The Provision of Social Care in Extra Care Housing (ECHO)

Robin Darton, Ailsa Cameron, Randall Smith, Ellie Johnson, Liz Lloyd, Teresa Atkinson, Simon Evans, Jeremy Porteus (2016)

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In recent years, the central role of housing in the development of effective community care services has become widely recognised. For example, in setting out the general duty of local authorities to promote well-being, the Care Act 2014 includes well-being relating to the suitability of an individual’s living accommodation. In particular, housing with care has become increasingly popular, and has been seen by policy-makers and commissioners as offering a cost-effective alternative to residential homes.

However, the organisation of housing with care is complex, with a range of funding arrangements and the need to provide housing services together with care and support. Furthermore, commissioners of services have to respond to multiple, and possibly conflicting, changes in policy and practice, for example personalisation, the introduction of personal budgets, changes in eligibility criteria, spending reductions and welfare changes. There is a danger that, by concentrating on contracts and services, commissioners may lose sight of the more strategic aspects of commissioning necessary to facilitate high quality care and support (Smith, 2015).

The ECHO project (The Provision of Social Care in Extra Care Housing), which began in 2015, and its forerunner, the ASSET project, were commissioned and funded by the Department of Health’s NIHR School for Social Care Research. This presentation will draw on interviews conducted in the two projects to examine the strategic response of commissioners to the process of developing and shaping the provision of housing with care.

Reference Smith, P. (2015) Extra Care Housing: Top Tips for Commissioners. Housing LIN Viewpoint No. 75, December 2015. London: Housing Learning & Improvement Network.