The government has again failed to tackle the funding of sleep in care, says VODG as it responds to the latest development in the long-running crisis. The national umbrella group, which represents disability charities, says the sleep in crisis remains critical and unresolved despite repeated calls for action from across the social care sector.
The government recently made an announcement about funding supported housing.
You can read the announcement here.
This is a plain English summary about these proposals and what Learning Disability England thinks about them.
The government has been talking for several years about changing how the funding for supported housing works.
The government proposed that the funding would be restricted to to the Local Housing Allowance rate for supported housing.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much housing benefit you can get if you rent privately.
Local Housing Allowance comes through central government’s Housing Benefit system. LHA doesn’t cover all the money needed for supported housing so the government said it would make up the extra money needed by giving it to local authorities.
Many organisations and people said that this would be complicated and make it harder to get supported housing, including Learning Disability England members. You can read what our members said here.
The government listened to what everyone said and they changed their minds about how to fund supported housing.
Types of Supported Housing
There are 3 different types of supported housing:
1. Sheltered and extra care housing.
This type of housing is mainly for older people but some people with learning disabilities also live in sheltered housing.
2. Short term housing.
These are places where people would live short term for up to two years and then move on, like refuges and homeless hostels.
3. Long term supported housing.
This is where people live in their own homes or share with housemates and get support. Most people with learning disabilities live in this type of supported housing.
The Government’s Proposals
The government are proposing to have different arrangements for each of these types of supported housing:
1. Sheltered and extra care housing.
The government is proposing to restrict the rent for this type of housing. They want to have a cap which will mean there’s a limit on how high the rent can be.
This will not affect existing housing but will affect new housing after the changes are made.
The government wants housing providers to be transparent and publish information about how much they charge for rent and also the charges for extra services to keep the property in good shape.
The government will agree what extra care and sheltered housing means so we know which schemes for people with learning disabilities will be included in these changes.
2. Temporary housing.
The government is proposing to give a grant to local authorities to pay for temporary housing services.
We are not sure about the impact of these changes on people with learning disabilities because we do not know about much temporary supported housing for people with learning disabilities.
We will ask our members how this will affect them.
3. Long term supported housing.
The government is proposing to pay for long term supported housing from housing benefit, like it is now.
This means that all of the money for long term supported housing rents will come from central government.
The rents for this housing will not be restricted to the LHA cap, like sheltered and extra care housing.
New Planning and Oversight Regime
The government is proposing that there is a new way to plan and check supported housing.
They are proposing that local authorities find out how much supported housing is needed locally.
They are also proposing that there is a local strategic plan to say how they will make sure people have the supported housing they need.
The strategic plan for supported housing must link with other local plans that involve tenants of supported housing, like social care, health, education and employment.
They have said that plans must include a range of organisations and people and be collaborative. This means tenants, families and housing providers must work together.
They have said that the way they plan and check supported housing must be transparent, so that everyone knows what the plans are and how and why they are making those plans.
Many Learning Disability England members asked for a better way to plan supported housing and make sure that plans were linked with social care and health, and include people with learning disabilities.
The government is doing a consultation to ask what tenants, housing providers and other organisations think about these proposals.
You need to tell the government what you think by the 23rd January 2018.
Learning Disability England will be asking members what they think and will give feedback to the government.
The proposals for long term supported housing are what LDE members asked for and it is good that the government have listened.
These proposals let investors and providers of supported housing get on and develop the housing that people with learning disabilities want and need.
The proposals to plan and deliver supported housing strategically and transparently are welcome – the ad-hoc approach to supported housing has meant that people with learning disabilities don’t always get what they need so we hope that this brings the changes needed.
Along with the rest of the housing sector, most of our members will welcome these changes. We will be checking in with our members to see what they think.
Public Health England and VODG (the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group), have launched the updated Health Charter for social care providers who support people with a learning disability. The Charter was developed with people with learning disabilities and their families to support providers to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities.
Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse at Public Health England, said:
“The Health Charter has been developed for adult social care providers and staff who have an important role in helping people access good healthcare and lead a healthy lifestyle. It is intended to raise awareness of the health inequalities that exist for people with a learning disability and act as a tool to enable staff to improve support given to enable people to embed healthy lifestyle. The Charter supports staff to increase access to and uptake of healthchecks and screening programmes.”
Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive at VODG said:
“People with learning disabilities live shorter lives and have worse health than the general population. Social care services have a key role in tackling these health inequalities by supporting people to get the best out of health services and live a healthy life. The updated Health Charter covers the main elements of support that contribute to maintaining good physical and mental health and now includes a commitment to addressing over-medication, in particular the overuse of psychotropic medicines. This is an important step towards ensuring that people with learning disabilities are only taking the medication they really need and are not experiencing unnecessary side effects.”
Social care providers can sign up to the Health Charter here.
This updated version of the Charter includes information on the STOMP campaign for social care providers to stop the over-medication of people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
To support the national programme to transform care for people with a learning, disability, autism or both, NHS England and its partners have commissioned an evaluation of the programme. This is being carried out by The Strategy Unit, ICF (a health research and consultancy company); the British Institute for Learning Disabilities (BILD) and the University of Birmingham.
The main aim of the evaluation is to learn about how effectively local areas are delivering the ambitions set out in Building the Right Support (BRS), to understand how we can improve quality and outcomes. Your feedback will play a valuable and vital role as the evaluation is particularly keen to identify and share good practice in order to drive the change that is needed.
An important early part of this evaluation is a national survey of the 48 Transforming Care Partnerships (TCPs). We are inviting people and organisations who have been involved in any aspect of work in their local TCP to take part. We want to hear from everyone who has a view of any or all of this work including:
- people with a learning disability, autism or both, their family members and carers
- experts by experience
- TCP SROs and leaders
- directors of adult social services and children’s services
- all professionals, clinicians and staff involved in improving the quality of care and support – whether in health, social care, housing or education
- commissioners and providers of care and support
The survey will be from 19th October to 1st December 2017. You can access the survey using this link.
An easy read version is available.
The survey will take 15-20 minutes. We welcome views from everyone, so please forward the survey to your wider contacts and networks.
We will not attribute any views to individuals or their organisations – your feedback will be treated in confidence.
We thank you in advance for your co-operation with this important work.