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NEWS AND POLICY UPDATE:

Winter 2007

Information for the providers and commissioners of housing related services for older and disabled people

HOUSING

  • REGIONAL HOUSING POT – PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSING LOOKS SET TO LOSE OUT
    The Comprehensive Spending Review for 2008-11 included an above inflation increase for housing. Regional Housing Allocations are going up by as much as 50%. The priority is building affordable new homes and a picture is emerging of both the increased funding and also some previously earmarked private sector housing renewal (PSHR) funding going into new build. One of the Regions that seems to be worst affected is the South West. The original proposal here was to cut PSHR funds by 50% with most of the cuts in the first 2 years (£27m in 07-08 down to £5m in 08-09). This is being reviewed following local lobbying and other Regions are understood to now be looking more closely at the implications of cuts to PSHR. Care & Repair England's Briefing is available in the Information section click on ‘What’s New’.

  • DECENT HOMES TARGETS DROPPED IN COMPREHENSIVE SPENDING REVIEWDECENT HOMES TARGETS DROPPED IN COMPREHENSIVE SPENDING REVIEW
    The previous targets to eliminate non-decent social rented homes and to reduce the proportion of vulnerable private sector households living in non-decent homes have not been included in the new set of government public service agreements (PSAs) published in the recent Comprehensive Spending Review. In addition, the new National Indicators (NIs) that will be used to assess all local authorities only include one housing specific indicator “% decent council homes” (NI 158). Whilst there are other PSAs and NIs that housing improvement can contribute to achieving, the case will need to be made locally for this. See our Briefing in the Information section click on ‘What’s New’.

  • HOUSING AND REGENERATION BILL PUBLISHED
    The Housing and Regeneration Bill has begun its passage through Parliament. It sets the legal framework for the creation and operation of the new ‘Homes and Communities Agency’ (replacing the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships), defining its remit as i) to improve the supply and quality of housing ii) to secure the regeneration or development of land or infrastructure iii) to support in other ways the creation, regeneration or development of communities in England or their continued well-being. A separate body, the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords, will be set up to regulate the social housing sector. Part 3 of the Bill includes the introduction of a ‘Sustainability Certificate’ for new homes; this could be used as a route to bringing in Lifetime Homes Standards as a contribution to addressing population ageing and ‘future-proofing’ developments. www.services.parliament.uk/bills/.

  • GOVERNMENT’S HOUSING STRATEGY FOR AN AGEING POPULATION DELAYED
    This Strategy now looks set to be launched in January 2008. It is widely anticipated that the outcome of the review of the Disabled Facilities Grant scheme will be published at the same time, hopefully with an announcement about the DFG financial settlement for 2008-2011

  • GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES NEW PLANNING BILL
    The main focus of this legislation is to speed up major infrastructure developments, bringing the average time for planning decisions down to under a year. With regard to domestic properties the Bill includes proposals to end the need for planning permission for minor changes such as conservatories, small extensions and the installation of domestic-scale renewable energy improvements (eg. solar panels and wind turbines) where these alterations have little or no impact on neighbouring properties. www.services.parliament.uk/bills/.

  • LIFETIME HOMES STANDARDS IN THE CODE FOR SUSTAINABLE HOMES – SUMMARY REPORT
    A summary of the responses made to the Consultation on making the Code for Sustainable Homes mandatory, including phased implementation of Lifetime Homes Standards, has been published. The majority of respondents, 75% of those who responded to the question, agreed that LTHS should become a mandatory part of the Code, but this was opposed by developers (15 respondents). Whilst many respondents called for earlier introduction of LTHS, the report states that the original phased timescale for introduction will be applied ie. only reaching level 3 in 2013. www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/549499

  • TOWARDS LIFETIME NEIGHBOURHOODS: DESIGNING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES FOR ALL
    This short, accessible report discusses how creating more age-friendly neighbourhoods can contribute to older people’s quality of life through enhancing social engagement, health and well-being and improving the chances of 'active ageing' for all. It considers how the built environment can offer a more accessible, inclusive space for older and disabled people, and the benefits that this offers across the generations. Published by the International Longevity Centre and Communities and Local Government: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/lifetimeneighbourhoods

  • WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) PUBLISHES AGE FRIENDLY CITIES GUIDE
    The number of older people is set to more than triple worldwide over the next half century. To help cities make the most of this growing older population, WHO has published the Global Age-friendly Cities Guide. This is not a grandiose plan; based on work with older people in 35 cities across the globe it proposes affordable measures that can be implemented relatively quickly to make cities more age-friendly. www.who.int/ageing/age_friendly_cities/en/index.html

