Archive for August, 2012

Fire at running track

August 23, 2012

Further to my previous posting, I received the following earlier today:

“I am following on from your email in relation to the fire on the running track at the back of the Glebelands.

We at John Laing are not contracted to maintain this area – I’ve attached a map showing the extent of our area of management for information. I did however pass the area yesterday so popped in to take a look and have attached some photos. It would appear that some type of clearance works have been taking place within the running track area, as there is evidence of branches and vegetation on the middle of the running track.

From what I could see, the area of the fire showed that the grass was scorched but there was no remnants of anything so I can only assume that this was also an accumulation of dried vegetation that was either deliberately set fire to, or a result of a discarded cigarette. I’ve spoken to our Assistant Contract Manager who believes that the Leisure Team may have had another operator working in this area.”

On the relevant facebook group some remarks where made about John Laing that were less than kind so the above maybe of use to some?

I have asked the relevant department at LBH for a response.

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Works at Feltham Arena

August 20, 2012

I observed a question about the recent works at Feltham Arena on the relevant Facebook Group.  Despite me not being asked by email (even though I am generally very prompt in responding), I did make enquiries.  Claims have since been made that I have not been forthcoming.

The response I received *today* was:

“With reference to your email below concerning funding of works currently taking place at Feltham Arena, I can confirm on behalf of Leisure and Corporate Property that the London Borough of Hounslow are not funding these works.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in the reply.”

The insinuations made about me in this case were not in the same league as some of the other comments made.  I have not responded to most but may refer to some of these in the future.

On another matter, I found out 20 minutes or so about a fire by the running track and one claim was made at the same time that I am not interested.  An email has just been posted to Laing and copied to the Leisure team at the Council.  I will post the response I receive on the blog.

Age Concern Building

August 15, 2012

A few residents have contacted me about the above building in Harlington Road West.  Some of the few are impacted by the decision referred to here and others have contacted me in response to that article.  Here is a list of questions I asked a couple of weeks ago and the answers received last week:

1. The driver for this change?
In 2009 a decision was made to pool the funding of a range of services provided by the local voluntary sector to form a universal health and wellbeing tender providing preventative services across the borough. This decision, agreed by the Executive, was to ensure that funding was more targeted, strategic and linked to current policy direction.
Since the decision to withdraw funding from a range of providers, including for Feltham Lodge, Age Concern (Hounslow) absorbed Age Concern (Feltham) to form Age UK (Hounslow).

2. How many, and generally what type, users will be impacted?
The original EIA in 2009 and an updated dated EIA in January 2012 recognised that the service provided by Age UK at Feltham Lodge was in effect providing the equivalent of statutory provision and preventing residents requiring higher levels of support. It was recognised that formal care (re)assessments would be necessary for all existing service users prior to the closure of the service.
There are currently approximately 90 residents receiving services. They attend on average 2 days per week. Individual reviews will need to ascertain both whether clients meets FACS eligibility and also assessed for their level of financial contribution to their personal budget.
All clients currently attending Feltham Lodge Day Centre will be reviewed by care management prior to any change. There are approximately 90 residents receiving services. They attend on average 2 days per week. Individual reviews will need to ascertain both whether clients meets FACS eligibility and also assessed for their level of financial contribution to their personal budget.
Residents attending Feltham Lodge who do not meets FACS eligibility for adult social care will be signposted and supported to access other support including those provided by Age UK through the health and wellbeing tender.

3. What consultation took place with users in advance of the decision?
The decision to pool existing grant funded services to provide funding for universal health and wellbeing preventative services followed a wide ranging consultation exercise on the future direction of older people’s services as well as other preventative services in the borough provided by the voluntary sector.
Public consultation, as well as with the local voluntary and community sector, took place prior to the decision being made. Feedback from consultation was used to inform, both the original EIA (2009) and the revised version in January 2012.

4. What are the timescales for assisting and assessing those impacted by the change?
Officers have been in discussion with Age UK Hounslow regarding the future arrangements for funding Feltham Lodge Day Centre. While a decision has been made to remove the specific block funding from the service, officers have been clear that this does not constitute a decision by the Council to close the service. Instead, the Council has suggested moving to a dispersed model of funding based on personal budgets. This arrangement will take time to consolidate and could present financial risk to the organisation if there is no guarantee of income. So discussions are taking place with Age UK to mitigate against financial risk during the transition period.
Before Age UK are prepared to fully commit to this new model of working a number of issues need to be worked out. Including, level of individual budgets, numbers who meet FACS eligibility, pricing/charging model, and any guarantees of income (at least in the short-term).
Current arrangements at Feltham Lodge clearly need to continue in the short-term whilst a longer-term solution is worked out. It is therefore intended to:

· continue to fund Age UK to provide a day service at Feltham Lodge until at least 31st December 2012, allowing time for the Council and Age UK to work together to effectively develop a dispersed model of funding based on personal budgets.
· complete all care assessments and reviews in this timeframe.
· explore further a new model of working based on charging through personal budgets or for self-funders, which is line with council and national policy.
· provide some guarantee of minimum contract value for Age UK for a set period of time e.g. 6 or 12 months, to allow them to embed the new model while minimising organisational financial risk.
· consider transferring services provided by Age UK at Feltham Lodge to Sandbanks, which is a more appropriate venue and ensures maximum use of this excellent new facility.

5. Does the Council have a view on how viable the remaining services at this building are?
While the building may be used to house activities under the health and wellbeing tender it is not best place to host day centre services for those with greater needs. Therefore, the Council is discussing with Age UK (and other voluntary sector providers) opportunities to deliver activities/services at Sandbanks.

6. I would like to know who owns the Building and what would be done with it if closure goes ahead?

Feltham Lodge is owned by the Council and leased to Age UK (Hounslow) at a low rent on a 20 year lease commencing 1 April 1990 – 31 March 2010.  This lease was subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and therefore considered protected.  This means the tenants are now “holding over” – sometimes known as a continuation tenancy.

Should Age UK surrender the lease the future of the site would be for member decision.”

Please do get in touch if you, or anyone you know, is impacted by the decision and needs my assistance.

Running Track – Feltham Arena

August 15, 2012

A few weeks ago, I noticed a few people using the running track.  A few years ago there was signage stating it was not in use (that signage is no longer there).  As there is no signage and I saw others using it, I took a look.  The track is actually pleasant to run on.
I made some enquiries and asked if the overgrowth could atleast be cut back.

I received the following last week:

“The running track and its surrounding area were not included in the term GM contract.

It has not been maintained regularly since the contract has been let. I have now instructed contractors to tidy up the site and maintain the grass and litter on a fortnightly basis so that it will be ready to vary into the contract held by JLIS at the end of September.

The longer term use of the running track is not yet known but I will get some guidance.

I will look into the signage and see what we should be displaying as this is not a fully maintained track”

I was delighted to see it had been cut back yesterday.  It looks much better.  There some other things that have been pointed out on one of the facebook groups and I will make enquiries about these.