February 1996 have access to different funding from those transferred after that date.

4. Different rules also apply to people who are categorised under different client groups. Similarly the route that a person may go down may be determined by their first point of entry.

5. In addition the funding routes, and eligibility for funding is often unclear with many sources of funding being discretionary while others are mandatory. This point has led to the conclusion that prerequisite for an efficient service is the availability of independent advice for the applicant or service user.

6. A multi agency steering group was formed to develop the Code, from representatives of each sector. A full list of participants is given in the appendix to the Code, copies of which will be available at the meeting.

THE CODE OF PRACTICE

7. The agencies involved in the Code are Social Services Occupational Therapists; Social Services; Environmental Health Grants Officers; Home Improvement Agencies; Housing Departments; Users; Housing Associations; and The Housing Corporation.

8. For each, clear definitions of responsibility are listed, along with standards for the quality and timescales within which these should be achieved. In addition joint working and working arrangements are necessary. consequently areas for joint working are detailed with procedures outlined.

9. It is proposed that responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the Code of Practice will go to the County Accommodation Group (CAG). This is a newly formed group with representatives from Housing Departments, Social Services, the Voluntary Sector, Probations, service users, LSVT, general needs and specialist housing associations and The Housing Corporation.

THE CONSULTATION PROCESS

10. Between January and April there will be an extensive consultation process. Various members of the steering group will be taking the Code of Practice to a wide variety of groups and agencies for comment. These will include the Strategic Housing Group, the Community Care Sub Group of the LSVT Housing Associations and the Chief Environmental Health Officers' Group.

CONCLUSION

11. We believe that the Code will:

- ensure a consistent approach to the quality of service that a person receives across agencies and within agencies

- help to improve standards as we progress and learn better ways of measuring the performance of the different agencies

- clarify the responsibilities of each agency, for the benefit of the agency itself, other agencies, and service users

- help us to clarify what is being provided and what isn't being provided, informing the statutory agencies commissioning role.

12. The Code of Practice will also be a living document with regular reviews and updates reflecting changing circumstances, better knowledge and increasing expectations.

TERRY BUTLER
Director of Social Services, Hampshire County Council

Last update: 22/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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