Older Persons' Partnership Minutes

Older Persons' Partnership Minutes

Wednesday 19 June 2013
1:00 p.m.
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

J Rostron, (Chair), Hubbard, P Purvis, J Sharrocks, J A Walker
N Aston, B Brown, D Donaldson, S Harker, L Harrington, T Parkinson, P Wright
Apologies for absence:
were submitted on behalf of Councillors Harvey and Saunders
Declarations of interest:

There were no declarations of Interest at this point in the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the meeting of the Older Persons Partnership held on 6 March 2013 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.




ILOP Handyperson Scheme


A copy of the ILOP Handy Person Scheme - Issues and Proposed Alternative Arrangements - was circulated. Concerns had been raised by the Senior Citizens Forum at the last meeting on 6 March 2013 in relation to proposed changes to the operation of the handypersons scheme operated by the Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS). A new charging mechanism for the scheme had been proposed as £15.00 for the first hour (or part thereof) and £10.00 for each subsequent hour. The concerns were that this would make the service unaffordable to many of the borough’s most deprived and disadvantaged older people.


Two elements of the ILOP service transferred from the Council to the Voluntary Service 3 years ago. The good neighbour scheme and the handyperson scheme. The handyperson scheme current charges were £6.00 per half hour (or part thereof) and £10 per hour plus cost of materials for any help provided. The service was operating at a loss. Income generated did not even meet direct costs (employee vehicles and equipment). In 2012/13 an income of £11,000 was generated that meant the Royal Voluntary Service had subsidised each customer by £10.91. To date the Royal Voluntary Service had absorbed these costs but this could be no longer maintained.

Based on the losses it was accepted that the Royal Voluntary Service could no longer sustain these and discussions had taken place to design an alternative solution. Social Care, via its Ayresome Industries facility, would take over a contract for a provision of services to fit various aids and adaptations. Ayresome Industries would be able to introduce a low-level handyperson scheme in addition to the current service with the current contract price. This scheme would be accessible to any older person in receipt of pension credit guarantee. The service would be subsidised but a small membership or hourly charge may apply.

It had been identified that a proportion of current users of the Royal Voluntary Service might be in receipt of benefits and could therefore purchase services via a Direct Payment from social care, where there was an identified need for assistance.

It was proposed that other service providers were being considered  and people would be able to access a low cost service of their choice through Direct Payments. The Chair enquired as to whether the Council could offer a free service. It was clarified that there would be a minimum cost.

A representative stated that senior citizens were not happy with the increase and that it was too much for older people to pay £10.00 and £15.00.   A letter had been sent to the Chief Executive of RVS about the cost increase, although to date a response had not been received. A representative from RVS stated that they were aware of the letter and that a response would be generated. It was highlighted that to enable the service to run it had to be sustainable.

It was queried whether there would be any flexibility in the cost for the service.  For example, if the callout was only for a 15 minute job. It was noted that the biggest cost was the first initial call out charge. It was proposed that a tiering system would be introduced and that volunteers might deal with quick jobs so that there could be flexibility in the costs.  However the RVS could not afford to maintain the scheme at the current price.  RVS commented that their service would still maintain the same quality.  They were aware of other services and would be signposting to others. 

A piece of work had been commissioned to produce a directory of services in Middlesbrough similar to the one issued by Social Care. Different Services would assess people’s needs and signpost access to these services. 


There were no items for this meeting.


Only 47.7% of people with dementia had a formal diagnosis, early diagnosis meant a better prognosis.  The Mayor had launched his response to the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia during Dementia Awareness Week.  This included identifying GP surgeries that were less likely to refer.  At present Tees Esk and Wear Valley Memory Clinic currently diagnosed people within 6 to 8 weeks.  The clinic would work with GPs to manage physical problems to enable medication to be prescribed. Other support post- diagnosis included Social Care, Support Services such as Sanctuary, advice from DVLA regarding driving, and advice regarding finances, for example; Lasting Power of Attorney.  


