Joining it up - strategically

Up and down the country there are many dedicated professionals doing their best for disabled people but struggling with processes and systems that are not fit for purpose. One of the main problems is that responsibility for the customer pathway is often split between different organisations and departments that have separate objectives and budgets. Where services work best, there is a joint commitment at a senior and strategic level between housing and social care; districts and counties. We call this the “Goldilocks Approach” because it brings together the knowledge, skills and funding required to deliver a person-centred approach that is ‘just right’.

Previous reviews and guidance have suggested that this is the way forward, but across much of the country it has not happened. We recommend that Government make it a condition of funding that Housing and Health Partnership Boards are set up (linked to existing Health and Wellbeing Boards) with responsibility for the strategic oversight and planning to meet the housing needs of disabled and older people in their locality.

This should be underlined by a new name for the grant that is up to date and easily recognisable. Services need to appeal to people of all ages including: families with disabled children, younger disabled people and the ‘baby boom’ generation who do not want to be treated as ‘old’.

Recommendations:

  • A Housing and Health Partnership Board in each area as a requirement of DFG funding with representatives from housing, health and social care.
  • Each Better Care Fund/Health & Wellbeing Board to report separately on DFG funding and on a new metric ‘the number of people helped to remain independent at home’.
  • Housing and Health Partnership Boards to have a similar structure to Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards.
  • The DFG and Integrated Community Equipment (ICES) budgets to both be in the Better Care Fund (or its successor) to join up DFG services with equipment provision and minor adaptations.
  • A single adaptations policy based on the needs of the locality, reviewed annually and signed off by the Health & Wellbeing Board.
  • We need a new name for the grant, the services that provide it and the national advice organisation.  That name needs to be used consistently across the country. Disabled and older people, and other professionals, need greater awareness that the grant is available.