Hounslow Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Open Area, Lampton Park Conference Centre, (Civic Centre), Lampton Road, Hounslow

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert Email: ainsley.gilbert@hounslow.gov.uk 020 8583 2064 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Communications from members


The Chair welcomed all present to the meeting, and wished them a merry Christmas.


Apologies had been received from Councillors Lily Bath and Mukesh Malhotra, and from Atifa Ali-Khan, and Israr Yagub.


Minutes of the meeting of 8th October 2014 pdf icon PDF 73 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 8th October 2014 were agreed to be accurate.


Matters Arising


Minute Item Twelve – Matters Arising (Minute Item Five – Hounslow’s Disability Needs and Future Advice Service Provision)

Kevin Sarwarpolley said that he was concerned that no progress had been made by Hounslow’s charities in dealing with the Council’s procurement officers. Celia Golden, Head of Equalities, had spoken to Mark Pearson, Head of the Council’s Procurement Hub, and he had said that he did not think that the Council’s requirements were unduly strict. Mr Pearson was happy to respond to specific issues Mr Sarwarpolley wished to raise with him.


Minute Item Fourteen – High Street Development

The Chair explained that a bid for funding to improve Feltham town centre had been made, and said that a working group of disabled people to advise on the design of the street improvements would be set up if this bid was successful.


Minute Item Sixteen – Needs of disabled residents for Sports and Physical Activity in Hounslow

Carolyn Courage said that hydrotherapy pools were normally co-located with hospitals, and said that somewhere on the West Middlesex site would be the best place for a pool in Hounslow. Being on a hospital site would mean that medical staff could use the pool with their patients, and noted that if a hydrotherapy pool were built elsewhere, it was important that it was available to medical professionals. Councillor Rajawat asked that an update on the issue be brought to a future meeting. 


Better Home, Better Health -Energy Efficiency Scheme

Laura Shellard, Energy Efficiency Officer (6.50-7.00pm)

Questions (7.00-7.10pm)


Laura Shellard, Energy Efficiency Officer, explained that as part of the council’s Better Homes, Better Health programme, vulnerable residents were being offered support in dealing with a range of issues around the quality of their accommodation. The service could advise on things such as insulation, adaptations, and energy supply. The council had paid Groundwork London to provide the service. Residents could book home visits which lasted up to two hours. Staff would aim to make small improvements first, by fitting radiator heat reflectors and draught excluders. They would be able to help with grant applications for more substantial works. They would also help residents to review their energy bills, and fill in application forms for the warm homes discount. They could also signpost residents to other services such as the Fire Brigade, Flu Vaccinations, and Benefits Checks. She also explained that a winter warmth pack, including thermal socks, gloves, hats and blankets would be given to those receiving a home visit.


Councillor Rajawat asked who was funding the scheme, whether it had sufficient capacity to meet demand, and how long the scheme would run for. Laura Shellard explained that the scheme was funded through public health, but that it allowed residents to access grants from various sources, such as energy companies. She said that the scheme had a target of 650 home visits, and that it would close in March, although further funding was being sought for the winter of 2015-16.


Councillor Collins asked whether the scheme was open to residents, regardless of what type of accommodation they lived in. Laura Shellard confirmed that all vulnerable residents were eligible for a visit.


Ashok Patel said that it was difficult for those who were deaf to access services such as this, and asked if BSL interpreters were available. Laura Shellard said that unfortunately they weren’t. She said that staff could still help through home visits. Councillor Collins said that a half day session at the Civic Centre with interpreters available was being arranged, and suggested that someone could go to the Hounslow Deaf Club to give advice. John Beattie said that some deaf people may find it easier to meet at home, and asked whether home visits with signers could be arranged. Celia Golden said that she felt that the cost of such visits was prohibitive. She said that a private room would be available at the Council for residents to use when discussing their finances. Kevin Sarwarpolley said that it was important that members were aware that funding cuts were happening in many areas, and that more support from the voluntary sector might be required.


Gary O’Flynn said that his housing association didn’t allow people to make changes to their homes. Laura Shellard said that staff could talk to landlords on behalf of residents to ask permission to carry out works.


Janet Simmonds said that some residents used key type meters. Laura Shellard said that staff could talk to suppliers on behalf of residents, noting that they could help  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Hounslow Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment Update

Laura Maclehose, Consultant in Public Health, Health, and Wellbeing (7.10-7.20pm)

Questions (7.20-7.30pm)


Laura Maclehose, Consultant - Public Health Improvement, explained that a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment was being carried out in Hounslow. The purpose of the assessment was to identify any gaps in services, and suggest improvements which could be made. The information would then be used by the Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group, and NHS England, to plan services. The research for the report had been completed, and a draft report written, and members views on this report were wanted. A consultation was being carried out until 15th February 2015, after which the Health and Well Being Board would approve the final report. The report would be made available on the Council’s website, and members could request copies during the break. Alternative formats were available on request.


The Chair asked whether the report would cover matters such as blue badge parking near chemists, public transport accessibility of chemists, and opening and closing times of chemists. Laura Maclehose said that the data collection had finished, and whilst parking had been considered, blue badge parking had not been looked at, and neither had public transport. There had however been a question on opening and closing times in the data gathering survey.


