Plans to withdraw a community alarm monitoring service and direct people to
providers who can offer a cheaper more bespoke service will be discussed at
a meeting of Basildon Council’s Cabinet today.
The proposal to withdraw the current service and procure an alternate
service for tenants living in sheltered accommodation for the over 60’s
follows an extensive consultation exercise.
A number of factors including the withdrawal of housing related support
funding from Essex County Council means that unless the cost to service
users is increased significantly, the service is not sustainable. Tenants
in sheltered accommodation and on housing benefit have not previously paid
for the service but the withdrawal of funding means that from April 2017
all recipients of the service will have to pay and it is therefore critical
that they can choose a service that meets their needs and is affordable.
Currently, there are around 1,400 individuals receiving Careline services
in sheltered accommodation across Basildon and another 1,500 living in
their own homes in the borough, plus a further 1,300 users who live out of
The council intends to procure a bespoke service for those that require it
in sheltered accommodation for the over 60s and other individuals will be
signposted to alternative providers who can offer these services at a lower
There was a very good response to the consultation with feedback being
received from 1,760 of a possible 4,258 consultees. Over 64% of those who
responded did not think the proposed cost of £4.85 per week was fair and
24% of those living in sheltered accommodation did not want the service at
all. The proposals mean these individuals can either choose an alternative
provider or opt out of the service if they do not require it.
If Basildon Council were to continue to provide the service, currently
charged at £3.98 a week, the cost would be £4.85 a week from April.
Further consultation with those living in sheltered accommodation will also
be undertaken as part of the procurement process to ensure the future
service fully meets their needs.
Cllr Anthony Hedley, Basildon Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and
Community Safety, said: “We understood that people would be concerned about
the prospect of paying more so we undertook a consultation exercise to find
out more about how much people would be prepared to pay and the type of
service they would like in future.
“We are aware that services equivalent to Careline are available from other
providers for less and we want to ensure that people can get a high-quality
service at the best possible price.”