Agenda item

Housing with Care and Support Strategy 2018 - 2025


The Chair welcomed Lancashire County Council officers: Joanne Reed, Head of Service for Policy, Information & Commissioning (Live Well), Craig Frost, Policy, Information and Commissioning Manager (Age Well) and Julie Dockerty, Policy, Information and Commissioning Senior Manager.


The report presented provided an update on the implementation of the county council's Housing with Care and Support Strategy for 2018 – 2025.

The Committee provided feedback regarding the draft Strategy, as presented and sought further clarification as follows:


·  Members commented that the key investigations from the consultation centred on working with developers and service providers, rather than meaningful engagement with families. The consultation responses showed that only 21% of feedback on the draft strategy was from family members, members of the public or unspecified, meaning that the most vulnerable had not been reached for their comments. Officers countered that although the exact number of family members who had responded could not be confirmed, a significant number had been family members. Regular local meetings with stakeholders and family members had taken place to share information and establish common concerns and a number of mechanisms had been put in place such as a Transfer and Challenge group to engage those who would be affected. It was also confirmed that the initial work had been at a strategic level and this would be followed by more detailed work by Social Care officers regarding gathering information about individuals' circumstances for the next stage.


·  Concerns were expressed regarding the risk assessment of housing providers' finances which had been raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Regulator of Social Housing. It was clarified that the district council partners would need to comment on this and that the county council were awaiting further guidance from central government regarding equity-linked supported housing.


·  The vision and strategic aims of the previous strategy had also committed to having at least one extra care scheme per district. Members asked why only a third of districts had implemented this.  Officers clarified that many of the issues causing a lack of confidence in the market from developers and registered providers, arising from welfare reforms had now been resolved. Districts were committed to developing extra care schemes and there was an enthusiasm to move forward and make investments.

The schemes relied on funding from Homes England and other partners. However Lancashire County Council may make a financial contribution for high priority areas, where there was a strategic need for a service which could not proceed without such a capital contribution.


·  Members stated that the focus of provision of extra care units for older adults should be prioritised according to need rather than aiming for an additional one per district. The report indicated that some districts already had some units in existence or were being developed, when others had none. Officers clarified that the county council was undertaking a needs analysis at both district and neighbourhood level to determine the number of care schemes required, in terms of risk and need according to health and social care data. The county council also needed to consider what land opportunities were available in the districts. The aim of one unit per district was a starting point and the additional needs analysis would highlight where more were needed.


·  Members requested that data detailing estimated numbers of units needed compared to the number already in existence or under development, be provided for the supported places for young adults with disabilities.


·  Members expressed concern that the data indicated that currently only 16.5% of need for older adult care units had been met and suggested that county council work with planning authorities (district councils) to ensure housing developers were required to provide a percentage of supported housing. In response to a question it was clarified that the flat scheme for younger adults with disabilities largely consisted of renovating existing buildings. Members commented that district councils need to be more involved at the planning stage and suggested including district council members on the Transfer and Challenge group.


·  Members asked how supporting services peripheral to the strategy, e.g. public transport, would be considered as part of the strategy. It was confirmed that access to facilities, either on site or close by would be built into the specifications to mitigate the risk of isolation.


In response to further questions it was confirmed that:


·  Work was being undertaken to identify the population profile per district. The county council had secured consultants from the Local Government Association to look at the approach to development and this included taking into account an environmentally sound methodology for provision.


·  Assistive technology would include a range of devices to assist with falls management and included mobile technology to support interaction in the community. There was an increased focus on introducing assistive technology and it was necessary that this was kept up to date. This gave an opportunity to support respite for family members by giving them peace of mind.


·  The county council had worked with L'Arche (a charity that offered support for adults with learning disabilities) on a flat scheme in Preston. It was acknowledged that housing schemes away from communities could be isolated, but conversely a scheme within a community had the potential for residents to be taken advantage of. Some would be integrated depending on the needs of the residents. The county council would act on the advice of providers and developers with the necessary expertise when planning sites and facilities.


The establishment of a task and finish group to review the strategy in more detail was suggested. In considering the suggestion it was felt that the Committee's Steering Group be asked to consider the request in the first instance.


Resolved: That the Health Scrutiny Committee;


1.  The intention to promote the development of more extra care schemes for older adults and flat schemes for younger adults with disabilities be supported.


2.  The request for a task and finish group to the Health Scrutiny Steering group to review the Housing with Care and Support Strategy in more detail be considered by the Health Scrutiny Steering Group at its earliest convenience.


3.  Noted with concern the discrepancies between planned development compared with the estimated units needed.


Supporting documents: