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Assisted Living

First of its kind, autism centre aims to dramatically cut diagnosis waiting time

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The Caudwell International Children’s Centre aims to transform the way millions affected by the condition can be helped.

The UK’s first independent purpose-built autism centre has opened, with the aim of dramatically reducing the waiting time for a diagnosis.

A first look at the Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC) in Staffordshire, is expected to transform the way the hundreds of thousands with the condition in the UK and their families can be helped.

The average waiting time to be assessed for autism is at least two years, and the childen who are eventually diagnosed wait on average for four years.

The £18m centre, set in the grounds of Keele University, will enable families to get a diagnosis within just six weeks.

An early autism diagnosis can be vital in helping families understand their child’s behaviour.

The development of the complex has been funded by a group of philanthropists, with £10m coming from the businessman John Caudwell.

The Caudwell International Centre will bring together assessment, diagnosis, family support and research into autism.

As well as reducing diagnosis time, its other main focuses are to enable families to receive assessment from a number of professionals in one place, and to provide world class support for those affected by the condition.

Mr Caudwell told Sky News: “Right from the beginning I thought what we’re going to do is, we’re going to iconically help the lives of children with autism.

“We’re going to set a new standard and hopefully prove that we can intervene in the condition, and make the challenges less for those parents who have got children with autism.”

The centre will offer ongoing support for families following an autism diagnosis through educational workshops and programmes.

Staff will also be working closely with clinical and academic partners from the international autism community to share insight and research.

Facilities include state-of-the art assessment suites, a sensory garden to help children interact with nature, and therapy suites for ongoing workshops for families.

Trudi Beswick, chief executive of the centre, said: “We have spent the last 19 years listening to families consistently telling us they do not get the support they need.

“It is their stories that are at the heart of this project and their needs have shaped the new service and the centre.

“When all evidence points to the long-term benefits of early intervention, the delays families face are not acceptable and Caudwell Centre aims to change the way families access support and prove there is a better way.”

Source: Sky News

Government Confirms Annual CPI+1 Rent Increase

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The Government has indicated that it will permit annual rent increases of up to one per cent above the consumer price index (CPI), in it’s response to a consultation with the sector.

The MHCLG announced plans in October 2017 to permit Registered Providers to increase rents on social rent and affordable rent properties by up to CPI plus 1% each year from 2020, for a period of at least five years.

In September 2018 it launched a consultation on its proposed direction to the Regulator of Social Housing concerning social rents from 1 April 2020 onwards, which closed on 8 November. Yesterday it published the results of that consultation and it’s response.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents to the consultation agreed that the regulator’s Rent Standard should apply to local authorities.

Meanwhile 57 per cent agreed with the proposal to permit Registered Providers to increase rents by up to CPI plus one per cent each year. However 34 per cent of those responding to this question disagreed with the proposal, including 87 per cent of responses from individuals and organisations representing tenants.

The MHCLG stated in its response: “The government acknowledges the concerns raised about the potential impact on tenants of permitting rent increases of up to CPI+1% each year from 2020. However, it is important to recognise that most existing tenants will have benefited over the previous four years from a reduction of 1% each year as implemented through the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. MHCLG adds that the CPI plus one per cent is the maximum increase but “landlords have discretion to apply a smaller (or indeed no) increase based on local circumstances”.

The response concludes; “Overall, we believe that the proposed CPI+1% limit strikes a fair balance between the interests of landlords, tenants and taxpayers.”

It adds: “The Government therefore intends to proceed with the proposal to permit annual rent increases of up to CPI+1%.”

In October 2017, Theresa May announced that the CPI plus one per cent rises would resume for five years from 2020, and the government launched its formal consultation in November last year.

The consultation received 157 responses, of which 37 per cent were from local authorities or their representative bodies. Eighteen per cent were from private Registered Providers or their representative bodies and 35 per cent were from individuals or tenant organisations.

 

Source: Social Housing

Social care paper delayed

By | Assisted Living, UK Property Market

The long awaited green paper on social care has been delayed as a result of Brexit-related work, the government has said.

The paper on long-term reform of the care funding system was initially due to be published this summer, but was then delayed until the autumn.

The industry will now have to wait until the new year to hear the government’s proposals for how care should be funded.

The department of Health and Social Care confirmed the paper would be introduced for debate in the house of commons at the “earliest opportunity” in the new year.

Several solutions are said to be on the table, including a ‘Care Isa’ – a capped savings product, exempt from inheritance tax – and a ‘care pension’, which mixes drawdown and care insurance.

There have also been calls for a ‘Social Care Premium’, effectively a new tax on people over the age of 40.

The paper follows the government’s scrapping of the proposed £72,500 cap on social care in December.

Social care had been on the agenda for a number of years, with former prime minister David Cameron promising to implement a cap on the cost of care of £72,500, which was supposed to come into effect in April 2016.

But in 2015 the government pushed this back to 2020, because it would have added £6bn to public sector spending at a “time of consolidation”.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders have said they consider it the job of care providers to get on with ensuring the right level of social care is delivered.

Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, said: “The green paper will give the government’s view of the future of long term care. We have waited a long time for successive governments to pontificate therefore the sector has to find its own solutions.”

Nadra Ahmed, chief executive of the National Care Association, said: “The green paper delay is no surprise.

“Successive governments have raised the issue of social care only to kick it into the long grass. This is a mistake when you consider that more people are living longer and needing social care.

“Dementia and obesity are adding to the catalogue of problems that the social care sector faces, both practically in terms of physical and psychological care.”

Francis Klonowski, chartered financial planner at Klonowski & Co, said: “I can’t see this making any difference.

“Relying on the government is a foolish practice. I always advise my clients to ensure they build in provisions for their retirement years, including the possibility of long-term care.

“If you live in rude health post retirement, you’ll have more money to enjoy your retirement, if not having savings to hand will be essential, and will be infinitely preferable than draining your inheritance.”

Source: Financial Times Adviser

People should be proud of their council house – Theresa May

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People who live in council houses should be made to feel proud of their homes, Theresa May has said.

The PM announced £2bn to build new homes in England, in an attempt to remove the “stigma” of social housing.

Under the plan, housing associations, councils and other organisations will be able to bid for the money to spend on new projects, starting from 2022.

Labour said the announcement fell “far short” of what was needed for the social housing sector.

BBC home editor Mark Easton said the government hopes the money will allow local authorities and housing associations to build schemes that would otherwise seem too risky.

He said the sector’s calls to provide more confidence about future funding – so the 300,000 extra homes required in England each year can be built – had appeared to have been listened to.

Mrs May told a National Housing Federation summit in London: “Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority.

“On the outside, many people in society – including too many politicians – continue to look down on social housing and, by extension, the people who call it their home.”

She will encourage housing associations to change how tenants and society view social housing.

“We should never see social housing as something that need simply be ‘good enough’, nor think that the people who live in it should be grateful for their safety net and expect no better,” she said.

“I want to see social housing that is so good people are proud to call it their home… our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens.”

In mixed developments, she said it should be impossible to tell the difference between full-price and affordable housing, which should not be “tucked away out of sight and out of mind”.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said the prime minister’s announcement was “extremely welcome”.

“This represents a total step change. For years, the way that money was allocated meant housing associations couldn’t be sure of long-term funding to build much-needed affordable housing,” he said.

He said that by changing the way the funding was allocated, ministers had given “long-term confidence and confirmed that we are trusted partners in solving the housing crisis, building new homes and communities”.

But shadow housing secretary John Healey said the reality was spending on new affordable homes had been “slashed” and the number of new social rented homes built last year “fell to the lowest level since records began”.

“If Conservative ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council house-building programme for more than 30 years,” he said.

The English housing survey for 2016/17 reported that 3.9 million households – about nine million people – lived in the social rented sector, which was 17% of households in the country.

The funding covers the next spending review period, from 2021 through to 2028.

Downing Street said the money was separate to the £9bn of public funding put toward the existing affordable homes programme until 2022.

Source: BBC News

Yes, let’s celebrate the NHS at 70. But it isn’t the only service keeping us healthy

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Celebration of 70 years of the NHS is rightly focusing on the doctors, nurses, therapists and myriad other workers who wear the famous logo and make such a remarkable institution tick. But let’s hear it, too, for the housing officer, the care assistant, the firefighter and all those who work with the health service to keep people well.

It was acknowledged from the very foundation of the NHS that safeguarding the nation’s health was the responsibility of the government as a whole. Restoring a sick person to health was a duty of the state (and of the person themselves) “prior to any other consideration”, William Beveridge wrote in his 1942 blueprint for the welfare state reforms that were to follow the end of the second world war.

In the early days of the NHS, it was run from the same Whitehall ministry as housing. Although setting up and bedding in the service at the same time as meeting the huge postwar housing needs proved too great a challenge even for the charismatic Nye Bevan, who was health and housing minister, many observers have ever since lamented the decision after three years to separate the two functions.

As Nicholas Timmins writes in The Five Giants, the definitive history of the welfare state: “Given the impact that housing can have on health, there was an intellectual logic to [their being put together]. After housing was removed by [Clement] Attlee and put in with local government in 1951, repeated arguments would be heard down the decades for reuniting the two.”

Any formal reuniting seems a distant dream today. But there is a resurgence of awareness of the key role of good housing in supporting health and, conversely, the burden that poor housing can pile on the NHS. According to a joint report by the King’s Fund health thinktank and the National Housing Federation, the NHS could save £2bn a year if poor-quality homes were brought up to standard.

One health and housing scheme in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is said to have cut local NHS costs by £1.5m a year. Another, piloted in Blaby, Leicestershire, and now being extended across the county, is projected to save £2m annually. Such schemes, run jointly by social housing providers and local health commissioners, help people to live independently through home adaptations, telecare and emergency call systems and even mental health support, but also tackle any obstacles to discharge if the individual does need hospital admission.

