The Collaborative HIA

The Collaborative HIA report gives an updated vision for the sector, and is aimed primarily at providers, but will also inform commissioners and policy makers in local government, health and wellbeing boards, health trusts and clinical commissioning groups.

Home improvement agencies started as housing-specific services, but now encompass wider support elements and are pivotal to general health and wellbeing - so many other things are possible if a person’s home works well for them. Too often the home can become the enemy if it does not offer sufficient comfort, convenience and security. HIAs are now effectively funded as a ’health related service’ and should behave accordingly – they cannot operate in isolation providing a one-off ‘bricks and mortar only’ solution which fails to join up effectively with other complementary services.

The future for HIAs is one of greater collaboration and integration with related services, all concerned with promoting health, wellbeing and independence in the home.

What is the collaborative home improvement agency?

  • It can respond to the varied agendas of different groups of commissioners; HIAs may be called on to augment DFG delivery, even if previously not involved, as well as delivering on the new Care Act duties of ensuring wellbeing, giving care-related advice and information, and prevention.
  • It can play a much more comprehensive role in achieving successful and sustainable transitions between acute care settings and the home; for health trusts and clinical commissioning groups, HIAs already provide ‘home-readying’ services to ease hospital discharges, prevent re-admission, and provide the means to better self-manage health conditions. 
  • It argues for a scaling up of HIA activity to address the increase in numbers of older people, including self-funders, who need assistance; HIAs can help local authorities to shape and improve the market of products and services aimed at maintaining independence in the home. 

Our report The Collaborative HIA shows that many HIAs are already collaborating successfully, and encourages HIA service providers to examine what they do well but could do better in partnership, with whom they can collaborate successfully, how they can learn from examples provided, and successfully position themselves as the ‘go-to’ services for healthy ageing in place.

Download the report

Good practice examples:

Warmer Homes, Advice and Money - A collaboration between the Centre for Sustainable Energy, West of England Care & Repair and Talking Money.

If you have any examples you'd like to share with us, please contact Francis Philippa.