Housing and Safeguarding

The need to enhance safeguarding provisions has dominated discussions around the provision of care and support for vulnerable adults in recent years. It is with this in mind that the important role housing has to play in the safeguarding of ‘adults at risk’ is recognised and it is imperative that as a sector, we understand the contribution staff and organisations can make in keeping people of all ages safe.

Last week Sitra ran a consultation event looking at the implementation of the Care Act 2014 and how housing is both represented in the guidance, and where it should be involved. There is much work to be done across the broad spectrum of implementation, but it is clear that one of the most significant areas of practice where there is wholehearted agreement is about housing’s engagement in Safeguarding.

Of course, for many years, providers of housing and housing support services have taken a very proactive approach to safeguarding – providing training and guidance to staff, contractors and, in many cases, to tenants and service users. However, it is important to understand that the Care Act ties together a whole raft of recent legislation connected with safeguarding. The guidance and legislation rolled together are outlined in the Department of Health factsheet. The overarching impact of this is to strengthen the focus on housing as a key source of both identifying and addressing safeguarding concerns. Reinforces the contribution housing can make to serious case reviews/Adult Safeguarding Boards and emphasises the importance of multi agency working and partnership.

One of the hotly debated elements of the Care Act 2014 pertains to the changes in eligibility threshold. However, it is critical for housing providers to understand that the safeguarding responsibility extends beyond those who meet the eligibility threshold to qualify for care services, and in addition includes those who pay for their own care and support. This means that it is just as important for those supporting tenants in general needs housing to understand the implications of the Care Act on their role and procedures as it is for those in specialist and supported housing.

Sitra recognise this is an area of critical importance for the sector to take forward, and to support this we are doing a number of things:-

  • Sitra have joined the Safeguarding Alliance and will be actively identifying opportunities to share resources and information about safeguarding with members, and to showcase excellent practice.
  • Sitra are hosting a session with Imogen Parry, UK expert on housing and safeguarding. This is running on the 10th July – BOOK NOW!
  • Updating all our training materials to comply with SCIE guidance and best practice on Adult safeguarding for housing staff


Are there other ways in which we can support you in this crucial area? Get in touch.

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One Page Profile – Housing Challenge Day!

Or should I say – “It started with a tweet…… never knew it would end like this!”

Risky business this late night tweeting – can get you into all sorts of exciting relationships! Earlier this year, I happened upon a tweet by the marvellous Helen Sanderson, whose passion and commitment to personalisation have been an inspiration to me for a number of years. Helen was busy championing one page profiles in the health service, as part of the innovative NHS Change Day. She posed a challenge as part of change day to galvanise the health profession into taking up one page profiles.

The concept of one page profiles was not new to me, I knew about Helen’s work, and through Sitra’s detailed personalisation work with housing and support providers we have long championed their usage. However, as those of you who know me will be aware, I do like the notion of a challenge! So, I hooked up with Helen and a plan was formed. Social media champions out there will be pleased to know that all this was done on line – and it was only last week that Helen and I actually met in person!

The challenge was set at the Sitra #changemakers conference in March this year. By the 1st July, Sitra would have supported the development of 100 One Page Profiles for Housing. Supported by a fantastic team at Sitra – including Dani, Geni and Luke – the challenge campaign took shape – and the results are pretty astonishing.

Firstly we built up our gallery of profiles, drawing together example profiles from clients, staff and leading figures in the housing, care and support world. The gallery can be found here – and it is growing all the time.

Next we connected up with organisations committed to implementing one page profiles or growing their usage of them. The details of these organisations can be found here.

Then we pulled together some case studies and presentations on how organisations were using them, and what difference they had made. Some sample cases are here.

Finally we pooled a whole host of resources, ran workshops and developed templates to make it straightforward for others to take up this way of work. Resources are here.

And what about numbers – I am thrilled to say that through the campaign we have been able to identify that the best part of ten thousand profiles are in use in the housing sector. Now – not even I will claim that all these are down to our challenge! But the challenge has helped bring together what feels to me like a leading example of best practice – helping organisations take a first step towards personalisation – towards breaking down barriers between clients and staff – and to embarking on a pathway to culture change which sector leaders feel they will never look back from!

So challenge day is upon us – and the final piece of the challenge jigsaw again came together on line. Helen put us in touch with the inspiring Community Integrated Care, one of the largest national providers of social care services. They too are embarking on an internal voyage to get all clients and staff ‘profiled’ up within a year – now they really like a challenge! We have just finished a jointly hosted session in the NW, bringing together housing and care providers, to encourage even broader take up of one page profiles. With the added bonus of showcasing #integration between housing and care in action!

Big thank you to those who have already put forward their example profiles – the gallery and our resource centre remains very much open for business. And huge thanks to Helen Sanderson and her fantastic colleagues who have given so much support to help us get housing on board. The story definitely does not end here………….

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Care Act 2014 – Housing – More than a foot in the door…….  