New research [pdf] in Wales, conducted over 10 years and the first large-scale evaluation of its kind, suggests that older people living in council housing where regular improvements were made, experienced up to 39% fewer hospital admissions for conditions such as breathing problems or for falls or other injuries.

This goes to the heart of the argument advanced by public health experts that “social determinants” of health and wellbeing are critical. Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College, London, says that two of the most important of these determinants are income and work. But this is nothing new: in 1948, just as the NHS was opening for business, the World Health Organisation defined good health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

One recent and striking development in this context is the way many firefighters have become associate health workers as they undertake fire prevention visits to people’s homes and at the same time check on their wellbeing.

This new aspect of the firefighters’ role stemmed from a realisation that they are highly trusted by the public and almost always welcomed into their homes. There are also many fewer fires to fight these days. In 2015, NHS England formalised burgeoning local arrangements in a consensus statement[pdf] setting out the potential of the 670,000 home visits carried out annually by fire services. These fire prevention visits could all become “safe and well” visits, it said. By last year, 41 of the 46 English fire services were signed up to the idea.

In Greater Manchester, where the fire service is not only carrying out home checks but also starting to respond to emergency health calls, where appropriate, an evaluation has suggested it is saving the local NHS at least £635,000 a year.

It is social care, however, that is the closest working partner of the NHS. By supporting older and disabled people to live independently – ideally preventing them from going into hospital, but welcoming them back home or into care settings afterwards if they do – social care is umbilically linked to the health service. And in providing 1.8 million jobs across the UK, it is at least as big as the NHS.

Councils in England receive almost 5,000 requests for social care every day. Although numbers receiving state-funded care have fallen sharply, by more than a quarter since 2009, about 900,000 people are still supported by councils. Adult social services directors recently told ministers that for an extra £1bn annual funding they could support 50,000 older and disabled people to continue living at home.

It would be false to suggest that relations between the NHS and social care are always smooth, or indeed that the health service always works seamlessly with its various partners. The record of local health and wellbeing boards, statutory bodies introduced in England in 2012 to coordinate services across localities, has been patchy. Councils, like housing providers, have felt marginalised on many of the 44 sustainability and transformation partnerships set up in 2015 to take forward the integration agenda of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View. And social care still awaits a funding boost to set alongside the NHS’s 70th birthday present of an average 3.4% annual real-terms funding increase for the coming five years.

MPs on the Commons health and social care committee and the housing, communities and local government committee said in a recent joint reportthat it was clear how funding of health, social care and housing was interrelated “and that spending growth or restraint in one area had an impact on the others”. Future funding settlements, the MPs concluded, “should consider all these in the round”.

Bevan would approve.

Source: Guardian

More funding is needed for affordable homes and tenant rights in the UK

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Funding for councils to build more affordable housing and restoring legal aid for housing advice are needed to solve the housing crisis in Britain, it is claimed.

The Labour Party has put forward a number of policy aims relating to affordable homes and helping tenants beat rogue landlords as part of its plan to make sure that everyone has the right to a safe and decent home.

The Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon said that the withdrawal of legal advice in many housing cases has weakened tenants’ rights and benefitted rogue landlords. In a speech in Manchester he said that the party will restore legal aid for housing advice which could help up to 50,000 households a year.

‘Prevention is better than cure and this policy will help stop problems like damp, leaking roofs or faulty electrics from spiralling out of control and causing tenants even greater misery,’ he said.

‘The withdrawal of legal advice in many housing cases has weakened tenants’ rights, which can only benefit rogue landlords. Restoring this legal aid for housing advice will help tens of thousands of people resolve their housing issues and regain their housing rights,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, pledged to build enough housing and make sure that housing is affordable to those who need it. At the launch of the party’s affordable housing review he said that if it comes to power it would deliver a million genuinely affordable homes over 10 years, the majority of which would be for social rent.

He pointed out that house building has been in steady decline for decades, from over 350,000 a year at the beginning of the 1970s to well below 200,000 today. ‘The only times we have built enough affordable housing is when councils have stepped up. To turn this around will require radical measures to properly fund, empower, and support councils to deliver affordable housing for all,’ Corbyn said.

He explained that it would create a new era of social housing, in which councils are once again the major deliverers of social and genuinely affordable housing and set the benchmark for the highest size and environmental standards.

According to Campbell Robb, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the policy announcement should encourage the current Government to create more affordable homes.

‘Voters across all wage brackets want to see action on housing and it is simply not right that so many people in our country are locked out of the opportunity to build a decent and secure life because of crippling housing costs,’ he said.

‘This recognises the scale of the housing crisis and why we need to drive up the supply of low cost rented homes. It puts pressure on the Government to match this ambition and deliver the low cost rented homes struggling families desperately need. The Government’s forthcoming social housing green paper must commit to increasing the supply of low-cost rented homes in England,’ he added.

Source: Property Wire

 

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