Will shared outcomes include housing?

So we are all now paying more national insurance. This will hit many at a very difficult time when we see prices rising all around us. However, we should welcome additional funding going to the NHS and social care if it helps to reduce the backlogs due to Covid and it starts to solve the social care crisis.

However, money won’t solve these issues on its own. The Adult Social Care Reform White Paper, published last December, outlined how the Government is looking to tackle social care. While the White Paper was light on detail, it was great to see housing given such emphasis, recognising the vital role that specialist housing and improving existing homes can play in enhancing the quality of life for individuals and reducing pressures on health and social care. If the Government can truly ‘make every decision about care a decision about housing’ it will be a big step forward.

This gives the housing sector the opportunity to highlight the preventative benefits of good quality housing and support services. However, this may mean we need to tackle those services that aren’t such good quality. We can’t be contributing to the problems at the same time as arguing that we are part of the solution. Similarly, we may need to develop new ways of working if we are going to get closer to heath and social care, developing new models that respond to identified needs. Some of this change may not be easy, especially given all the competing pressures.

The Government followed up the White Paper with its proposals for health and care integration in February. Joining up care for people, places and populations explains how the Government will aim to “integrate … the planning, commissioning and delivery of co-ordinated, joined up and seamless services to support people to live healthy, independent and dignified lives”.

There’s a couple of key points that caught my attention. The proposals include the development of a new shared outcomes framework for health and social care. The existing separate outcomes frameworks for health and social care have been important because they have influenced where the money goes to achieve the selected outcomes measures. A single integrated outcomes framework should help to bring services together but it means it will be vital that the Government’s recognition of the importance of housing is reflected in the new outcomes. We need to continue to prove the preventative benefits of good housing and services.

The proposals also include a section on using digital and data to integrate care. Many housing organisations are currently investing significantly to upgrade systems so there is the opportunity to build in greater integration with health and social care to maximise the benefits for residents. The recently published TAPPI report, including its 10 principles, helps to chart a way forward.

I know I’ve gone on a little, but there is the real opportunity for housing organisations to be part of the greater integration between health and social care. It just concerns me whether there is the capacity to step up to grab this opportunity when there are so many other challenges facing the sector.

ARK Consultancy can work with you to understand how your housing and services can be part of this integration agenda. We have many years of experience of working with larger and smaller organisations, and with their customers and service users, helping to deliver change to respond effectively to challenges and opportunities.

Nick Sedgwick

Nick is an ARK Consultant with a breath of experience working across local authorities, housing associations and non-departmental public bodies. Nick’s key areas of expertise lies in Housing management, homelessness and care & support

Nick also has experience in the full range of local authority housing responsibilities which include asset management and housing development. Nick is passionate about working in partnership to co-create solutions to improve the quality of life of residents.

Contact Nick Sedgwick