Review sees full-time warden reinstated at sheltered housing complex

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A full-time warden will be reinstated at Onchan Commissioners’ sheltered housing accommodation at Springfield Court.

And a full-time warden will remain at Heywood Court, despite part-time hours being considered.

These were two of the three recommendations of the commissioners deputy clerk, Tim Craig, to be approved by the local authority on Monday.

The board has also agreed to install passive sensors in each flat – to automatically raise the alarm in the event of a fall – over a year after the issue was first raised.

A petition with 48 signatures was presented to Onchan Commissioners following the retirement of a full-time warden at Springfield Court in July last year, leaving only a part-time warden at the 68 flats.

The contract was 18.5 hours per week.

Reviewing staffing, Mr Craig was asked to look at returning a full-time warden to Springfield Court but cutting hours at 32-flat Heywood Court, to part-time.

In the report Mr Craig said: ‘The tenants at both complexes are aware from their contact with friends of units run by other providers that Onchan has the lowest warden provision of any sheltered accommodation on the island.’

Armed forces charity SSAFA, which has allocation rights over half of the flats at Heywood Court, did not support any reduction in warden provision.

Mr Craig said the reduction in staffing at Springfield Court had led to calls for assistance being routed through to the local authority’s on-call officer during office hours.

‘This is effectively providing a warden service by an alternative and costly route, as all on-call officers are on a higher pay scale than the wardens,’ he said.

‘It also has an impact on the officers’ other duties, as priority has to be given to the emergency.’

The current budget provides for 2.5 full-time warden posts.

With one full-time warden at each complex, Mr Craig’s third recommendation to be approved was to use the savings in the first year to provide a passive sensor motion detector and fall detector in each flat.

Funding for this will need further approval from the board.

In May 2013, the one-off purchase and installation costs for this were about £12,500.

At that time, Mr Craig had advised that passive sensors would alert a warden or call centre in an emergency rather than relying on warden contact by means of an intercom call once on a normal working day and the resident to trigger any further emergency call.

‘Experience has shown that this has not always been possible, and the casualty has been some time before being discovered,’ he said.

‘This has not yet produced a fatality, but it has not assisted in the prognosis for recovery.’

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