Task force will tackle sheltered homes cuts

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A TASKFORCE is to be set up in a further shake-up of the warden service at sheltered housing in Dacorum.

The group will be charged with coming up with ways of dealing with a predicted heavy cut in funding for the service in little more than a year.

Already six warden posts have been axed to produce savings of £90,000 a year but a key source of funding for the service – totalling £443,000 a year – is expected to disappear when a contract runs out in 2013.

A report to Dacorum Borough Council’s housing and community scrutiny committee says: “From April 2013 this funding is not secure and the service may need to respond to any new funding arrangements.”

Councillor Nick Hollinghurst, a member of the committee, said the sum was equivalent to around a third of the total budget. “My recollection is the £443,000 will not be available and the working group will be looking at ways in which we can keep the service going at less cost by finding efficiencies.

“That will probably mean wardens with mobile phones. We will have to have more of a mobile service than we have at the moment.”

The task force will report back on the service, which supports 3,323 people, in April next year.

Cuts to the service in June, which involved axing mobile wardens and getting scheme-based wardens to take on their roaming duties, proved highly controversial.