Sharing home improvement services

The 2018 LGA shared services map lists 559 such arrangements that have delivered close to £1 billion of cumulative efficiency savings.

Last year, the Commons’ Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s inquiry into adult social care considered the delivery of disabled facilities grants. The select committee’s MPs found it to be slow and cumbersome, hampered by the split in responsibility between district and county councils. Yet very few areas have taken the opportunity to remove this split by sharing these services.

One notable exception is the Home Environment Assessment and Response Team (HEART) in Warwickshire, a partnership between the county and district councils delivering an in-house home improvement agency (HIA) service.

Occupational therapists from the county are seconded to work alongside housing staff in the districts, delivering disabled facilities grants and other adaptations, equipment and repairs. It all keeps more people living safe, secure and warm in their own homes.

“Occupational therapists from the county are seconded to work alongside housing staff in the districts

A similar HIA is operating across much of Hertfordshire, this time based in the county council. Again, this joined-up approach is speeding up the home-adaptation process, reducing the risk of falls and injury that come with living in an unsuitable home.

But it’s not just about adaptations. With up to 80 per cent of older people still owning their home in some areas, HIAs can help with cold homes, gas safety, trip hazards, electrical faults and small repairs.

Many also help with making homes safe and suitable for people to return to after a stay in hospital, so it’s not surprising that the select committee recommends every area should have its own HIA.

Foundations is funded by the Government to help local authorities consider the options and to provide support for the commissioning or reconfiguration of HIA services. Find out more at www.foundations.uk.com

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