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UPDATE

Summer 2011

Policy and Practice Summary Bulletin for Providers, Planners and Commissioners of
Housing & Related Services for Older People

HOUSING

  • NEW ENGLISH HOUSING SURVEY DATA REVEALS EXTENT OF POOR QUALITY HOUSING
    This latest report, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), has a greater focus on substantial disrepair than the Decent Homes Standard, revealing that poor, single and older people living in the private sector are much more likely to be in homes with substantial disrepair, whilst older people in the social rented sector are the least likely. A total 20% (4.2m) of households live in homes with substantial disrepair, rising to 54% in the case of private renters who have lived in that home for 20 yrs or more.

    Falls, one of the main causes of injury and death amongst older people, have a quantifiable link with housing hazards. 12% of homes were found to have a Cat 1 Falls Hazard, half of which could be remedied for £500 or less. The report also notes that older people are generally more at risk of health problems arising from cold homes than younger people, and are over-represented in cold homes. Home ownership continues to decrease, now only 67% of households, whilst private renting is still rising, (16%), just below social renting (17%). Link to Survey of English Housing Reports and Tables

  • ‘LIVING WELL AT HOME’ PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    This timely report from the All Party Parliamentary Group (Housing and Care) highlights the critical role of housing in the debate about care and health in an ageing society. It points out that unsuitable housing is often the reason for admission to residential care or hospital and, equally, suitable housing can underpin independence and quality of life. It is a concise, well argued report, citing the many front line examples presented at the evidence sessions. It makes practical recommendations including reconsideration of the abolition of Private Sector Renewal funding and setting specific responsibilities for local Health and Well Being Boards. http://www.counselandcare.org.uk

  • OMBUDSMAN RULES CITY SHOULD HAVE PROVIDED HOME ADAPTATION
    In a landmark ruling, the Ombudsman has said that even though a disabled man was a social tenant, and there was an agreement in place between the council and his landlord, Liverpool Homes, with regard to the installation of adaptations in their properties, it was the statutory duty of Liverpool City Council as a social services authority to meet his assessed need and the LA could not pass on that obligation to another organisation. Link to ruling (Number 10 008 979)

  • DISABLED FACILITIES GRANT: ALL QUIET ON THE MEANS TEST AND ALLOCATIONS REPORT
    An evaluation of the DFG means test and the methodology for allocation of DFG to local authorities was published by DCLG with little fanfare earlier this year. The report estimates the scale of need for DFG as £1.9bn - more than ten times higher than the total amount of DFG 2009-10 (£157m). Whilst the allocation methodology was used to share out the extra £11m for DFG from April 11, there has been no comment on the means test suggestions, such as the efficiency savings of scrapping the means test for all grants under £6,000. Link

  • REGENERATION: GOVT PUBLISHES NEW APPROACH AND SELECT COMMITTEE CONTINUES INQUIRY
    Following the summary cessation of all Private Sector Housing funding the DCLG Select Committee set up an Inquiry to consider how effective the Government’s new approach to regeneration, as set out in its strategy 'Regeneration to Enable Growth' is likely to be. In its Evidence, Care & Repair England noted that in the section concerning ‘Government Support for Vulnerable Individuals’ (p25-28) there is no mention of poor housing and vulnerable older people, nor any remedial strategies to address this issue. This is despite the fact that people of 75 years+, older single women, black and minority ethnic elders and those who have lived in the same home for more than 25 years are by far the most likely groups to live in substandard housing. The Inquiry recently heard its final Evidence from Housing Minister, Grant Shapps. It is expected to report in the Autumn.

  • THE UNOFFICIAL VERSION? NEW NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK
    The most radical change in planning for many decades is underway, with a new National Planning Policy Framework set to replace all previous planning policy statements, circulars and guidance. In advance of the official draft, an industry led advisory group, set up by Minister Greg Clarke, published its own version. Most commentators expect the DCLG version to look very similar. The Housing and Ageing Alliance, amongst others, have been calling for a specific planning requirement to address population ageing and demographic change – it remains to be seen whether this will be included. link

  • WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION HOSTS FIRST AGE FRIENDLY CITIES CONFERENCE
    Co-hosted by the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities, the Ageing Well Network, Ireland and the International Federation on Ageing, this conference (Sept 11) will bring together leaders from across the world interested in, or already championing, an age-friendly city or community. Details .

  • RIBA AND BRE PUBLICATION: A GUIDE FOR ASSISTED LIVING – NEW TECHNICAL INFORMATION
    A Guide for Assisted Living (n.b. 67.75mb) demonstrates how intuitive design and assistive technology can improve the quality of life, wellbeing and autonomy of individuals, and be delivered in effective, scalable and affordable ways. It covers key design requirements such as non-slip floor surfaces, effortless door hands and locks, provision of distinctive visual landmarks in external spaces to facilitate access to the home, new and future technologies such as the use of flooring sensors.