  • A QUARTER OF DISABLED PEOPLE LIVING IN UNSUITABLE HOMES
    The latest government figures on housing tenure and trends have been published. Housing in England 2005/6 reveals that a quarter of people with a serious medical condition or disability reported living in homes that were not suitable. The overall number of households is continuing to rise at a faster rate than population growth and, logically, the number of single person households is also continuing to increase. Social renting is concentrated amongst the oldest and youngest people: 30% of those 16 to 24yrs and 26% of 75yr+ were social renters. The highest level of owner occupation is amongst those of 45 to 64yrs (79%). www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/HousinginEngland0506

  • HOUSING CORPORATION: HOUSING STRATEGIES FOR VULNERABLE PEOPLE AND OLDER PEOPLE
    Following the publication of its housing strategy for vulnerable people, ‘Investing in Independence’ (www.housingcorp.gov.uk) in September 07, the Housing Corporation is now developing its housing strategy for an ageing society. This is particularly important as the new strategy will help to set the agenda within the new Homes and Communities Agency (see above).

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE NEWS

  • HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE BILL
    This new Bill covers the creation of the Care Quality Commission (the new single regulator for health and social care), the reform of professional regulation, plus a range of other measures. Of interest to the housing and care related sectors is the proposed extension of direct payments to ‘people who lack capacity’(eg. people with dementia, learning disabilities etc) and new powers to enable the Secretary of State to provide financial support to social enterprises which provide health, social care, and related services (via the Social Enterprise Investment Fund) worth an estimated £73 million over four years. www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/
    Legislation/Actsandbills/HealthandSocialCareBill/index.htm

  • CONNECTING HOUSING TO THE HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE AGENDA
    Through a series of case studies this report illustrates how housing and related services can improve public health. Amongst the examples used are those showing how people can be discharged home from hospital earlier if they have adequate housing. Published by the Dept of Health backed Learning and Information Network, this is a useful report for service planners, commissioners and providers who are trying to make the goal of cross sector working a reality. www.icn.csip.org.uk/housing/index.cfm?pid=516&catalogueContentID=2333

  • THREE QUARTERS OF COUNCILS PLAN TO ONLY HELP THOSE WITH CRITICAL /SUBSTANTIAL NEED
    According to the Commission for Social Care Inspection 75% of council’s have indicated that in the current year they will only be offering social care help to adults whose needs are assessed as critical or substantial. West Berkshire, Wokingham, Harrow and Northumberland are applying a ‘critical need’ only threshold –although this is under review in the Northumberland.

  • FALLS AUDIT FINDS HEALTH SERVICES LACKING
    NHS care for patients who have fallen and fractured bones is "inadequate and unacceptable" concludes a study undertaken by the Royal College of Physicians for the Health Care Commission. Despite the NICE Clinical Guidance (No.21), which states that ‘successful multi-factorial intervention programmes contain strength and balance training, home hazard assessment and intervention, vision assessment and referral plus medication review and modification’, most patients returning home from A&E after a fracture were not offered a falls risk assessment and only 22% were referred for exercise training to reduce future falls. www.rcplondon.ac.uk/college/ceeu/fbhop/fbhop-execsummary.pdf

  • MOVING TO HOUSING WITH CARE A POSITIVE CHOICE FOR THE MAJORITY OF RESIDENTS
    A new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation compares a number of housing with care schemes. No one model emerged as the most effective but a number of key elements were identified. Location, design and space standards were important to residents, feeling safe was a primary consideration, as was combining independence and security. The capacity of schemes to support people to the end of life was identified as an issue for further examination. Comparative evaluation of models of housing with care for later life Free from: www.jrf.org.uk/knowledge/findings/housing/2158.asp

  • KEEP WARM KEEP WELL CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED
    This annual government campaign is aimed at low income older or disabled people and families with young children. Making links with health workers is a particular focus. For a range of freely available materials see www.dh.gov.uk/en/PolicyAndGuidance/HealthAndSocialCareTopics/DH_4076849

MONEY

  • DECREASE IN NEW CLAIMS FOR PENSION CREDIT
    Government figures have revealed that 31,000 less new claims were made for pension credit in 2006-7 compared with 2005-6. Help the Aged have calculated that £4.5 billion of the money earmarked for older people’s benefits has remained unclaimed.

