£6m worth of savings for
Hanover residents in last 4 years
A leading national housing provider for
the over 55's, with a number of estates across Merseyside including Maplewood,
Cambridge Road in Southport has once again, exceeded its target to help
residents protect and improve their incomes and save money on energy bills.
For the 4th successive year, Hanover Housing Association's Be Wise service
has generated extra income for residents by providing practical assistance to
help them maximise their incomes, save money with their energy bills, help with
adaptations to their homes and advise on contents insurance designed for their
Each year Hanover has set out to improve residents' finances to the tune of at
least £1million. However, since the service began in 2012 the organisation has
achieved over £6 million worth of savings through increased income and
entitlements via the various Be Wise services.
The success is in a large thanks to Hanover's specialist financial rights,
energy advisers and local housing management teams who have taken Be Wise to
over 170 estates across the UK. This includes providing confidential benefit
assessments, along with the opportunity to look at the various entitlements
residents may be able to access.
In 1 case the financial rights team helped a resident apply for a higher rate
of Attendance Allowance which led to an increase in her housing benefit. Along
with awards of Pension Credit and Council Tax benefit, her annual income
increased by £7,000.
In another example, Hanover's energy efficiency advisor discovered a transposed
meter in a resident's flat which resulted in a refund of £1,600.
The service also provides free phone help lines to answer queries and give
Sharon Moore Financial Rights Manager for Hanover said:- "For several
years we have been seeing a gradual reduction in benefits and welfare assistance
from Government agencies, meaning housing providers are under immense pressure
to deliver the best and most affordable services to residents. By providing
additional support in the form of Be Wise, Hanover is able to help and advise
people on how best to increase their small fixed incomes in order to meet the
costs of living in later years. To have beaten our target so
comprehensively last year was fantastic being able to continually increase the
level of income for our residents is a wonderful achievement."
Councils taking Government
to High Court over funding of assessments for vulnerable adults
LIVERPOOL City Council, Nottinghamshire
County Council, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Shropshire
Council are taking the Government to the High Court in a bid to secure
additional funding for the cost of carrying out social care assessments for
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) assessment ensures that decisions
made on behalf of people who lack mental capacity are being made in their best
interests and do not inappropriately restrict their freedom.
The safeguards apply to people living in Residential Care or Nursing Care Homes,
and to those who are in Hospital. Local Authorities have to decide whether any
requests for changes to care are appropriate, and review the DoLS authorisation
at least once a year.
A Supreme Court judgement in 2014; known as the Cheshire West judgement; has
led to many more people needing to be assessed as it widened the definition of
the term to a larger group of adults.
It also highlighted that people who lack capacity regarding their care, but are
deprived of their liberty, even if they do not resist it, have to have lawful
authority from the DoLS scheme or from the Court of Protection.
A recent Law Commission impact assessment estimated that nationally around £400
million is needed to fund DoLS properly, but the Government has, to date, only
provided a grant of £35 million shared amongst all local authorities.
Now the 4 local authorities have launched a Judicial Review calling for the
judgement to be treated as a:- 'new burden' and fully funded by the
Speaking on behalf of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Paul Brant, Cabinet
member for adult social care and health, said:- "Ensuring that the care
provided is safe, unrestrictive and provided with dignity is absolutely critical
to the health and wellbeing of people with a complex range of needs, their
families and carers.
Councils need to have the capacity, time and money to ensure the rights and
needs of people are protected and this additional financial burden has to be
seen in the context of a 58% cut in Liverpool's budget since 2010. This
action is very much as last resort which we have been forced to take because
Government has failed to heed our pleas for additional resources."
Samih Kalakeche, Liverpool City Council's Director of Adult Social Care and
Health, added:- "We fear that, without sufficient funding, we will be
failing some of the most vulnerable members of our communities."
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council's Cabinet member for adults, added:- "In
the two years since the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West, we have seen
the number of requests for applications for Deprivation of Liberty
Authorisations increase from approximately 160 to 1,400. That, allied to other
significant consequences of the Judgement, and the failure of the Government to
provide adequate funding, has left Shropshire Council and other Councils with
Adult Social Care responsibilities in an impossible position, such that we have
been left with no alternative but to commence these proceedings."
The claim for judicial review has been issued by the High Court and was served
on the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and also the Secretary of
State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clarke, on Monday, 6 June 2016. The
Government's response to the claim is currently awaited.