The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Select Committee has today published its report on long term funding of adult social care, with a chapter devoted to housing and planning. In summary:
- The Committee welcomes the emphasis on housing models and solutions for older and disabled people in the government’s Adult Social Care Strategy, as well as its commitment to fund integrated strategies. However, it notes the detail of how these ambitions will be reached, and how the £300m funding for integrated strategies will be accessed, is light. (We understand that officials at DHSC are working on this.)
- Under provision/resourcing for local planning teams is noted, as by raised by CIH in the evidence we submitted. Many local areas do not have robust housing needs assessments for older and disabled people, so lack clear strategies for housing solutions. There have been calls for a national housing strategy for older and disabled people (which we would support as a good framework for driving local plans) but in its evidence to the Committee government pointed to a planned task force on housing for older people. The Committee recommends there should also be one for housing for disabled people which we would support.
- In order to drive change, the Committee recommends that government consider making it a statutory requirement for local planning authorities to have a robust needs assessment for housing needs of older and disabled people. We would support this but note that planning teams would need to be properly resourced to do this.
- The report also finds a lack of join up, both ministerially and across departments, on planning for greater integration of housing with health and social care. We would hope that this would be addressed by the task forces recommended above.
CIH welcomes the report’s findings which highlight where further work is needed to deliver on the government’s ambition to “make every decision about care a decision about housing”.
It’s clear that housing has an important role to play in stabilising the adult social care market and reducing pressures on frontline services. We must ensure that we have the right types of housing to meet changing needs, supporting people to stay in their own home. This will improve health and wellbeing outcomes and save costs: sheltered housing saves the NHS £486 million a year.
We look forward to further details on the government’s taskforce on older people’s housing. We hope that they will also consider the committee recommendation to establish one on disabled people’s housing, as well as reviewing the resourcing of planning teams to support local needs housing assessments.