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE NEWS

  • FUTURE FUNDING OF SOCIAL CARE: DILNOT COMMISSION REPORTS The Commission on Funding of Care and Support has put forward widely welcomed proposals for a radical shake up. These have received a cool reception from government, perhaps because they come with a (modest) price tag of c.£2b pa. Sharing of responsibility for adult social care costs between the state and the individual, spreading risk, reducing uncertainty and fairer use of assets underpin the proposals. Key recommendations include:
    • Capping the lifetime contribution to care costs that an individual makes to c£35,000
    • Free care for an adult who needs care before 40yrs
    • A national assessment of need to ensure portable assessment if a person moves to another LA
    • Increasing the asset threshold for those in residential care beyond which no means-tested help is given from £23,250 to £100,000, but introducing a living costs payment of c£10,000
    Low equity home owners with limited savings would be the main potential beneficiaries as this group is currently most at risk of losing the majority of their assets if they need higher levels of care. Unfortunately the proposals do not incorporate the costs of preventative measures (such as adaptations) and meeting care needs that are below the ‘substantial’ threshold into the financial modeling. A White Paper has been promised by Spring 2012. Link

  • LAW COMMISSION REVIEW OF ADULT SOCIAL CARE LEGISLATION
    The Law Commission has completed its review of the legislative framework for adult residential care, community care, adult protection and support for carers. It concluded that the current framework is inadequate, often incomprehensible and outdated – ‘a confusing patchwork of conflicting statutes enacted over a period of 60 years’. The aim of the review was to provide a clearer, more cohesive framework for adult social care. The recommendations are now being considered by Government, alongside the Dilnot proposals. Link to reports

  • PUBLIC HEALTH CHANGES PRESS AHEAD: PUTTING HOUSING ONTO THE AGENDA
    Whilst legislation to change the NHS has slowed due to public opposition, reform of Public Health is well underway. This latest report from DH, Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Update and Way Forward, sets out progress & the steps to full implementation.

    The housing sector is campaigning for mandatory representation on the new Public Health and Wellbeing Boards, as well as making Boards specifically responsible for addressing the wider social determinants of health (eg. addressing housing and environmental factors). In this report the former proposal is rejected (clause 2.33). The latter is noted in a number of clauses, but it will be the detail of the Public Health Outcomes Framework, due out later in the year, that will be key to translating this general principle into priority for action (and hence expenditure).

    There are three specific public health functions set out in the report (p27-8) that LAs will have to undertake which are of particular relevance to older people and housing i) accidental injury prevention ii) local initiatives to reduce excess deaths as a result of seasonal mortality iii) local initiatives to tackle social exclusion. These could provide the necessary impetus for jointly commissioning home adaptation and repair services in order to reduce falls/ cut winter deaths/ enable independence. Link

    Housing and Health Connections: Recent Reports, Data and Resources

    Official Parliamentary Briefing on Health and Housing
    Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology Post Note 371, 2011, PostNote 371

    Localism: delivering integration across housing, health and care
    Chartered Institute of Housing/ Housing LIN, 2011, report link

    Local Authority Private Sector Housing Services: Delivering Housing, Health and Social Care Priorities, Helping Vulnerable People and Local Communities
    Cites key benefits of PSHR, including links to older people’s social care and health improvement Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, 2011, Report link

  • COMMUNITY EQUIPMENT – NEW CODE OF PRACTICE
    The Code of Practice for Community Equipment is the official publication of a new Community Equipment Code of Practice Scheme. It sets down a quality framework for procurement and provision of services covering all methods of provision, including the Transforming Community Equipment Services (TCES) Retail Model. The Code of Practice has been officially endorsed by the National Association of Equipment Providers (NAEP) and many other organisations, and is an integral part of the new Code of Practice Scheme which has been set up by a not-for-profit organisation to administer registration of organisations applying the Code. Link to Community Equipment

  • DEMENTIA TRAINING RESOURCE FROM DEPT OF HEALTH
    The Dept of Health has set out 8 ‘Common Core Principles’ for those supporting people with dementia in a staff training guide. Whilst written for health and social care staff, the publication would be equally useful to staff and volunteers in other sectors as a training resource. Link

