This page captures the headlines from the Housing LIN's 2012 annual conference, held on 12 December 2012, at the Riverside Park Plaza, Albert Embankment, London.
John Frankiewisz, conference Chair and Divisional CEO of Willmott Dixon, welcomed a packed Ballroom at the Riverside Park Plaza to the Housing Learning and Improvement Network's 2nd national conference, ' Investing in Solutions: Making it Happen'. He told the 300+ delegates that such was the demand that all the places had gone within 48hours of opening booking arrangements and there had been a reserve list of 80+! He thanked all the sponsors for their financial support which has made this conference possible. He encouraged everyone to visit their exhibition stands.
And finally, he highlighted that this year's event brought together inspirational speakers, thought-leaders and experts in the field who have all given up their time to share their views, debate and support knowledge and innovation exchange - values dear to the Housing Learning and Improvement Network.
Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support, provided an overview of the Department of Health's commitment to housing and its integral role to accommodate the care and support needs of older and vulnerable people.
He highlighted that in the week that the government published its review of Winterbourne View (opens new window), there is recognition that good quality housing with care and support can provide suitable accommodation for many people with a learning disability and autism. However, he stated that "neglect in institutions must not translate to neglect in the community".
He pointed to his Department's Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund and how sector innovation must extend the housing with care choices of older people, including people with dementia.
He made the connection with housing and the work of the Prime Minister's Challenge to enhance dementia-friendly environments. Working with the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority (in London) he encouraged delegates to submit good quality bids for new specialised housing that also reflect HAPPI design principles and encourage a greater diversity of housing supply.
And lastly, the Minister formally announced an additional £40m for Disabled Facilities Grants in 2012/13. The 'one off' payment has been allocated to Councils to enable more older people and adults with disabilities to have better quality of life but also help them remain independent in their own home.
- Sarah Pickup, President of the Association of Directors of Social Services and Director of Community Services at Hertfordshire County Council, gave a stirring speech called for the greater integration of housing, health and social care to build a better understanding of cross-sector improvements that can deliver better outcomes for older people.
Making a number of Dickensian references in her presentation, 'Hard Times, Great Expectations', Sarah concluded that tough time need good decision-making to deliver great expectations.
She outlined some of the 'flexicare' approaches that her authority has taken to provide more housing with care choices in the County. She explained how this helped transform services to deliver more tailored care and support to older people eg following a hospital stay, and achieve system efficiencies within health and social care economies. This would not have been possible without the involvement of housing partners - district councils, housing associations and the private sector.
- Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, spoke on 'What housing will suit us as we age? Preparing in a cold climate'. With a frosty morning outside the venue and the publication of the census figures this week, Julia called for a revolution in the way society address the housing needs and aspirations of an ageing population.
Julia highlighted a several important new findings from the JRF (see Housing LIN December newsletter (opens new window) for details) that identifies a range of practice examples for providers, commissioners, front-line workers as well as policy recommendations on what can be done to ensure a better quality of life in the current challenging climate.
She concluded, "housing has to be at the heart of our offer to ensure strong, resilient communities. We need inspirational leadership in care matters to help people thrive." Click here to see Julia's presentation (opens new window)
Nick Abbey, Chief Executive of ExtraCare Charitable Trust was the final speaker. Picking up on some of the comments made at last year's conference, Nick talked on, 'Why extra care housing is still the right answer'.
Starting with a short film (opens new window) narrated by Dr Mark Porter that showcases ECCT's health & wellbeing programme, he gave delegates a tour of the pioneering work supporting the care needs and lifestyle choice of residents in their extra care and village communities. He outlines the benefits of their dedicated Wellbeing Advisors in helping to reduce medication, hospitalisation, and morbidity, compared to people living in traditional residential care.
He went on to outline the Enriched Opportunities Programme and the work of their 'locksmiths' that helps people with dementia with personalised support. He described the value back at an individual levels and in terms to the public purse.
And finally, he also illustrated how extra care housing for rent and/or sale is a highly affordable product and, post the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, remains a good return on investment. ECCT's strengths are that they know best how to manage, deliver and design services at scale to reflect the needs and wishes of the local community and, at the same time, take into account the HAPPI principles. He concluded, "money is never a problem when there is a good idea". Click here to see Nick's presentation (opens new window)
Funding: investing in our future
The first Panel Debate was chaired by Mel Knight, Chief Executive of Castleoak, and explored public and private sector capital investment into extra care captured in the new Housing LIN's Get Smart guide, 'Innovative Funding and Delivering Options in Extra Care Sheltered Housing (opens new window)'
Marketing: raising the game
The second Panel Debate was chaired by Jeremy Porteus, Director of the Housing LIN, and explored the key issues for "raising the game" in marketing extra care housing to older people, commissioners, planners, funders and providers. The session also saw the launch of a new guide, 'Housing in Later Life: Planning ahead for specialist housing for older people (opens new window)'
Jeremy Porteus, Director of the Housing LIN, provided the closing remarks. He thanked the sponsors, speakers, session leaders and chairs, and delegates who all contributed to making this an inspiring day. He also personally thanked Jerome, Tom, Suzanne, Lois and Viv for all the 'behind the scenes' work and help on the day. He wished everyone Season's Greetings and a safe journey home.
And finally, we would like to thank everyone who made this conference and exhibition possible, it would not have been possible without your support. Feedback from delegates confirms that this event was even better than our inaugural event. We therefore look forward to building on this foundation with you