Local Energy Partnership Review 2014-15

The Derbyshire Healthy Home Programme

The LAEP was awarded £364k funding from Derbyshire Public Health to pilot a health and affordable warmth programme for 2 years from Sept 2014.

Working closely with Public Health and the NHS, the project aims to reduce the incidence of Excess Winter Deaths and the cost to the NHS of the impact of cold related illnesses, particularly ‘non-elective’ (emergency) admissions to A&E.

Vulnerable residents are being assisted to achieve affordable warmth through a combination of energy efficiency measures and income maximisation.

The programme is combining information on health and income at a household level to target fuel poor householders with long term health conditions made worse by a cold home.

Programme launch

Forty public sector and third sector partners attended a launch event on 2nd Dec 2014, which highlighted the causes and effects of a cold home and the multiple causes of fuel poverty.

Project team

Bill Purvis was appointed as Derbyshire Healthy Home Programme Manager in Sept 2014 and was joined in Nov by Project Officers Mark Waring, Matt Szabo and Kerry Hall, all hosted by Derbyshire County Council. Andy Watkin (Newark and Sherwood), the LAEP’s Data Manager is also assisting the programme.

The team is working with GP Practices to identify residents who are likely to be in fuel poverty and at risk of suffering ill health from cold, damp homes. Due to data protection and patient privacy issues, GP surgeries write to target households inviting them to contact the project team for affordable warmth assistance.

Capital funding for measures

Whilst accurate targeting is ensuring that many householders are eligible for affordable warmth Energy Company Obligation (HHCRO) grants, most homes still require additional funding to enable improvements to go ahead. In other cases required improvements do not qualify for HHCRO so other funding is required.

The LAEP has established a hardship fund to address this funding gap to ensure that vulnerable householders can be assisted. This includes:

£40k from the National Grid, awarded in recognition of the project’s innovative approach in Dec 2014

£114k from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Fuel Poverty Fund

£101k awarded from DECC’s Booster Fund in March 2015, to be shared with Nottinghamshire authorities (overleaf)

The LAEP was one of only 12 projects, including Amber Valley, invited to apply to the Booster Fund, an acknowledgement that DECC see this as a ‘pathfinder’ approach to tackling fuel poverty, benefiting from collaboration between councils, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and around 100 GP surgeries.

Nottinghamshire Warm Homes on Prescription

Nottinghamshire authorities are benefiting directly from the lessons learnt and expertise gained from the Derbyshire Healthy Home programme, as LAEP has secured funding for a similar project.

Exploratory discussions in early 2015 led by Newark & Sherwood District Council and the LAEP Manager, with Nottinghamshire Public Health and CCGs in the county, demonstrated a desire to collaborate on this issue.

A pilot healthy housing project was scoped out by March 2015. This involves working closely with CCGs and others to engage GP Practices in each area who would then identify their most resource intensive patients with cold-sensitive, long term conditions.

LAEP capital resources will enable councils to address the affordable warmth needs of a targeted number of households identified in this way. This includes:

£84k from DECC’s Fuel Poverty Fund

£101k awarded from DECC’s Booster Fund in March 2015, to be shared with Derbyshire authorities (see previous).

In addition LAEP has secured:

£29k from DECC’s Booster Fund to part fund a Programme Manager from autumn 2015.

The impact of interventions on health outcomes will be monitored by CCGs and combined with affordable warmth and wellbeing indicators to demonstrate potential cost savings to the NHS. This evidence base will subsequently be used to seek future funding to expand the programme.

Responding to NICE Guidelines

The LAEP submitted a response to the NICE Excess Winter Deaths and Illnesses Guidelines consultation in July 2014. It broadly agreed with the proposal to provide services via a ‘1 stop local health and housing referral service’ for people living in a cold home, but highlighted the lack of council capacity and resources to deliver, and a wide range of other obstacles which need to be overcome.

Importantly, the LAEP is addressing most of the NICE recommendations in its two healthy housing projects, outlined above.

HECA Progress Report

LAEP produced a HECA Progress Report in Feb 2015 on behalf of all its district and borough councils, providing:

a)    baseline data on fuel poverty levels, gas and electricity consumption data and per capital CO2 emissions

b)    summary of LAEP activities which details all relevant collective activities over the last two years.

Each council then added their own individual activities to complete the document for submission to DECC.

Seeking funding

In addition to funding already secured (see previously), LAEP has also submitted a comprehensive Expression of Interest to National Energy Action’s Warm and Healthy Homes Fund Partnership Programme for £325k.

If successful this would further support the delivery of the Notts and Derby's health and housing projects outlined above. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full bid in August 2015 and results will be announced in October.

D2N2 Low Carbon Plan

The Local Economic Partnership (D2N2) commissioned LAEP in collaboration with Nottingham Energy Partnership to facilitate a Low Carbon Communities Reference Group to help progress its Low Carbon Action Plan.

Support for residents and communities

LAEP’s not-for-profit delivery partner Marches Energy Agency (MEA) assists councils to communicate with staff, schools, community groups and the general public about climate change, carbon reduction, sustainable energy and affordable warmth. A range of innovative and flexible resources are used, including the well visited LAEP website www.everybodys-talking.org and a versatile mobile exhibition vehicle which promotes domestic energy and water efficiency at public events. MEA also provides information and guidance to community groups through the LAEP’s Community Climate Action Network.

Collective procurement of services from MEA has achieved a level and quality of delivery that would have been unaffordable for individual councils.

A tailored summary of MEA’s activities is provided for each council and accompanies this report.

Keeping you informed

Members receive emailed LAEP Updates, summarising local and national news on climate change, carbon reduction, sustainable energy and affordable warmth, and providing an opportunity for councils to share their own projects and successes.

This year five LAEP Updates (nos. 109 - 113), were circulated, containing 27 items on grant funding, policy, case studies, best practice, briefings and notices.

How the LAEP works

The LAEP is a non-statutory partnership of all 20 councils across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, founded in 1996 and funded by an annual subscription. Councils benefit from support, information and communication services and collaborate on carbon reduction, affordable warmth and sustainable energy projects, sharing expertise and best practice.

Each council is represented on the Officer Working Group (OWG) which runs the partnership. The OWG is chaired by Phil Keynes, Nottinghamshire County Council, and Vice Chair David Arkle, Amber Valley Borough Council.

Funds are held by Derbyshire County Council and managed by the Treasurer Kathryn Warrington.

Rina Jones, LAEP Manager, is employed by the partnership to manage and initiate LAEP activities and her post is hosted by Derbyshire County Council.

In 2013-14 the LAEP bade farewell to dedicated members Richard Murrell (Derby City), Ed Raper (Bolsover), Kay Kent (Erewash), Tom Hughes (Mansfield), Kerri Ellis and Wendy Pigott (Bassetlaw) and Jane Mustow (Broxtowe).

We welcomed new members Helen Richmond (Newark and Sherwood), Lesley Stevens (High Peak), Briony Ashton (Broxtowe) and Hannah Bigden (Bassetlaw).

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