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Cambridgeshire Home Improvement Agency - Service Changes

13/02/2017 - Cambridgeshire Home Improvement Agency - Service Changes

This Item was chaired by Councillor Todd-Jones


Matter for Decision

Approval was requested for an increase in the level of fees charged by Cambs Home Improvement Agency (CHIA) from 12% to 15%. The additional fee income was required to replace annual revenue support which was being progressively reduced by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) with effect from April 2017 as part of wider plans for the funding and delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants across all Cambridgeshire Councils.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing


  i.  Approved an increase in the level of fees charged by Cambs Home Improvement Agency (CHIA), from 12% to 15%, for managing Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) and Repairs Assistance (RA) funded adaptations and repairs work with effect from 1 April 2017.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report, CCC and CCG have both confirmed that revenue support for all of the County’s HIA’s will cease altogether with effect from 1 April 2018 so the CHIA is committed to significant change during 2017 in order to remain viable entirely from the fee income generated. A fee basis of 15% would be required for this to be possible and is consistent with charges levied elsewhere by other HIA’s.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Without the a 15% fee it is unlikely that the CHIA would be able to generate sufficient income in the short term (12 months) at least in order to recover the income lost following changes to CCC and CCG revenue funding support in 2017/18.


The alternative to an increase in fee levels from 12% to 15% would be a reduction in CHIA operating costs which would mean a reduction  capacity and consequent reduction in service outputs at a time when expectations are for greater activity from the increasing DFG funding available.


Scrutiny Considerations


The Committee received a report from the Head of Estates & Facilities


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Sought clarification regarding the potential for efficiency saving.

  ii.  Stated that this was an undervalued service that performed a very important function.


The Business Manager/Principal Accountant (Shared Housing Finance Team) said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The agency needed to be viable financially and was already very efficient.

  ii.  Stated that the increase in charges would bring the service in line with a similar agency in Peterborough which was considered exemplar.


The Committee resolved unanimously to endorse the recommendation.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.