Home Happening – undertaking adaptations during house modernisation, South Lanarkshire Council Housing Service

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

Age, Home and Community, the Government’s housing strategy for older people emphasises the need to make best use of existing housing, where most older people live.   South Lanarkshire’s housing service has been experiencing a significant increase in the demand for adaptations, reflecting the growing needs amongst its tenants.  These adaptations are undertaken, as everywhere else, as and when an approach is made and often at a point of crisis in a person’s life.

The Council was keen to find a way to make its housing stock more suitable for older and disabled people when housing was being upgraded. This would benefit the tenant by assessing their individual needs and ‘anticipating’ needs which might arise later, and have cost benefits for the Council by adapting properties at scale.

What you did?

The Council put in place a programme of major improvements to upgrade kitchens and bathrooms in all its housing stock.  It started in 2004 and the main programme was completed in 2012 with over 25,250 homes having had improvements carried out..

The Council employed Occupational Therapy staff to work with the programme to provide flexible long term solutions within the standard design specification, e.g. lever taps, and to assess the individual needs of tenants where it was identified that they needed specific solutions.

The Council also improved its records of adapted housing stock, by capturing details of adaptations already installed in properties as part of the pre-works visits to tenants and on completion of the works.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

In total 2,511 properties have had adaptations carried out.  The proactive programme has reduced the number of responsive adaptations that have been carried out to Council housing stock from 2,023 adaptations at a cost of £2.6m in 2005/6 to 1,328 adaptations at a cost of £1.9m in 2012/13.  This is an even more significant decrease when set against the increase in the humber of older people households during the same period, and has helped the Council continue to meet the overall demand for adaptations.  The programme also improves the longer suitability of the housing stock for older people in the future.

There have been high levels of customer satisfaction throughout the programme and we have consistently achieved our target.

Contacts - to find out more

Carol Lee
Email: carol.lee@southlanarkshire.gov.uk
Tel: 01698 454739