MONEY & ADVICE

  • WELFARE REFORM BILL: HOUSING BENEFIT CUT FOR UNDER-OCCUPATION
    Under plans included in the Welfare Reform Bill, many tenants deemed to be ‘under-occupying’ their home will have their housing benefit reduced. Disability and housing groups have been lobbying for exemptions in the case of homes which have been adapted. It is argued that such benefit cuts could result in a waste of public money; for example, a couple or single disabled person living in a two bedroom flat which has had bathroom and kitchen adaptations installed could be forced to move and further adaptation costs incurred in a new one bed property. The Bill will be next be debated in the Lords on 19th September. Link

  • HOUSING BENEFIT CHANGES AHEAD FOR SUPPORTED HOUSING TENANTS
    The Dept for Work and Pensions (DWP) is planning to change the way that it calculates housing benefit for people who are living in social and voluntary sector supported housing. Proposals include linking the amount payable to the locally fixed housing allowance and a service charges review. The current consultation covers people under retirement age but plans affecting pensioners are expected soon. Consultation closing date: 9th October 11. Link

  • FUEL POVERTY SOARS
    Newly released figures from Department of Energy and Climate Change show a large rise in fuel poverty, with 5.5 million (one in five) households in the UK now needing to spend more than 10% of their income on household energy. These are 2009 figures, so with the recent gas and electricity price rises of up to 19% announced by two major suppliers, and others expected to follow suit, campaigners estimate that the real figure this winter will be closer to 6.4 million households. Link

  • REPRIEVE FOR PAPER CHEQUES
    The clearance system for cheques will not be phased out by 2018, as originally proposed, and will now continue for ‘as long as customers need them’. This decision has been particularly influenced by the needs of older people who are expected to continue to be the main users of cheques. The cheque guarantee card system ended on 30th June 11. Link

  • HOUSING & CARE ADVICE & INFORMATION FOR OLDER PEOPLE: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
    The Good: FirstStop, the independent national advice helpline and web-based information resource is to be funded by DCLG for at least a further two years, and possibly four. The Bad: A 20% year on year reduction. The Ugly: Council funding cuts are reducing the capacity of many local organisations to offer comprehensive advice and information, let alone in depth support eg. for moving home. The beacon on the horizon is the emphasis in both the Dilnot and Law Commission reports of the importance of older people and families being able to access independent, quality advice and information about options in order to exercise choice and control over later life living arrangements. www.housingcare.org

  • LOCAL AUTHORITY RESEARCH AFFIRMS NEED FOR IMPROVED CARE & SUPPORT INFORMATION
    Research commissioned by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has highlighted the growing significance of people paying for their own care and support (‘self-funders’) and underlined the importance of people getting the right information and advice. The two linked reports from the Institute for Public Policy at Oxford Brookes University and Melanie Henwood Associates suggest that people who pay for their own care are not guaranteed greater choice and control unless they are properly advised, but many people do not wish to approach councils to get that advice. Link

SERVICE PROVISION: NEW POSSIBILITIES

  • GOVERNMENT’S VISION OF PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY REVOLUTION SET OUT IN WHITE PAPER
    Opening up all public service delivery to a range of providers, as set out in this recent White Paper, will have far reaching implications for every aspect of public life. Whilst welcoming aspects of the proposals, NCVO are calling for safeguards to ensure that commissioning decisions include assessment of the full social, environmental and economic value of a service, and note significant other concerns for the voluntary sector, including the size of contracts, whereby only the biggest providers can bid. Link

  • CHARITIES AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISES INCREASE ROLE IN DELIVERY OF PUBLIC SERVICES
    The charity and social enterprise (C&SE) sector is playing a significantly increased role in delivering public services. The annual survey from the Cabinet Office reveals that a quarter (24%) of C&SE organisations reported this to be their main role in 2010, compared with 14% in 2008. Link to survey

  • CREATING NEW THIRD SECTOR ORGANISATIONS
    Get Legal has been developed by NCVO, to enable third sector organisations and their advisors to access clear information and guidance on the most appropriate legal form and governance structure for the activities that they wish to undertake. For more information visit: www.getlegal.org.uk

  • TIME TO CO-OPERATE?
    Co-operatives UK is the national trade body that campaigns for co-operation and works to promote, develop and unite co-operative enterprises. Their website includes basic information about setting up a co-operative venture + links to support, from business advice to legal and finance. www.uk.coop . A report, funded by DH and Co-ops UK, ‘Self Managed Care – a co-operative approach’ describes co-operative approaches to the personalisation agenda that are innovative and practical. Link to report

  • INSPIRATION FOR RURAL AREAS: THE PLUNKETT FOUNDATION
    The Plunkett Foundation helps rural communities through supporting and advocating for community-ownership, such as services, shops and food production. www.plunkett.co.uk

