The Committee received and considered the report from the Tenancy Services Manager.
The Tenancy Services Manager highlighted the salient areas of the report. The review would explore the whole of the sheltered housing offer to tenants both before/during the pandemic and future proof the provision by adapting and refining to the needs of our prospective tenant cohort and the wider community. We would ensure our tenants, the Tenancy Services Team and other stakeholders, including Norfolk County Council Adult Social Services and Age Concern were consulted to understand what service they would like to see delivered moving forward and to understand future needs and demand. We would consider:
• What elements of the service have worked well (pre and during the current COVID
pandemic) and areas that could be improved,
• Tenants preferred communication and support method/frequency,
• Range of services that are desired by sheltered tenants linked to service costs reflecting the
self-funding nature of the sheltered housing service,
• Review of current and future demand and need for sheltered housing over the short and
long term (10-20 years) including care needs and the types of homes and services needed to
meet these needs.,
• Whether the existing types, sizes and locations of sheltered housing properties meet current
and future needs and demand,
• What types of communal provision are required within sheltered housing schemes – for
example laundry rooms,
• How communal rooms can be effectively operated to ensure all rooms maximise capacity to
provide benefits to tenants and the wider community; and
• What other service providers are delivering as part of their sheltered housing offer and best
practice in relation to sheltered housing delivery.
The findings would shape the recommendations we make in our final report proposed to be reported to Housing & Neighbourhoods Committee in early 2022, to ensure tenants received the most effective service to support independent living moving forward.
Councillor Wainwright reported that he welcomed the report which was long overdue and asked for further detail regarding the type of detailed consultation which would be undertaken with tenants. The Tenancy Services Manager reported that consultation would mainly be carried out in person by the Tenancy Support officers.
Councillor Wainwright asked if Members could see sight of the questions prior to the consultation. The Tenancy Services Manager reported that he had no problem with this request but would need management support before doing so.
Councillor Smith-Clare asked for clarification regarding paragraph 2.1 of the report, 4th bullet point, relationship with tenants; understanding the need as tenants often battled mental health issues and social isolation in private. The Tenancy Services Manager reported that understanding the need was a crucial driving factor behind the review.
Councillor Price asked if undertaking the consultation in person would be too resource heavy. The Tenancy Services Manager reported that the majority of sheltered housing tenants had a good relationship with their Tenancy Support Officer and this should not be overly resource intensive.
Councillor Price asked if Ward Councillors who had sheltered housing within their ward would have any input into the review. The Housing Director reported that the consultation questions would be circulated to all Members.
Councillor Martin reported that the warden service had been the heart of a sheltered housing community and that since their departure, communal rooms were under utilised, as few events were run by tenants and she asked what the plans were for these communal rooms moving forward. Councillor Hammond reiterated the need for communal rooms to be up and running again as we came out of the pandemic to help alleviate social isolation and foster a sense of community once again.
The Tenancy Services Manager acknowledged that the communal rooms were the heart of the community and that support would be offered to re-invigorate them moving forwards.
That the Committee approve the approach to the Sheltered Housing Service review set out in the report.