Policy News from MHA: January 2017

Welcome to MHA's January policy bulletin

 

Brexit has dominated the Government's policy agenda this month, with Prime Minister Theresa May announcing the details of her approach and subsequently having to publish the EU (Notification of Withdrawl) Bill in order for Parliament to have a vote.  The NHS and Social Care funding crisis have also been in the headlines. Legislative progress has been made with Neighbourhood Planning Bill making its way through the House of Lords and the Small Chartitable Donations Bill gaining Royal Assent.   

Government: - Progress of Legislation, Inquiries and Government policy - Brexit - Charities and the Voluntary Sector Health and Social care - HousingIndustry and Employment - Other -

Highlights of emerging research and policy in other areas of interest:

Ageing and wellbeing: - Loneliness and Isolation - Wellbeing-

Dementia:- New Research -

Finance and pensions: - Care insurance - State Pension Age - Inheritance -

Health: - NHS funding -

Housing: - Older people's housing choice and design -

Social Care: - Local Government and Social Care funding -

Third Sector: - Data Protection -

Workforce and employment: - Apprenticeship Levy - National Living Wage -

Look Ahead: February and beyond

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Government

Progress of legislation, Inquiries and other Government policy

clipboard imageBrexit

  • Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a speech setting out what she wants from the UK’s exit from the EU. She highlighted key priorities for the UK including: The UK will leave the single market and she would establish a "bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement" permitting movement of goods and services on a basis that should be as free as possible. This access should be reciprocal. She hoped to open the door to make occasional financial contributions to EU programmes, but said that the UK would not be contributing to an annual budget; Renegotiation of customers union to retain barrier-free benefits without accepting common external tariffs;
    Many aspects of EU law would be retained into British law, including EU laws on workers rights. However the UK would no longer be part of EU Court of Justice;
    Controlling immigration from Europe -  the UK would continue aiming to attract students and skilled workers, but it was necessary to control and reduce overall numbers and ensure that immigration worked to benefit the UK public; Guaranteeing rights for EU migrants in the UK and UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU, provided EU leaders offered similar assurances; Ensuring the retention of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland; Continued British participation in European projects in areas such as scientific and academic research. Cooperation in the fields of security and law enforcement; MPs and peers to get a vote on final Brexit deal; The UK to start official process of leaving in EU in March and she is looking for a swift agreement.

    On the subject of transitional arrangements, the Prime Minster said she wanted to conclude an agreement by the end of the two year period, with a series of phases of implementation after that to provide greater security for industry and make leaving the EU as non-disruptive as possible for both the UK and other European countries. She declared that her plan "focuses on the ends, not just the means". She suggested that there would be little more detail offered in public, urging greater discipline and calm from politicians and the public, and saying that this was in the UK's national interest.

    Reacting to the speech, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the prime minister to "be clearer" about her long-term objectives, arguing that she she wanted to "have her cake and eat it" over the single market. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said "Hard Brexit was never on the ballot paper. Ripping us out of the single market was not something proposed to the British people." While UKIP leader Paul Nuttall said he feared a "slow-motion Brexit", adding "We want this done quickly. We want a clean break with the European Union, a free trade deal, and then we can get on as a free, independent nation."

  • Following the Supreme Court decision, that the Government must allow Parliament to vote on Brexit negotiations, the Government has published the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill designed to secure formal Parliamentary approval for triggering Article 50 and commencing the Brexit process. The Government has also published an Explanatory Note to accompany the Bill. While the Bill is succinct in order to fast track the Bill, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer has reportedly tabled a number of amendments, including a requirement for a vote in Parliament before the Government can agree any final exit deal. The SNP has also reportedly threatened to submit up to 50 amendments designed to thwart a so-called “hard Brexit”. Meanwhile, Labour MPs Tulip Siddiq and Jo Stevens resigned from their frontbench positions following Jeremy Cobryn’s three-line Whip over voting in favour of triggering Article 50. A number of other Labour MPs have alos indicated they will vote against the Bill. Full Fact have asked What happens if parliament rejects a new EU deal? and pose several different scenarios.