Hotly anticipated Guidance for the Care Act 2014 has been issued by the Department of Health. The full guidance can be found here – The Act as it is to be found on the statute books can be found here.

Headline news in this guidance is the recognition that “Housing is a crucial component of care and support as well as a key health related service.”

The Care Act 2014 has been highlighted by Norman Lamb as “the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years, putting people and their carers in control of their care and support”. Important changes include a new prevention duty placed on local authorities, improved information and advice, introduction of national eligibility criteria, and a cap on the contributions that people have to pay towards the cost of their care. The main legislation will be supported by regulations and guidance to help local authorities with implementation and will include specific advice on links with housing.

The guidance is divided into 8 sections and is intended to provide localities with ‘on the ground’ guidance for implementing the Act. Critically, there is a section specifically dedicated to Working with Housing, resulting from a stronger understanding within government at both central and local level, of the critical role housing has to play in both integration and personalisation.

The Housing section of the guidance (sections 15.54 to 15.74) highlights the connections between housing and relevant clauses in the legislation including:-

  • Clause 1 on Wellbeing
  • Clause 2 on Prevention
  • Clause 3 on Integration of Care and Support services with health and health related services
  • Clause 4 on Providing Information and Advice
  • Clauses 6 and 7 on Co-operation Duties
  • Clause 23 on the Exception for the Provision of Housing

This consultation provides an opportunity to review the strength of understanding demonstrated of housing and housing related support in contributing to this critical agenda. Do you feel that it goes far enough? Can you identify additional case studies or information that could be incorporated to strengthen the guidance? The Act makes prevention a key focus, but do you feel it says enough about housing’s role in this? Are Better Care Fund plans showing housing at the table in high level integration plans?

Make sure you get your voice heard………..

A)     Contribute as an individual or organisation to the consultation by visiting the Department of Health website and share your submission with Sitra

B)     Attend a Sitra consultation workshop, where you will hear directly from both the Department of Health and a Local Authority representative with responsibility for the implementation of the guidance. Book a place on these workshops via the Sitra website

As noted, the Act also incorporates putting for the first time, a cap on the amount anyone will have to pay towards the costs of their care. Sitra worked with the Office of Public Management last year to try and unpick some of the issues that will be prevalent in the implementation of this complex reform, particularly in relation to self funders. Our full report on this can be found here.

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One Page Profiles – Taking up the challenge…..

At Sitra, we are delighted to be working with Helen Sanderson Associates to take forward the challenge of introducing One Page Profiles to housing. In Sitra’s work around personalisation with providers and commissioners we have been promoting their usage, and seeing the value of them in driving forward personalisation. How can something so simple – make such a difference?

Well – the beauty of it is that it is straightforward. It is about putting onto one page the key things that you would like others to know about you in order to better support you, work with you, understand you, value you, share with you …..the list goes on,but don’t take my word for it……

Look Ahead have been using One Page Profiles for some time – and Ceri Sheppard shares their learning here 


 “Using One Page Profiles has been positive across the organisation. They are very important for relationships and mutual respect. Honestly, I can’t think of a single reason not to do it.”

So what do you need to do now! Take part in the challenge of course…… We have set the sector the target of producing 100 housing profiles by the 1st July – and we have got some great tools to get you on the road. Taking the next step is critical – and there are many routes you can take! Visit the Sitra website to take the plunge. View some of the profiles already on line, Come to our free workshop on the 12th June, where Helen Sanderson Associates will be there to help you build up profiles for clients or staff, share the existing templates with colleagues and clients to build up your own bank of profiles, send us completed profiles to share, champion the approach using the #onepp tag on social media, share barriers and solutions… This is a great opportunity for housing to grab hold of this accessible tool to take one step closer to personalisation. Hold my hand and we’re half way there…….

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Dementia Awareness – Housing takes a lead………..

The word is spreading fast about Living Well with Dementia – there are a plethora of initiatives going on across the country as part of Dementia Awareness Week (#DAW2014) and a strong focus on the Alzheimers Society Dementia Friends initiative – particularly through their media campaign.

So how is housing taking up the challenge? There has been some excellent work over recent years developing an understanding and implementation of the impact of the built environment on those living with and caring for those with dementia. A great starting point is the excellent resources developed and disseminated by the Housing LIN on this area. In addition, the role of supporting those with dementia to continue to live independently in the community presents a strong opportunity for housing related support services to take a lead in developing and adapting their services to meet this need.

However, research just launched this week by the Dementia and Housing group shows that much of the training available to support the sector in taking a proactive role in this field is not tailored enough to the needs of housing.

Sitra have been concerned about this for some time, and to that end have formed a unique partnership to support change. The learning partnership combines the strength, knowledge and networks of three organisations. Association for Dementia Studies, a national and international centre of excellence in training, education and research in dementia studies; Sitra with its expertise in housing related support; together with the Housing LIN, the knowledge hub for housing, health and social care professionals in England involved in housing with care for older people. The two programmes we have developed are ‘The Strategic Leaders Programme’ and ‘The Scheme Managers Programme’. These are fantastic action learning based opportunities to equip participants with a sound understanding of dementia and person centred practice; access to the latest best practice in housing and dementia support; together with practical tools and resources with which to lead and influence change within your organisation.

