Whats going on?
11/12/2009 11:52 am
Yesterday, IH posted a news article on a very important legal case Garbet v Circle 33. This was the first case to be decided on the removal of sheltered housing wardens and was decided on Monday 7 December.
I commented on this and then the article disappeared. Interestingly legal websites are amazed that the transcript is not available yet in the public domain - It cant be found anywhere.
Before this is labelled as some form of 'conspiracy theory' there was a discussion of this case on Radio 4 programme You and Yours on Thursday this week and so undoubtedly this csae is in the public domain.
So for whatever reason this article has been withdrawn on this site (and i presume it is legal and not because of potential advertising revenue loss to IH) I will restrict my comments to what the radio interview said.
The landlord was found not to have consulted with tenants and acted unlawfully. The court decision on the remedy was not however to make the landlord reinstate the warden.
This is a seminal case in housing law of interest to many on this site yet IH for some reason have chosen not to report on it. Why is that?
If the editor of this site had emailed me to give reasons why it was removed I would not need to post this comment - yet in that absence it is clearly in everyones interest and especially IHs interest to comment on why they have chosen NOT to report such an important news item here
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04/01/2010 11:00 am
I have watched this thread with some interest but unfortunately this could be an argument that could carry on in circles forever, despite very valid points on all sides.
I dont deal too much with the fineries of SP, but I do know the popularity of wardens/Scheme Managers relies on many different facets, not just the provision of funding. Sheltered Accomadation Schemes can be quite insular in their internal dynamics and as such the question of needing an office based/residential support within the scheme can change as the needs of the tenants change, but unfortunately many services are not reintated once removed, and usually this means the scheme manager or warden.
04/01/2010 11:26 am
Lynn, I have to disagree and state, however unfortunate it may be, that schemes managers do rely on their funding - whether that comes from SP or increased resident costs, it remains the case that bottom-line is the key sustainability decision. The absence of this simply provides enough reason for its demise in the eyes of commissioners.
Harry - is personalisation a choice? If the only choice is the lowest choice or lowest cost choice (ie pendants) is that real or Hobsons? If tenants and specifically those that are self-payers try to exercise the 'choice' that is pick and choose on an individual basis, they will soon find that the only choice is (non-personal) pendants as providers of personal support services will have no choice but to flee this alleged 'marketplace.'
Personalisation is superficial choice that very very quickly will lead to little or no choice or, increase cost as supply lessens that choice forcing up cost.
04/01/2010 11:38 am
Sorry Joe first day back at work and a head full of Christmas cold, so big words and good grammar are eluding me today. Absolutely; I agree the bottom line of the SM service is funding, but my point was that there may be other defining reasons for pulling an SM service when funding isn't an issue, one of those being what tenants believe their own supports needs are.
04/01/2010 11:43 am
Harry Lime, Mon, 4 Jan 2010 10:57 GMT
"... the point I made was a valid one, I managed over 16 schemes as an area manager once - what's your experience in the field? Anyway, as the demand for social housing grows ever stronger many people see the "over 55" schemes as a route in despite the fact that many of them are still working and have no "real" support needs... "
Because you state you have managed these schemes does not mean:
1) you have managed them properly;The only ones that can say that are the residents you managed.
2) that you had in any way taken into accounts your residents real needs.The only ones that can say that are the residents you managed.
3) other managers like you do not have a very different view from yours;
Your taking issue that some residents might not have real support needs must not mean that you have to castigate and punish those residents who have real support needs.
These are the only kind of residents we are talking about, those with real needs. If residents have not real needs they obviously should not have them. But who has and who has not support needs is a different issue to be resolved separately and not by abolishing wardens.
Just to make it clear to you, the residents, those with real support needs, see wardens as an essential service, the majority of all other residents support their view and are behind them.
Now if you care about that just get it across your boss where you work instead of splitting atoms.
04/01/2010 11:59 am
Joe: I do agree with you that the pendant choice is the lowest cost choice, but the scenarios I've outlined is for those who are obliged to receive certain levels of support as outlined by their tenancy but due to their circumstances (e.g 55, working, etc) don't really need it, so will go for the lowest cost.
Some RSL's have been caught out as they;ve assumed that the tenancies that mention the residents are obliged to receive a certain service often isn't explicit as to where that would come from - remember many tenancies are 10/20/30 years old and these circumstances weren't always anticipated. Therefore those obtaining cheaper services elsewhere aren't necessarily breaching their tenancies.
I absolutely agree that personilastion is effectively an erosion of choice for the reasons you've given, sustainability of organisations when they haven't certainty of funding is always going to be hard. However I believe the agenda will continue, even under Labour, however the tories will inevitably ramp it up a notch, some form of PFI personalisation or something like that I'd wager.
