Care & Repair – Annual HIA Awards

Jul 19, 2016

Care & Repair Handyperson Service award
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Housing Improvement Agencies recognised for outstanding work

The House of Lords once again hosted the annual awards ceremony for Care & Repair, also known as Housing Improvement Agencies (HIAs), which have a vital role to play in helping older and disabled people to continue living safely and independently in their own homes.

Their role is more important than ever, as a recent report from ILC-UK highlights that more than 50% of people who have an impairment that affects their daily living activities live in a home that hasn’t had any sort of adaptation to make it easier and safer for them to manage. Half a million fewer people are receiving care services now than in 2008-9, despite the fact that the population of individuals with a disability or age-related frailty has increased.

With local authority finances under considerable strain, approaching 2 million people in England – approximately 10% of people over 50 – have a care need that is not met. If they are to be kept out of hospital A&E departments, many of which are already close to breaking point, then services to help keep their homes safe and warm are essential.

HIA Service of the Year Winner

West of England Care & Repair won the award for the best HIA, impressing the judges with the wide range of services offered and the number of customers helped on a yearly basis.

During the previous year, despite experiencing significant cuts and reducing the size of their teams, they have created and started implementing a new strategy and have moved to a multidisciplinary area team model, that includes handyperson, casework, technical, volunteers and home independence centres. The move has created a speedier service for clients that is closely aligned with local health, social care and housing services.

The changes also enabled the agency to respondto 18,500 enquiries with information and advice on housing – and on average they resolved issues within one day. They completed over 14,000 handyperson jobs and their service was rated as good or very good by 92% of clients.

Handyperson Service of the Year Winner

Manchester Care & Repair won the award for best handyperson service, with their team carrying out more than 7,000 jobs last year. However, far from simply offering a small repairs service, the staff work to ‘make every visit count’. All are trained to deliver a comprehensive assessment for home safety and security, and hold level 3 City and Guilds qualifications in Energy Awareness, enabling them to deliver advice on energy efficiency and fuel poverty. Over 90% of initial visits lead to referrals to other services. More than 99% of clients would use the service again and recommend it to others.

Refinements to working practices, streamlined processes and investment in the operatives’ training and development have led to significant improvements in productivity and hence value for money.

Although the labour is free of charge, the HIA actively fundraises and has generated over £17,000 of income in 2015-16 from fundraising activities and donations. In pursuit of sustainability, the handyperson service actively seeks income generating opportunities from complementary activity funded by sources outside the main commissioned service.

Pictured above is part of the Manchester team, with Stuart Barrow (left) who presented their award. Stuart is an independent OT, and runs OTAC (Occupational Therapy Adaptation Conference) events across the UK.

Further resources:

Home Adaptations & Disabled Facilities Grants

Case Study: Property Adaptations For Maintaining Independence

You can find details of your nearest Care & Repair on the Foundations website (it will open in a new browser)


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