  • OVER THE HILL? GROWING OLDER IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE: DVD & REPORT
    Across England older people are devising innovative solutions to the housing and financial challenges they face living in rural areas. This film shows highlights 8 successful solutions, including the Derbyshire Housing Options Service view the Over the Hill? report

  • SURVIVE AND THRIVE? CHARITY SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
    This report argues that technology can help voluntary groups maximise resources, raise money, communicate more effectively and deliver services more efficiently. It outlines some of the ways that charities and third sector organisations of all sizes are already seizing opportunities and lists links to links to the latest pro-bono advice and support. site link

  • GUIDES TO RAISING FUNDS FROM CHARITABLE TRUSTS
    Looking to raise funds from grant-making trusts? It may be worth subscribing to the Directory of Social Change’s database of around 1,200 Trusts - trustfunding.org.uk. Costs £250+vat or buy the books:
    Directory of Grant Making Trusts, £125 – concise details of 2,500 trusts
    Guide to the Major Trusts Volume 1, £65 – detailed information of the 400 largest trusts
    Guide to the Major Trusts Volume 2, £65 – detailed information of a further 1,000

NEWS

  • THINK-TANK CALLS FOR REINSTATEMENT OF PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSING FUND
    The Centre for Social Justice, originally set up by DWP Minister Iain Duncan-Smith, has set out its proposals to tackle the problems of poverty and social isolation amongst older people in a new report, Age of Opportunity-Transforming the lives of older people in poverty. The section on housing highlights the growing number of low income older owner occupiers who are finding it difficult to meet repair, maintenance and adaptations costs. It makes extensive reference to the work of Care & Repair services, as well as citing research by Care & Repair England. Amongst the very helpful solutions proposed are reinstatement of the Private Sector Housing funding and a fundamental review and improvement of home adaptations delivery. Less helpful is the suggestion that the current Disabled Facilities Grant limit of £30,000 should be cut to £6,500. Read the Centre for Social Justice report

  • BLUE BADGE DISABLED PARKING SCHEME REFORMS
    The government has announced reforms of the “blue badge” scheme, including transferring eligibility assessment from GPs to ‘independent mobility assessors’. Local councils are at different stages of implementation but some have already set up teams of occupational therapists as assessors. Councils are also now able to charge up to £10 for successful applications. The simplest way to apply for a blue badge is via the DirectGov website; typing in the applicants postcode directly gives a direct link to their local council’s application process. DirectGov

  • ‘ISOLATION WEEK’ EXPERIMENT REVEALS IMPACT OF LONELINESS
    For a week, ten volunteers aged 22 – 50 years were not allowed any human contact and could only to watch programmes on TV or the internet. Within days the majority had started to experience feelings similar to those described by housebound, isolated older people, including lethargy, lack of motivation to do things or even get out of bed, were ‘uncharacteristically’ emotional, weepy and lacking in concentration. The experiment was part of charity Friends of the Elderly’s efforts to raise the profile of the impact of social isolation and loneliness on older people. Link

  • AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT……….THE iPOT
    Non intrusive surveillance to help to ensure older people’s safety is nothing new, but this special electric kettle, an "i-pot" (for information pot) is proving popular in Japan. It not only boils water but also records the times the user pushes a button and dispenses the water. A wireless communication device at the bottom of the i-pot sends a signal to a server enabling tracking of ‘normal’ levels of activity and alerting monitoring centres to lack of use and hence possible problems. Time, perhaps, for an enterprising group to bring it to the UK? Link


    This News and Policy Update is produced by Care & Repair England
    The Renewal Trust Business Centre, 3 Hawksworth Street, Nottingham, NG3 2EG
    Tel/ Fax: 0115 950 6500
    Email Care & Repair England
    www.careandrepair-england.org.uk

    Every effort has been made to ensure the information above is correct. However, Care & Repair England cannot accept any responsibility for errors and omissions.

    Care & Repair England is an Industrial and Provident Society with Charitable Status Reg 25121


    Previous Newsletters

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2010 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Autumn 2010 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Spring 2010 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2009 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Summer 2009 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Spring 2009 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2008 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Autumn 2008 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Summer 2008 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Spring 2008 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2007 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Autumn 2007 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Summer 2007 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Spring 2007 edition) can be viewed here

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2006 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Autumn 2006 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Summer 2006 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Spring 2006 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2005 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Autumn 2005 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Summer 2005 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Spring 2005 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2004/05 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Autumn 2004 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Summer 2004 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Spring 2004 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2003/04 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update (Winter 2002/03 edition) can be viewed here.

    • The Care & Repair England News and Policy Update briefing paper (Spring 2003 edition) can be viewed here.