Kass: It's absolute folly to "only" talk about those in absolute need as that's not a reflection of how the majority of these schemes are made up, I'm not taking a high ground on this but anyone working in the sector will tell you of the diversity of ages/abilities/needs of people in such a scheme. To do anything else would make this conversation purely theoretical and we could find a "solution" immediately, the reality is massively different, hence the court cases and the current debate.
To only support those with "real" needs would be to retrosectively deny current tenancies which would be an absolute nightmare to try and do. Equally to restrict certain schemes to people with only certain needs again would cause problems as RSL's couldn't sustain long void periods if such residents weren't available, and it can be harder than you think to fill over 55 vacancies, especially in certain areas or with schemes and assets of a certain age.
04/01/2010 12:13 pm
Mon, 4 Jan 2010 11:59 GMT
...To only support those with "real" needs would be to retrosectively deny current tenancies which would be an absolute nightmare to try and do. Equally to restrict certain schemes to people with only certain needs again would cause problems as RSL's couldn't sustain long void periods if such residents weren't available, and it can be harder than you think to fill over 55 vacancies, especially in certain areas or with schemes and assets of a certain age."
No, you do not have to do anything retrospectively.
Look, once the formula for what real needs are, has been found...
Every new schemes for tenants with support needs will have wardens as part of tenancy. Those in existent schemes will have a choice to stay in their exitistent schemes where the wardens might have to go or move in the new ones with the wardens. Gradually over the years the old schemes will die out and the ones with real needs residents will go on growing until these will be the only ones around.
But the acting principle must be for social landlords to get moving in delivering what their residents need and ask for and to stop blanketing out residents with real needs with all sorts of fake remedies and downright lies.
04/01/2010 12:28 pm
Kass I don't disagree with any of what you've written, but it's all theoretical. What "formula"? where is the funding going to come from for the new schemes? What will happen to the old schemes that people vacate? What will be done in the interim 10 years before this vision could be realised? Landlords will deliver what people want, providing it's sustainable and people are happy to pay for it.
The current situation suggests that's not the case currently, or more precisely the people are happy to pay for it, but the govt, through SP or whatever won't pay the required rates. BTW, I'm not asking for answers to the questions above, they're intended to be rhetorical!!
04/01/2010 12:40 pm
I do not what a formula for real needs is. This has to be found out by all concerened parties working together - and certainly not top down.
But once found a co0mrpomise for what this formula is, then obviously things can go forward as I briefly outlined.
The complexities you talk about can not be an excuse for not moving forward. When some stubborn savage first invented the wheel, I bet it looked very much like an octagon and all the other savages must have called the guy mad or even threatened to kill him. I mean, it takes time and years for things to run smoothly, but you got to start in the first place.
04/01/2010 12:59 pm
Kass - the formula for assessing need came after the funding was decided. To explain, sheltered housing providers were told that each individual tenant didnt need an individual support need assessment to determine the funding they got, rather it was paid in a block.
So sheltered providers just tweaked the existing system slightly and funding of circa £12 per perpsn per week flowed. Then the same providers were told that everybody would need an individual assessment for support need - but no more money would flow from this.
The cost of a full individual needs assessment that need to be done at least every 6 months, swallows up all of the £12 per week or £600 per year they receive, thus leaving no money to actually deliver the support services that the support needs assessments say id needed!
If thats sounds like Kafka, then it is.
So, the 'formula' you are looking for has also been decided on a top-down basis and even when it needs to change, there is little point in all parties getting together as no available funding will flow from it to change the system.
Hence, vulnerable tenants in sheltered housing AND their providers (landlords) have also been shafted by the SP system. It is this regulatory systemic farce of Kafkaesque proportions that has created the mess that has led to (much needed) warden removal.
Very regrettably, the sheltered housing sector has known this would happen since early 1999 - over 11 years, yet all have adopted the ostrich syndrome (providers, landlords, councils, commissioners, older persons lobbies) - with the notable exception of tenants themselves who have had the mushroom syndrome.
The sheltered housing sector, all those that have adopted the ostrich syndrome above, have refused to see that change is needed to ensure the resident warden model (RWM) survives, and have failed to deal with the anomaly I mentioned earlier - that the RWM unlike all other accommodation-based services in supported housing allows entry when tenants may not have support needs. Its this historical problem that has not been addressed but now needs to be - and it raises huge serious questions that the ostrich participants wished to avoid but now cant.
Do we move tenants that have no support needs? How can we demonstrate to tenants that the £10 ppw they have been paying has been (historically) subsidised and we need to charge £20ppw? These are just some of the 'painful' questions that need to be addressed.... that would have been (possibly?) in the run-up to 2003 if government had decided then that every tenant in the RWM needed an individual needs assessment.