A pen picture of a person could be created so they could keep it with them.  This would show such things as their likes, dislikes, wishes and feelings.  A list of support services for people with dementia and their carers had been produced.  There was mention of an Intensive Community Liaison Service provided by TEWV which would work with people to enable them to remain at home for as long as possible and with care homes to provide the best care and treatment as the illness progressed.  Also as the illness progressed there was respite care, residential care, nursing care and specialist challenging behaviour care.  Services for the BME community included Becon and Aapna Services raised awareness of dementia and the need for early diagnosis, support groups and activities, provided telephone support and influenced the development of services to ensure that language and culture was taken into account.   South Tees Foundation Trust launched the Dementia Strategy in July 2013 and the main  priorities were information, improving care, education, developing partnerships, improving environments and staff awareness and training to ensure that South Tees was a dementia friendly hospital.

A key challenge was to ensure Middlesbrough was a dementia friendly community by,  for example, increasing awareness of demention for staff in shops, on public transport, and generally in the community.  Also ensuring that people would seek assistance from their GP, and thus improve end of life care for people with dementia.

The Strategy and Delivery Manager for Mental Health stated that early diagnosis was crucial. Whilst Dementia could not be cured, the effects could be slowed down. Efforts to improve the diagnosis rate were being made nationally.   Being able to stay at home and receive support could help. Some relatives were not told that their family member was suffering from dementia at an early stage.  It was important that the balance concerning privacy was right. If a dementia sufferer had the capacity  they could give consent, however,  if not, others could make best interests decisions. Some people were reluctant to talk about dementia  and access services. There were leaflets available in the library.


The Lead Officer from Telecare presented a detailed report on Reliable GPS Tracking Devices to support vulnerable people.  They had been available since 2008.  Although there was initial concern about their use for people with dementia, feedback from people with dementia, and their family carers has allayed much of this concern.  The device could provide support and reassurance for both the individual and their family members, allowing continued independence and participation in the community.  It helped manage the risks for the person with demention both within and outside the home.

Further funding in 2012/2013 was obtained to increase provision from 10 devices to 20 devices. There had been 51 referrals between April 2010 and April 2013. 11 were withdrawn prior to assessment, the devices were deemed unsuitable for 13 individuals, 8 have benefitted from the device for a period of time but have become unable to continue to manage the device, had entered full time residential care or died. 19 devices were currently in use.

There were two different devices available. One, the Buddi was a small black 5cm device that the individual must carry on their person. The other the VEGA, was similar to a chunky wrist watch. A questionnaire was devised and 92% of those responding said that the device had helped them to leave their home safely and keep more active. 84% felt that the device had helped them to feel less isolated, safer,  and gave them greater peace of mind. 92% of family carers said that the person they cared for carrying the GPS device had reduced their stress levels and enabled them to continue their own lives.

Prior to using the devices some families had been locking doors and hiding keys to prevent the person going out, potentially putting the client at risk.

Provision of the device cost £55.00 per month per person including device cost, GPS services, monitoring and response equivalent to one hour of care per week.  It was becoming more acceptable to use GPS tracking devices and the range of devices were becoming more user friendly.  As the retail market developed it was anticipated that costs would reduce. The key issue for people with dementia was the ability to manage the risks around the person, without limiting their ability to continue to do the things they were able to do.

The Lead Officer from Telecare stated that they had lots of referrals for people with dementia especially for the pendant alarm. One of the members noted that the maximum cost was now £3.99 following a review that was carried out. It had to be a viable service to keep going and it needed to be publicised. It was better to keep people in their own home where it was safe to do so.


A copy of the Forward Work Programme had been circulated. The title of the Older Persons Housing Strategy had been changed to Older Person’s Housing Needs and Priorities. The Housing Officer agreed to circulate a copy of the document.


The event held at the University of Teesside on 5th June went well with over 130 people attending. There were information stalls and various organisations were present.  A lady from the pharmacy in James Cook Hospital  gave a speech on the correct storage of medicines and the awareness of poisons.  The emergency services were also in attendance, as well as the Director of Public Health. Another event would be organised in the future.  It was highlighted that on 29th July a similar event would be held at Easterside.

The Chair asked the representatives of the Middlesrough Senior Citizens Forum if they could supply any information available regarding ILOP users to the Director of Transformation.

There was a discussion as to membership of the Older Persons Partnership. The Chair agreed to liaise with the Executive Office with regard to current membership.



There was no scrutiny update for this meeting.


A flyer had been circulated for information.

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