As part of the continuing drive from Government to encourage integration between Health and Social Care, a key move over the next few years will be the delivery of integrated Health and Social Care Services in the Community funded by what is now known as the Better Care Fund formally the Integration Transformation Fund.

Nationally, the minimum value in these funds will be £3.8 billion in 2015/16 which is coming from the health budget and will be managed through pooled fund arrangements at individual upper tier or unitary Local Authorities. These are special statutory schemes which enable health and social care allocations to be used across the health and social care boundary.

The intention is that the fund is used to transform the way in which care is provided to those with long-term conditions and the elderly, so as to support more independent living and reduce the call on more interventionist resources. There are national criteria which schemes must meet including the reduction of unnecessary admissions to hospital and also the reduction of long-term placement in care homes. As a result, there are two potential areas of opportunity for housing providers.

  • Firstly we anticipate that the economics of the provision of care in the home will mean that Local Authorities will want to encourage more developments of supported living schemes for particularly frail elderly clients, so that domiciliary care can be given more efficiently in accommodation which is closely co-located. This may present opportunities for this type of development.
  • Secondly, where housing providers are already providing or are looking to move into a domiciliary care provision business, there will be opportunities particularly for those organisations who can grasp the need for transformational change in the way in which these services are provided and harness both support from the wider voluntary sector and integrate effectively with other Health and Social Care Providers who may be involved in any particular individuals' total care package.

Whilst we appreciate that the housing sector has in many instances found it difficult to engage with Local Health and Wellbeing Boards, these are expected to be the key bodies driving the strategic plans behind the Better Care Fund and housing providers may want to renew pressure for access to the Boards, or at least to work with other organisations such as Clinical Commissioning Groups who are represented on the Boards. Individual plans should be published shortly and again housing providers may want to see what the Local Schemes are aiming at. Depending on the scale of change planned locally there may well be opportunities to bid for domiciliary type care, or to provide part of larger schemes providing a range of care and support for individuals in need.

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