  • INDIVIDUAL BUDGETS – A QUESTION OF WHEN AND NOT IF
    DH Minister Ivan Lewis has made it clear that individual budgets are going to be rolled out across the country and not piloted in selected locations. It is anticipated that this process will take a number of years, requiring a complete cultural change in social care. A recommendation included in Our NHS Our Future: NHS Next Stage Review-interim report (which sets out a 10yr vision for the NHS) is being seen as opening up the possibility of some NHS funds being brought into the frame.

  • NORTHERN ROCK – POTENTIAL IMPACT ON THE NORTH EAST VOLUNTARY SECTOR
    The Northern Rock Foundation is one of the biggest corporate funders in the UK, providing charitable and voluntary sector groups in the North East region with £29m in 2006. Its income is based on an annual donation of 5% of Northern Rock plc’s pre-tax profits. The Foundation has given assurances to current grant recipients that it is able to meet all existing grant commitments ie. all projects funded in the current year and those offered grants for up to three years are secure. What is less certain is the possibility of any further grants, though current reserves will enable the Foundation to make some further grants in the short term and they are still inviting new applications.

  • CHARITIES AND TRUSTS WARNED OF LOWER INVESTMENT RETURNS
    The collapse of the sub-prime market, stock market volatility and loss of confidence in the banking sector may seem to have little to do with the voluntary sector. However, most Charitable Trusts and Foundations derive their income from interest on their investments. There is therefore a knock on impact on the amount of grant money available to spend on worthy projects when returns decrease. At a recent high profile conference for charity fund managers there was a strong message that only moderate returns should be anticipated in the short and medium term.

  • TRADING FOR VOLUNTARY SECTOR GROUPS
    In response to the increasing interest in how voluntary sector groups and registered charities can become more self sustaining, less reliant on grant and more geared up for public service delivery the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is continuing to expand and develop its web-based and other information for the sector. For a wide range of factsheets and guidance eg. on trading, loans and financial management visit www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/sfp

  • CAMPAIGN FOR FAIRER FUEL CHARGES HEATS UP
    One out of ten older people uses a pre-payment meter for fuel. Yet the higher tariffs for metered gas and electricity can result in people on the lowest incomes paying over £100 per year more for the same amount of energy as those who pay by quarterly bill. The National Housing Federation is leading a campaign to force energy companies to bring prepayment meter tariffs in line with standard credit rates. For action suggestions see: www.housing.org.uk/default.aspx?TabID=485

NEWS

  • AFTER THE FLOODS – CONCERN ABOUT ROGUE TRADERS CASHING IN
    According to the Association of British Insurers 45,000 households have made insurance claims in relation to the floods earlier this year. Given the likely shortages of builders to deal with this scale of repair, and the 111,000 complaints about cowboy tradesmen that were registered with Trading Standards Officers in just one year (OFT), concern about people being swindled and poor quality building work being carried out is understandable. The Government has held discussions with the construction and insurance industries about helping people to find reputable builders and is calling for greater information sharing between insurers, the construction industry and local councils.

  • FUTURE OF THE NATIONAL CO-ORDINATING BODY FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT AGENCIES
    The consultant’s report commissioned by CLG to consider the scope of any future contract for a co-ordinating body (NCB) for HIAs has been published. It concludes that there is a role for an NCB but that the scope of any future government contract needs to change in response to increasing sector diversification. It also concludes that any future contract should ‘enable the development of a more commercial focus’ of the NCB. www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/scopingncbforhias

  • HACT PUBLISHES KEY FINDINGS FROM ITS OLDER PEOPLE’S PROGRAMME
    This programme has developed, evaluated and publicised innovative approaches to meeting the housing and support needs of older people. For a range of useful reports see: www.hact.org.uk

  • CHARITIES ACT IMPACT – PUBLIC BENEFIT TEST GUIDANCE DELAYED
    Under the Charities Act 2006 all charities now have to demonstrate ‘Public Benefit’. The Guidance on how this is to be applied has been delayed due to the high level of response to an earlier consultation. The Guidance is now due out in January 2008. www.charity-commission.gov.uk/

  • OMBUDSMAN CASE – SEVERELY DISABLED WOMAN LIVED IN ONE ROOM FOR TWO YEARS
    The Local Government Ombudsman has concluded that Leeds City Council’s failures in handling a disabled facilities grant application resulted in a severely disabled woman spending two years confined to bed in her living room. The case also illustrates the problems caused by Choice Based lettings schemes in meeting disabled peoples’ housing needs. The council has agreed to review its procedures and pay £6,605 in compensation. www.lgo.org.uk/news/info.php?refnum=187&startnum=


    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
    info@careandrepair-england.org.uk
    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 (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.