Thursday, 16 November

By Amy Long, Senior Consultant at Inner Circle Consulting


At the recent Demos event on implementing a new vision for social care, I was reminded of a statement formulated by the #SocialCareFuture movement’s vision, which states: We all want to live in the place we call home, with the people and things we love, in communities where we look out for each other, doing the things that matter to us.


This call to action has been adopted by many, including the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). But the consequences for integrated transformation have not yet been compelling. Housing and accommodation are rarely included as a priority in Adult Social Care (ASC) Transformation plans.


This has got to change if those plans are to succeed. Creating homes and communities that feel safe and inclusive is vital to helping residents remain in their homes for longer, and key to helping councils reducecostly packages of care.


Central government is paying more attention to supported housing. The recently introduced Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act places regulatory responsibility on local authorities to reduce poor quality accommodation within the sector, and there are expectations to improve energy efficiency in social housing stock by 2035. This should provide improved quality of accommodation for residents- but so far there has been little success in meeting demand. As of 2022, Homes England had built 69% of its target of 12,200 properties, and the GLA just 9% of its 3,500; due to be in achieved by 2026.


In any case, homes and accommodation are about more than bricks and mortar. Homes are places we feel like we can belong. A key part of supported housing isn’t just the support that people receive within its walls, but the community that lives there. People should be supported to maintain relationships with loved ones, and to build new relationships with housemates and neighbours – as well as being given the space to pursue their own interests. As well as increasing independence and avoiding loneliness, this ensures that such schemes feel like homes rather than institutions. Anchor estimates that the social value of living in supported housing schemes as an older person is around £3,000 per person, per year.


At ICC, we have supported housing and social care teams together to unlock potential new supported housing developments. Based on our work to date, here are some of our recommendations to provide exciting and appropriate homes:


  • Co-design with residents at the heart of planned new developments or re-developments, to ensure spaces are designed with those who live there in mind.
  • Ensure ASC transformation plans consider the role housing can play in meeting needs, and how this can be unlocked in both the short and long-term.
  • Embed strategic working between Social Care, Housing and Planning colleagues, to ensure the needs of the social care population are clearly captured and considered by other colleagues when identifying potential new developments, for specific specialist housing, as well as providing new housing that can provide a route out of supported living when individuals are ready.
  • Ensure a multi-agency approach to allocations that centres individual needs and considers future neighbours and housemates.
  • Encourage creativity in Supported Housing designs, including commercial spaces (from hairdressers to restaurants) and community spaces that could provide a “hub and spoke” model for the wider community
  • Design models such as those proposed by the Social Care Centre for Excellence (SCIE) where there is a thriving continuum of accommodation-based care, including schemes such as HomeShare that meet individual’s housing needs as well as providing care within a genuine home environment.