Minutes of Service User Interest Group 7th December 2009
Mr. John Barker – Azure
Support Worker for Mr. Barker & Mrs Sells
Mr. D. Elsmore - Azure
Support Worker for Mr. Elsmore
Shelley Makin
Support Worker for S. Makin
Anne Persson – Housing 21
Mrs. M. Robson – Anchor Trust
Mrs Pauline Sells - Azure
Mrs. J. Stanton – Johnnie Johnson
Mr. K. Walker – Alnwick D.C
Marshall Sisterson – Supporting People
Anne Gibb – Supporting People
Apologies Mr. J. Brownbridge – Milecastle Housing
Frank Sayers – Turning Point
Rita Scanlon – Blyth Valley Alarms
Mrs. J. Shotton – Milecastle
Mrs. P. Smith – Blyth Valley Alarms
Miss R. Tudor – Places for People
Thomas Graham – Blyth Star
Angela Hutchison – Azure
Neil Veitch – Azure
See above
Welcome New Service Users
There were no new people attended the group
Minutes of the last meeting
Minutes Agreed
Declaration of Interests
No Action
Terms of Reference
No Action
Consultation Items
Kite Mark – Joanne Brett
Joanne Brett is the Quality Improvement Manager who
came to discuss the kite mark. This would show that
any documentation was accessible and easy to read
and that it had a “stamp of approval”. She suggested
that this should be trialled first through Supporting
People and then possibly across the whole of the Care
Trust. In order to do this, there needs to be a decision
made as to what should be looked at to ensure that a
document is “easy read”. Some of the suggestions
were whether the document itself was easily
understood, that words used were easy to understand,
that it was set out in a format that made reading easy,
and that it should have no initials in the wording. In
order to do this, it was suggested that a meeting be
arranged for service users to look at and develop a
criteria for easy read documents. AG confirmed that as
well as the Service User Interest Group and the Editorial
Group, there were also service users who had
expressed an interest in reading documents and their
names and addresses were available. KW said that in
the past a crystal symbol had been used. JB informed
the group that this is a big monitory investment and as
we have service users who are happy to review
documents, then this action would seem more
appropriate. Kite marks were shown to the group and
this will be discussed further at the meeting when
Core Group Feedback
At the last meeting, decisions were made about
services. Complaints and a safeguarding complaint
were also discussed. At the coming meeting, a number
of organisations have applied for extra money, the Core
Group will decide bearing in mind that Supporting
People have a limited amount of money.
Volunteers were requested to attend the Core Group on
Wednesday 9th December and the following people will
be attending:Anne Persson – Housing 21
Julia Stanton – Johnnie Johnson
Shelley Makin – Azure (providing diary is free)
Service User Forums
Two weeks ago, those people who had shown an
interest in training to visit service users received ½ day
training in readiness for attending services. This also
meeting to
criteria for
easy read
gave them necessary information to enable them to Blyth Star.
answer questions. Visitors found the training useful and
thought training for them was essential. MS said that
visits would soon start for those people for whom CRB,
Identity badges etc. are completed. He asked if there
was any other training that he thought the group would
benefit by. J.St. suggested that visiting other services
would help and give an insight into problems
encountered by other service users. MS suggested that
when visits are carried out, that visitors are given the
opportunity of visiting other service groups (e.g.
sheltered housing, hostel, refuge etc), other than those
they are familiar with. Barry Lyndon, from Blyth Star
has offered to open up his service to volunteers to
enable them to look at his service. Supporting People
will look into this.
Review of Work Plan
The Supporting People team are monitored on the
progress of work on the work plan. At the last review,
Northumberland received 0 stars.
The plan was
developed to show what the Supporting People team
are doing to improve. A copy of the plan was given to
those present and progress is monitored throughout the
supporting people groups i.e. Core Group and
Commissioning Body, also including elected members.
There were three recommendations within the work plan
which were as follows:1. Strengthen Value for Money
2. Improve Governance and performance of service
3. Improve delivery of key strategic priorities.
Explanations for the group given as follows
1. What results are we getting out of the service?
How much are we paying for the service (is there
a possibility to reduce cost?) Value for money
looks at all of the services, compares against
costs in Newcastle, Tyneside, Sunderland to fit
into the North East and then compares nationally.
Some services have a high cost and some do not.
2. This is about how the programme is run and
includes the Commissioning Body and the Core
Group. The Audit Commission said that these
groups had to be fit for purpose with the right
people leading the groups. Supporting People
programme must report on performance and how
well providers are delivering services. We do this
by looking at hours of support, how many people
are using the service, voids, results from the
reviews and outcomes. The outcomes include
how many people were helped to apply for
benefits, employment, leisure activities and social
activities. The team also pull together information
about complaints, resolved and not resolved and
also complements. Supporting People monitor
organisations have complaints that are resolved
as this all goes towards improving services. All
providers must have complaints policies and
ensure that service users know how to complain.
