Slough criticised over Best Value plan for supported housing

Slough Council’s Best Value improvement plan is unlikely to
improve supported housing for older people, according to the Audit

The Best Value inspection, which took place last November, gave
the service a star rating of one, where zero is poor and three
excellent. Its improvement plan was poor, and failed to include all
the recommendations from the council’s own earlier review, had no
target dates, few measurable outcomes and only one individual
identified to carry out any of the tasks.

There were strengths relating to the staff providing the
service, but information about the service was poor, and there was
no analysis about how the service should be adapted to meet the
current and future needs of customers, according to a report of the

Weaknesses included the lack of detailed knowledge about the
age, gender, ethnicity and vulnerability of clients using the
service, and a lack of performance monitoring and performance

Inspectors identify several strengths including a major change
to the provision of support to older council tenants. This resulted
in an improved service to people living outside sheltered housing
complexes through more home visits. There were high satisfaction
levels from clients.

To ensure that the council gets to grips with the needs of
residents now and in the future, the inspectors say it needs to
review its supported housing stock and draw up proposals to bring
it up to residents’ expectations. It should set up regular meetings
with social services and supported housing staff, they

Roy Irwin, Audit Commission chief inspector of housing,
acknowledged that since the inspection the council had taken steps
to redraft its improvement plan. “We look forward to seeing whether
the new improvement plan has had an impact on services when we

Rosemary Westbrook, Slough’s town services chief officer, said:
“The difficult bits have already been done. We have revisited the
plan and are confident that the issues raised by the inspectors can
and will be addressed. They are not suggesting that we haven’t got
the capacity to improve – we just didn’t provide evidence of how we
are going to do it.”




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