Councillor Rajawat asked whether the Clinical Commissioning Group’s aspiration for the Health Service to do more at weekends had been accounted for in the report. Laura Maclehose explained that the scope of the report was defined by statute, and that the Clinical Commissioning Group had been on the steering group which had managed the project.


Kevin Sarwapolley asked whether pharmacy services to disabled people had been considered, as some people had received very poor service from some pharmacies. Laura Maclehose said that the report addressed the knowledge pharmacists had, but did not address customer service. Members could comment on the issue during the consultation.


Punam Sharma asked if the report was available at the meeting. Laura Maclehose said that it wasn’t, and that it would be published on 12th December.


The Chair thanked Laura Maclehose for attending.


Update on Keep Safe Scheme


Sergeant Ehab Al-Hashimi said that the Keep Safe scheme, allowing disabled people to seek refuge in some shops, would be launching on 15th December. Forty shops had already joined the scheme, and registration cards were available for members who wanted to be part of the scheme. 


Carolyn Courage asked where the forty shops were located. Sgt Al-Hashimi explained that they were located across the borough, with at least one in each town centre.


A resident asked whether the shops were wheelchair accessible. Celia Golden noted that in general shops were only required to make reasonable adjustments, which could include serving people at the door of the shop, rather than fitting ramps and the like. Councillor Collins asked that Sgt Al-Hashimi check if the shops were all wheelchair accessible.


The Chair thanked Sgt Al- Hashimi for attending.


Accessibility in Social Housing, Registered Social Landlord Housing, and Private Sector Housing

Nadja Stone, Head of Affordable Housing Supply, and Stephanie Berry, Housing Allocations Manager (7.45-7.55pm)

Questions (7.55-8.10pm)


Nadja Stone, Head of Affordable Housing Supply, explained that developers were required to build 10% of properties to wheelchair accessible standards in developments above 10 units. These units would be wheelchair adaptable, but she explained that they were not always designed as well as they could be for wheelchair users. She was working with residential social landlords to ensure that properties were fully adaptable, but this was quite difficult in London where housing was generally quite high density. She explained that Hounslow was planning to assess the borough’s needs to develop a local standard which met the needs of the disabled community. She explained that the Council also had a private sector adaptations team which could assist with adaptation grants. There was also a similar team for Council tenants. The borough was currently building more Council Housing, and there were twelve units of high mobility housing currently being built and a further fifteen with planning permission, as well as lots more being designed. She hoped that allocations could be made at an early stage to ensure that properties met their future occupier’s needs.


Stephanie Berry, Housing Allocations Manager, explained that her team administered the Housing Allocations Policy. The policy agreed in 2013 required an Occupational Therapist to carry out an assessment whenever a person applied for housing with disabilities. There had been delays in Occupational Therapist appointments, but the Housing department would soon be allocated a dedicated therapist, which she expected to solve the problem. Three mobility bands were used in these assessments, and each property listed on Locata had been surveyed for their suitability for people with disabilities, based on these bands. The Council was considering changing from these bandings to the London Accessible Housing Register’s A-F ratings. Ms Berry explained that 144 people were waiting for accessible or adapted properties, but only a very small number became available each year. There were 294 adaptable properties in the borough, and most of these were in the least accessible of the three mobility bands. The Council was looking at how existing stock could be adapted, as well as building new properties.


Wasif Bhatti said that it had taken him five months to get his adapted bathroom repaired. Stephanie Berry said that there had previously been problems with the repairs service. Nadja Stone explained that there was large demand, especially for private sector adaptations, and that there were only limited resources.


Domenico Pasquariello asked how closely the council, housing associations, and the occupational therapist worked together. He said that he had been allocated a house six months in advance of moving in but that no adaptations had been made, and he had had to apply for grants to get changes made. Nadja Stone said that the Council administered disabled housing grants, but felt that it was the responsibility of registered social landlords to adapt their properties in a timely manner. Domenico Pasquariello said that he felt that the Council ought to view properties before allowing disabled residents to move in. Stephanie  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


General Questions from the Public (8.10-8.30pm)

Please limit questions to general issues as personal issues cannot be discussed in open debate.


George Foster said that Blue Badge Holders had difficulty going away as they could not take their blue badges with them and leave their car in their reserved spaces. Other boroughs had introduced special permits to allow residents to park in the space by their houses, but Hounslow had not yet done so. Celia Golden agreed to pass Mr Foster’s concerns on.


Ben Penton said that he was concerned that disabled people’s freedom passes were being taken away. Celia Golden said that Sarah Miller from Speakout was pursuing the issue with Cheryl McBain.


David Baker said that parking at West Middlesex Hospital was too expensive. The Chair said that the issue was not within the Council’s control. He explained however that Transport for All was running a campaign on patient transport.


Celia Golden said that everyone at the meeting would be contacted about a Better Home, Better Health appointment, unless they told her that they didn’t want one.


Date of Next Meeting - 3rd March 2015 at 6.30pm


Members noted the date of the next meeting.


Urgent Business

Any other business which the Chair agrees to consider on the grounds of urgency.


There was no such business.