EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Home Improvement Agency
Name of Tender for Home Improvement Agency Services
Date of Assessment October 2009
Directorate Adult and Community Services
Head of Service Sandra Howard
Names and Roles of the Yvonne Toms - Head of Disabilities
people carrying out the EIA
Jennifer Jallim – HIA Project Manager
Why is the Equality Impact Cabinet Report
Assessment being done?
1. Introduction and Background
Summary of proposal and specify whether this is a universal or targeted service
The Cabinet report recommends the award of contract to xxxxx following a tender
exercise for provision of Home Improvement Agency services. The aim of the Home
Improvement Agency is to support older people, and people with physical, mental or
sensory disabilities to sustain independent living in their own homes. This aim will be
achieved through the provision of an integrated housing related support services.
Good quality housing is central to quality of life in older age and for those that are
disabled and vulnerable. It is well documented that poor housing impacts on health and
wellbeing of vulnerable residents. Residents with support and care needs were asked
(Housing Needs and Market Assessment, 2007) what types of support they needed.
Seven support needs were identified (see table below) four of which will be met by the
Home Improvement Agency.
Home Improvement Agencies provide a structure for meeting housing related support
needs. This is central to improving the quality of life for older, disabled and vulnerable
2. Profile of groups affected as customers and/or staff
2.1.1 Age Equality
The Waltham Forest Housing Needs and Market Survey carried out in 2007 estimates
the number of people aged 65 and over to be approximately 24,000. This figure is
projected to rise to almost 30,000, in the next five years. This is in line with the figure
from the 2001 Census that 33,930 people aged 60 and over live in Waltham Forest, with
almost half of this being 70 years or over. The 2001 Census data also predicted that the
proportion of over 64’s from BME population will increase from 12.4% to 19.3% by 2011.
This significant increase will put additional pressures on social care and health services,
in particular their capacity to provide residential and nursing care.
Accidents in the home and in particular falls are a major and common injury to older
people. Home Improvement Agencies provide a structure for assisting older people to
remain in their current homes independently in a safe, warm and secure environment.
We know from the Waltham Forest Private Sector Stock Condition Survey carried out in
2006 that pensioner households and in particular single pensioners are more likely to
be living in homes that do not meet the Government’s decent homes standard. The
survey also found that repair costs for these households were considerably higher than
other groups. Single pensioners are also more likely to be reluctant to carry out any
repairs without assistance and support to do so.
2.1.2 Disability equality
The Housing Needs and Housing Markets Survey (2007) estimates approximately
21,000 people in Waltham Forest with a disability, 55% of which are over 60 and 25%
over 75 years. 44% of all disabled people suffer with mobility difficulties.
With the retired population (65+age group) forecast to rise by 4,150 people and the 75+
population by 1,200 people by 2026, the housing related support needs of disabled
people – both now and in the future – is likely to rise and must be considered at a
strategic level. Falls are also major causes of disability and the leading cause to
mortality due to injury in people aged over 75 in the UK (DOH, 2001).
The provision of Home Improvement Agency services will help focus resources on
supporting these groups to continue to live at home, independently, for as long as
possible. The HIA services will also help to improve living conditions for those with
mental illnesses and sensory impairment.
2.1.3 Gender equality
Within the older population (aged over 65) we know that females in that group (13,600)
are greater than males (10,400) according to the Projecting Older People Population
Information System for 2008. We also know that this group are more likely to be living
alone. Therefore, there will be a greater dependency on support and assistance to live
The HIA provides an opportunity to begin collecting data and monitoring gender equality
through completion of the Supporting People Outcomes Framework for HIAs. This data
will be provided to the Council quarterly.
2.1.4 Race equality
Half of all households in the borough are from BME communities (Housing Needs and
Market Assessment, 2007). The survey also found that 28.8% of BME households had
incomes below £10,000 and one of the biggest housing issues was the need for repairs
and improvements. The services of the Home Improvement Agency will benefit low-
income families, elders and those that are disabled from BME communities - 20.9% of
BME households were found to have a member with a disability.
No information is currently available on religion/beliefs.
What we do know that Waltham Forest is a culturally diverse Borough and therefore
there is greater religious diversity, than perhaps some other Boroughs.
There is an opportunity for collecting this data through the Supporting People
Framework for HIAs.
2.1.6 Sexual Orientation
No information is currently available on sexual orientation.
It has been forecasted that at least 5% of the adult population belongs to lesbian, Gay
and bi-sexual community. There is an opportunity here for collection of this data, through
completion of the Supporting People Outcomes Framework for HIAs.