Outcomes are important and the Communities
and Local Government need to have evidence
that the programme is working to put a case for
ongoing funding to the treasury. Evidence is
given every three months. Northumberland is
doing really well at the present time.
3. This is about improving delivery of services taking
into account future priorities. The population is
ageing and we need to have services planned to
meet this need. At present Northumberland are
looking at a generic (anyone can apply from 16
years of age upwards) floating support service.
This will be based in the North, South East and
West. In addition a wet service (people who are
still drinking) is being considered for those people
with an alcohol problem. This is different from a
dry service (people who have stopped drinking).
This strategy goes right through the Supporting
People team to the very top to see if everyone
agrees. By January/February 2010, Supporting
People will have completed this existing plan and
will be working on another plan to do things we
want to do including kite marks, visits to services
etc. The Supporting People team have plans of
their own which are devised from this bigger plan.
Within the multi-skilled supporting people team
there are 4 quality monitoring and contracts
officers, who individually specialise in Service
User Involvement, value for money, move on and
payments. There is a policy and information
officer who looks at what is coming from
government. There is an admin worker and
Marshall heads up the team. Within the team
there are backgrounds of housing, health and
social care.
KW commented that the document was not easy to
understand and that initials were used. MS explained
that the information in the first column was taken directly
from the recommendations of the CLG (Communities
and Local Government) following the review. There is
no excuse for anything else as Supporting People need
to take this on board and stop using phrasing and
initials that people find difficult to understand. The
kitemark will help with this.
Q. When is the next audit. A. The Audit Commission
will no longer be carrying out any auditing. It is thought
that the Care Quality Commission will look at the whole
of adult services but will look at the action plan to
ensure that there has been improvement. Marshall
makes sure that the progress reports are accurate.
10 Speaker – Emma Arkle Choice Based Lettings
a Emma did a powerpoint presentation on Choice Based
Lettings. A copy will be sent with the minutes to those
who were unable to attend the meeting.
Some points Emma raised were:If people need help or support to apply, they only have
to ring the lettings contact number and someone will be
available to help them.
Applicants need only register once but must keep
information up to date.
Access in rural areas is available through support
agencies, citizens advice bureau, contact centre and in
one instance, at the local post office. The contact
number will be able to give you local information.
“Bidding” is another word for showing an interest in a
Anyone over 16 years of age can apply.
In some areas there are local planning policies which
prevent anyone outside the area from applying.
Any number of properties can be bid for.
The list of available housing also includes housing
association property
b Speaker – Paul from Valleycare alarms and Lindsay
from Tunstall (alarm equipment provider)
Paul explained that Northumberland are moving
towards assistive technology which can provide
services such as smoke alarms, fall alarms (e.g. for
people with epilepsy), gas detectors etc. Alarms are
constantly becoming more automated. When a sensor
Send copy
further visit
to telecare
is activated, the alarm centre knows what and where the
problem is and can send help to resolve the problem.
Lindsay explained that at the moment a pendant alarm
is not suitable for everyone and Tunstall are developing
a prototype of a new alarm which is smaller than
previously and looks like a smaller watch when used
with the wrist band. Those present thought the design
makes it easier to wear. Tunstall are also developing a
“Carer Assist Unit” so if someone is caring for another in
the same house, then the alarm can alert the carer of
any problems without the call going through to a call
centre. It would only go through to the call centre if the
carer was unable to answer the alarm. People can
apply for the equipment by asking the care manager to
assess them and to send in a referral form to
They would install the necessary
equipment. At the moment the cost is £5.94 per week
for the full service, however, people on a low income or
on Housing Benefit can have this paid by Supporting
People. JS commented that the group had previously
been to Hartley Court to look at the equipment and was
suitably impressed and also commented that this helps
to avoid bed-blocking. Valley care is trying to make the
service available county wide. AP asked if this was
available to housing associations and was informed that
it is available but requests should be made to the
housing association that they use this type of equipment
in the future. There are 99 different telecare devices.
Diane and Paul from Blyth Valley would be keen to
demonstrate if requested. It was suggested that a
further visit to the telecare flat be arranged.
11 Any Other Business
12 Date and time of Next meetings – lunch provided
Monday 18th January 2010 10.30 –1.30, CR1 in Merley
Croft, Morpeth

Minutes of Service User Interest Group 7th December 2009 Present