Thumbs down for Best Value plan

Slough Council’s Best Value improvement plan is unlikely to
boost supported housing for older people, said the Audit Commission
last week.

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 described as poor, and failed
to include all the recommendations from the council’s own earlier
review. No target dates were set, there were few measurable
outcomes and only one individual was identified to carry out any of
the tasks.

Although there were strengths relating to the staff providing
the service, information about the service was poor and there was
no analysis of how the service should be adapted to meet the needs
of customers, the inspectors’ report stated.

Weaknesses included the lack of knowledge about the age, gender,
ethnicity and vulnerability of clients using the service.

Inspectors identified 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.

Audit Commission chief inspector of housing Roy Irwin said: “We
look forward to seeing whether the improvement plan has had an
impact on services when we return.”

Slough’s town services chief officer Rosemary Westbrook said:
“We have spoken to the inspectors about the report. They are not
suggesting we haven’t got the capacity to improve – we just didn’t
provide evidence of how we are to do it. we are confident that the
issues raised will be addressed.”

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