Waltham Forest is one of the most culturally diverse and deprived boroughs in the
region. There are an estimated 28,000 residents (Private Sector Stock Condition Survey,
2006) that are defined as vulnerable (i.e., those receiving Income Support, Housing
Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Pension Credit,
Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement
Benefit, War Disablement Pension)
We also know that BME communities generally have lower incomes. The Housing
Needs and Market Survey found that 28.8% of BME households had an income of £10k
3. Questions this assessment addresses
3.1 What kind of equality impact may there be?
The assistance and support of the HIA will enable people to live a better quality of life
and continue to live independently in their homes. It will: -
Improve housing conditions
Improve living conditions
Improve health and well-being
Prevent accidents – trips and falls
Remove hazards around the home
Reduce fuel poverty
The HIA will have a positive impact for older people, people with disabilities (including
mental health and sensory impairment) and those on low-incomes.
3.2 How significant is it in terms of its nature and the number of people likely to be
Below is a breakdown of the approximate numbers of people from the above groups that
the HIA will assist to improve living conditions and maintain independence:
Service User group(s) Type of Assistance No. of users
Advice and information
Disabled people Major adaptations 30
Disabled people Disabled Facilities Groups 30
Disabled people/Older people Minor adaptations 400
Older people, disabled people Handy person (small) jobs 1,000
and low –income households
Older people, disabled people Repairs, improvements and 100
and low income households other housing options
Estimated number of services users that will be assisted 1,560
3.3 Is the impact positive or negative (or is there a potential for both)?
There is likely to be a positive impact for service users who will receive support and
assistance to enable them to repair and or adapt their homes, so they can continue to
live in their own homes independently, and for the foreseeable future. Outcomes will
include reducing of fuel poverty, improved health and wellbeing and removal of hazards
around the home.
There is also a huge positive impact to the neighbourhood and the environment.
There is sometimes a negative perception of people who are disabled and their ability to
live independent lives and the HIA should help to alleviate this potential negative impact.
HIAs are experts at supporting these groups by identifying their needs, letting them
know what their options are and supporting them to pursue their chosen option.
Adaptations are grant-funded; budget limitations may become a negative impact.
3.4 On what aspects of the Equality Duties will this impact be?
The greatest positive impact will be on disability, age, BME.
3.5 Could the impact constitute unlawful discrimination?
This is not going to cause any unlawful discrimination, as the new service will allow the
groups above to access services that other groups can access without support and
The potential negative impact indicated in 3.3 could involve unlawful discrimination
against people with disabilities.
3.6 What further information is required to gauge the probability and extent of the
Monitoring the new service and its outcomes, through the SP outcomes framework for
HIAs, key performance indicators and service user feedback and contract monitoring.
3.7 Where and how can that information be obtained?
Monitoring data, to include the six equality strands, which will be provided quarterly by
the HIA Service provider and also service users compliments, suggestions and
4. Action Planning Questions
4.1 What action do we need to take to reduce negative impact?
The HIA proposals include plans for promoting the services to all the user groups
identified. The aim is to ensure a positive image and targeting of vulnerable groups.
Service user involvement is crucial and the HIA Service Provider is required to involve
service users in both the HIA service development and monitoring.
4.2 If the action proposed will not fully mitigate adverse consequences for equality, or if
the decision is to take no action, why is this, and can we justify it?
Action proposed will not cause any adverse consequences.
4.3 Can any further action be taken to promote equality of opportunity in relation to any
of the equality strands?
Information on the sexuality orientation of service users would be helpful for the HIA
Service provider to ensure there is no discrimination on the grounds of sexuality
4.4 Do we need to undertake any further consultation or research?
Ongoing research on developments regarding HIA Services and funding opportunities
will help to develop the services and ensure sustainability.
4. Conclusions and Next Steps
4.1 The key areas, which were improved as a result of this assessment, were
understanding of the positive impact of the supported living service in the areas of age,
gender and disability equalities.
5. Action Plan
Action required Lead Officer Time Scale Comments/O
Continuous monitoring of the six equality LV Six -monthly
elements to ensure compliance
Ongoing research on the needs of older JJ Ongoing
and disabled people
Six monthly service review JJ Six monthly
Involvement of existing partners in the HIA JJ 3 months after
service development implementation
Membership of Service Development and JJ Quarterly
Performance Monitoring Group to include
Equality and Diversity Officer
The Council to explore funding Nigel / March 2011
opportunities to increase adaptations Yvonne
budgets to meet needs. Toms