A report was commissioned by Havering’s Joint Commissioning Unit to understand the current needs and pressures across children and adults social care services and estimate the future accommodation needs for looked after children, care leavers, and children and adults with disabilities.
The purpose of the Future Accommodation Needs in Havering report was to interrogate a wide range of data across social care and housing to enable recommendations to be made on how best to provide accommodation for the future for the identified cohorts utilising available local markets and the council’s ambitious 10 year regeneration programme.
The challenge for Havering Council was to ensure opportunities are maximised within the council’s Regeneration Programme that will contribute to meeting the future housing needs for the borough over the next 10 to 15 years. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to plan for the future needs of vulnerable residents, including those with disabilities, which must be identified and exploited to maximise benefits for local residents. There is a broad range of data across housing, children’s and adult social care that needed to be brought together to ensure joint understanding of approach.
We required an adviser to support us in identifying the links between the borough’s social care needs and the new development opportunities within the Regeneration Programme.
The council was also committing significant capital investment for a social care led Supported Housing Programme that will develop local provision that is owned by the council. Four projects have been initiated across both children’s and adult’s social care. This includes the refurbishment of two existing council properties to develop shared semi-independent accommodation for young people leaving care, as well as the development of a children’s residential provision for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), a further Children’s semi-independent provision and a supported housing unit for younger adults with disabilities. The three latter provisions will be new builds that will be designed to be fit for purpose and flexible for the specific service users accessing each provision. The advisers were asked to consider this programme in their overview of demand and include reference to it in their analysis.
Fundamentally the council recognised the need to scale up our ambition further and at pace and required specialist housing adviser support to help us develop the necessary knowledge and expertise, including a range of preferred service models to feed into the council’s wider Regeneration Programme.
The council wanted independent confirmation, that the Supported Housing Programme goes some way to addressing current needs. However, each of the client cohorts will require access to suitable accommodation in the longer term and that may be a supported solution for a significant length of time or as an ongoing requirement. It is also recognised that for many within the identified cohorts then it is vital to be able to access suitable move on accommodation within the local community.
These will require various forms of shared or self-contained general needs housing, with or without any specific adaptations. The regeneration programme affords the opportunity, with the correct needs analysis and joint working, to enable careful planning for the future and to design housing and community spaces and facilities to address the needs of the whole community.
Gathering data and operational insight from several different sources across social care and housing. These sources included placements teams and individual social care operational teams, to map current placement activity, identify any specific trends, and understand the options already available locally. It is also critical to understand the numbers of individuals placed out of borough for reasons of inadequate local supply as well as choice and need.
Understanding the presenting needs across several cohorts of children, young people and adults and using the available data to predict the needs in the following five years.
The development of a report outlining the needs across the different cohorts over the next five years, with clear recommendations for service models and how these could be delivered within the context of the borough wide Regeneration Programme, the existing local market and whether the requirements would be for specialist or general needs accommodation.
Identifying the need for additional specialist accommodation and/or support and the options available to the council to provide or commission these and the potential for accessing and maximising the use of suitable general needs accommodation.
The key aims of the report:
- Inform future commissioning strategies across adults and children’s social care.
- Greater understanding of local needs to better inform the development and management of the local markets and enable improved engagement with local providers.
- Inform the Regeneration Programme planning to include identified specialist and general needs accommodation to meet the needs of Havering’s vulnerable children and adults.
- Inform housing allocations procedures to ensure all Council accommodation resources are maximised for all local residents.
The impact (including cost savings/income generated if applicable)
The report has brought together social care, housing and regeneration to offer the opportunity to develop a joint vision and approach to supported living and the pathways to supporting greater independence, in part through further developing the wider accommodation offer.
The work has moved the discussions forward and opened up further dialogue with colleagues across multiple disciplines such as the local NHS, public health, education, planning and community safety.
The report has helped inform aspects of the procurement of two new dynamic purchasing systems, one for semi-independent placements and one for complex placements.
How is the new approach being sustained?
The report is being taken forward through the Housing & Independent Living (H&IL) Programme to ensure the work feeds into the wider work streams to maximise the benefits across the council.
The H&IL Programme aims to address the wider local issues of homelessness and homelessness prevention, finding the most effective solutions to address the growing accommodation and support needs of the future and working across partnerships to support greater health and wellbeing, and individual and community resilience within the arena of reducing resources.
Identified work streams within the H&IL programme include:
- Developing a strategic approach to preventing homelessness
- Creating a longer term commissioning strategy for temporary accommodation and hostel provision aligned to the borough’s Regeneration plans
- Supported living for people with additional needs
- Joint working - single adults who are homeless and rough sleepers with complex backgrounds
- Developing a strategy for providing aids, adaptations and technology to support and maintain independence in the community and reduce bed blocking in hospitals
The recent review of the housing directorate has led to the implementation of a new structure that includes a dedicated Head of Service for Supported Housing. This provides a basis upon which to commence discussions on how to work together to improve understanding and develop more joint initiatives to maximise available resources and opportunities, building upon the work started within the Future Accommodation Needs in Havering report to ensure the recommendations become a reality.
The difficulties in understanding the various forms of data and operational intelligence and being able to drill down to get to the route data is complex and requires an ongoing joint approach from housing, social care and other key stakeholders.
The need to ensure ongoing dialogue takes place between housing and social care to enable the measurement of progress and benefits from individual and joint approaches and initiatives.
Organisational change is required to enable the identification of the right resources in the right place to effect positive change.
The way that data is stored across departments does not enable easy access to accurate needs analysis to inform strategic approaches; the implementation of a new social care system across children and adults services goes some way to addressing this issue.
The need to develop more robust care pathways through services that can better inform strategic direction across commissioning and operational services and support more individuals to achieve greater independence.
The report requires further work internally, due to the data issues identified, and there are further areas for analysis, including the future needs of people (adults and children) with autism.
David Mitchell, Commissioning Programme Manager, Supported Housing Programme
T: 01708 433192