The development of these courses have been supported by DCLG, and this first set of events are part of a pilot in the West Midlands, enabling us to keep costs as low as possible. For full details and booking you can go to http://www.sitra.org/training/dementia-leaders-programme-for-the-housing-sector/

Finally, another great opportunity for housing to take the lead in Living Well with Dementia is to get on board with the Dementia 4 Schools programme. Anyone attending our #changemakers conference will have heard the challenge to housing from Angela Rippon, the champion of Dementia 4 Schools. There are great opportunities for housing associations and support providers to take a lead in connecting with schools and for accommodation based services to think about the potential to join in with the National Care Home Open Day on 20th June 2014.

We would love to showcase more of the sectors work on dementia – so do keep in touch and let us know what you are doing.to take the lead…..

For info……

Dementia Leaders Programme for the Housing Sector

The Bare Essentials

The Strategic Leaders Programme will run for two days with a half day follow up and is aimed at senior leaders working within the housing sector. The dates are Tuesday 22nd July and Wednesday 23rd July 2014 with the follow up half day on Thursday 18th September (9-45am to 1-00pm).  The venue will be Birmingham (location to be confirmed).

The Scheme Managers Programme will run for four days as an action learning set with a break for reflection to complete a course assignment. The course is aimed at managers with responsibility for running housing services for older people, including general needs housing. The dates are Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th September and Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd October 2014. The venue will be Birmingham Voluntary Services Centre in central Birmingham.

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Integration – Starting small…..

Last week I attended the launch of Surrey Care Association – a county wide association establishing itself as an independent membership body. There were a small number of our members at the event – those who cross over between care and support – but predominantly they were private organisations who running one or more residential care homes or domicillary care operations.

The agenda varied little from any meeting of supported housing providers I have attended in recent years – funding, regulation, impending legislative changes and commissioning practice. There were some things that were not discussed with as much vigour as I might expect from a supported housing crowd – less focus on coproduction, less talk of assets and strengths – but the same commitment to provide care and support with the individual at the centre of that agenda.

So – why are we sitting in different rooms? Why when we are so keen to promote to policy makers the value of housing being a critical part of the integration agenda – the much exalted triumvirate of health, housing and social care – are we not modelling that behaviour at a local level?

In an effort to address some of that challenge in a small way, I was really pleased that at the launch Sitra and the Surrey Care Association are working together to bring housing and social care closer together in the locality. We are going to look actively at opportunities to provide training that will appeal across the sectors, share information and advice and work at opportunities to bring providers of housing support and care together.

These are small steps, I recognise – but important ones to begin to build up the narrative of integration from the grass roots upwards. Our shared purpose was evident from the event – and was reminded when watching the voting for #ukhousing #powerplayers2014 unfurl – I was struck by the very timely comment of Paul Taylor at the end of his recent blog…..

“As I’ve said – in an online super-connected world – sectors only exist in our imagination anyway….”

and to remember – that whilst we might not all be ‘super-connected’ yet – the people that we work with will get so much more from any small steps we take…..

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Change is coming – are you ready! #changemakers

Update!!! Thanks to everyone involved for a fantastic #changemakers conference on 20th March 2014. Much more to come – but for a quick preview – see  http://storify.com/burcuborysik/a-story-of-changemakers-in-housing-with-support-an?utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_campaign=&utm_source=t.co&awesm=sfy.co_jeZB&dm_i=F3O,2AUYW,2EG23F,8CDOM,1

We are in serious countdown mode at Sitra – with less than 24 hours to go before our annual conference. http://www.sitra.org/training/free-sitra-annual-conference-2014-change-makers/

The theme of the event is #changemakers – and I am excited that we have gathered together a programme representing some of the most exciting thinkers and doers – not just on the podium – but in the audience too.

However, this blog is not intended as a spoiler! I have seen enough of the coverage of George Osborne’s budget to not wish the #notnewnews tag to be applied to our conference programme!

However, there is a real challenge to understand how positive change continues to happen within a sector significantly impacted by austerity, welfare reform and a shifting commissioning base.

I have been looking with great interest at the work being carried out within the NHS – particularly around #nhschangeday. We could do a lot worse than look at the leadership approach being advocated by Helen Bevan – and I am very interested in her perspective around how change happens, and how we need to build up our sector ‘rebels’ and ‘boatrockers’. (http://www.slideshare.net/NHSIQ/better-care-fund-helen-bevan)

I really like her graphic as to how we plan for change ……. and how change happens.


I know that the conference will inspire me as we clamber up the hills of change to ‘keep on trucking’. The sector has a long tradition of innovation and change, and I hope that the day will recharge, inspire, delight and create change in equal measures. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow – or to you joining us throughout the day under the umbrella of #changemakers.

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