What most people have failed to recognise is the change in funding for housing related support services such as sheltered housing. The Governments Supporting People programme introduced in 2003 is now the main source of funding for scheme managers / wardens as these costs are no longer met by housing benefit.
Each Local Authority’s Supporting People teams have to ensure that the grants they pay to providers (such as RSL’s) are used for a cost effective delivery of housing related support. Scheme Managers roles are much more defined. This means that a multitude of forms, health & safety checks and support plans have to be completed by the scheme manager and have to be evidenced by the Local Authority to ensure that grant is continued to be paid. Scheme managers no longer have time to sit down and have copious cups of tea or discuss the weather, etc but have to concentrate on providing housing related support to those that need it.
I work for a housing provider which you can probably gather from the content of this. I personally think that technology is the way forward – not replacing scheme managers per se but in addition to. A fall sensor, for example will detect at any time of day or night if a resident has fallen and will once and for all put a stop to the unnecessary pressure felt by most scheme managers that they may not have been in the flat when a resident fell. The Government should perhaps provide more grant funding for assistive technology, redefine sheltered housing and bring it into the 21st Century.