01 Dec 2021

CIH response to People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform white paper

On 1 December 2021, the secretary of state for health and social care published the white paper, People at the Heart of Care, setting out an ambitious 10-year vision for how support and care will be transformed in England.

Looking at the paper, at CIH we are encouraged by the focus on having the right home to support more people to live well and safely, and for this to be a central element of the government’s white paper on social care.

Making the significant investment of £300 million to help local areas make strong strategic connections across health, care and housing to meet local needs, and to plan for more appropriate supported housing is really welcome, supported by the continued investment in the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) fund. But there still needs to be ongoing investment in housing support to deliver new and sustain existing supported housing (something CIH called for in its submission to the spending review).

Equally important is the commitment to adapting existing homes through continued investment in Disabled Facilities Grants, and funding for minor/ rapid repairs services – all of this will increase the options that people have to live well and safely at home, and is fundamental to promoting health and wellbeing.

However, whilst the funding level for Disabled Facilities Grants remains at a similar level, the impact of rising costs for materials and labour means that many people will still struggle to access this support or face a long wait for adaptations to be done. This reinforces our call for all new housing (not only specialist homes) to be built to higher accessibility standards; we note that the white paper includes the recognition that more could be done on this and look forward to seeing what next steps government will propose in response to its previous consultation.

The paper also highlights the need for information and advice to help navigate the care system and find the right support – for every decision about care to be a decision about housing, this service must also embed the housing options available too, so that people can plan effectively for how they want to live and what will help them to do that now and in the future. 

Recent discussions supported by CIH and Grand Union housing group with public health partners has shown how critical housing partners are to achieving the goals for health promotion and reducing health inequalities, as well as meeting care and support needs, so we hope that this will provide a good framework for local areas to develop strong strategic approaches, including through integrated care systems