  • The Institute for Government have published a helpful infographic, which explains how the Brexit negotiations are being coordinated across the Government.

  • The House of Commons Library has produced a briefing paper looking at the question of the post-Brexit status of EU citizens currently resident in the UK and those British citizens living elsewhere in the EU.

    MHA comments: As a large provider of social and nursing care, we urge clarity as soon as possible for our EU workforce, about their rights to remain post-Brexit.

Charities and Voluntary Sector

  • The National Citizens Service Bill (NCS) has been progressing and reached Committee Stage in the House of Commons. The Bill, in combination with a Royal Charter, would place the NCS on a permanent statutory footing. In addition, the Bill would enable HMRC to send information about the NCS Trust and its work to young people who are eligible for NCS and invite them to take part. The House of Commons Library have produced an analysis of the Bill. NCVO have reported that the NCS Trust intends to consult about introducing a place-based approach to NCS, which they believe to be a positive step.

  • Meanwhile the National Audit Office report that the National Citizen Service has had some early successes but it is too soon to assess its long-term impact. Young people have been positive about the NCS experience, with 84% of participants in 2015 saying they would recommend NCS to others. External evaluations on how a sample of young people feel and perceive themselves three to five months and 16 months after the programme also show NCS has an initial positive impact on participants. It is too early to say, however, whether the programme is going to meet its long-term objectives of contributing to a more responsible, cohesive and engaged society.

  • The Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Act has gained Royal Assent and will come into force on 6 April 2017. The Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme (GASDS), allows charities to claim Gift Aid-like relief on up to £8k of small cash donations each year without having to submit paperwork for each individual claim.  The new Act makes several changes to the scheme, including the removal of the two-year rule, under which charities must have been registered for at least the past two years before accessing the GASDS.  The Act also scraps the requirement that charities must have made successful Gift Aid claims in at least two of the previous four years, which will enable newly formed charities to access the scheme, and allows small donations made by contactless payment to be covered by the GASDS.

    See the Third Sector section for more news

Health and Social Care

  • Following many media stories about a 'humanatrian crisis' in the NHS, including overwhelming demand and staff shortages MPs debated the NHS and social care. Opening the debate, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth moved a motion expressing support for the four-hour A&E treatment standard; attacking cuts to social care spending; calling for extra social care funding to help hospitals respond to winter demand; and demanding a new, “improved” funding settlement for the NHS and social care in the Budget. Responding for the Government, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt acknowledged that the NHS faced pressures. The NHS had experienced its “busiest day ever” shortly after Christmas and pointed to the expansion in the population in recent years, which meant that there were now 340,000 more over-80s than there had been six years ago. In addition, he said that A&E departments were being held to “much higher standards of safety and quality”. Discussing targets, he commented that “although we retain [them], we will not allow them to be followed slavishly in a way that damages patient care”. However, he insisted that the Government was committed to the four-hour A&E waiting target, which was “one of the best things that the NHS does”.

  • The Prime Minister has responded to the Health Select Committee's concerns about adult social care confirming that she is committed to address the challenge for a long-term solution to social care, stating that "...if we are going to give people the reassurance they need in the longer-term that their social care needs will be met, we must find a sustainable system of social care for the future....You rightly point out that there have been several reports, commissions and cross-party talks over many years, so rather than another review, I am keen to take action...The social care system is inextricably linked with the health system, and it is natural that any long-term solution for social care considers the relationship between health and care." However the Chairs of three House of Commons Select Committees also collectively urged the Prime Minister to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health and social care funding. In a further letter from Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health Committee, Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, they said "... the problem is widely recognised – we now need political agreement so that a solution for the long term can be found... We believe that can best be achieved if there is cross-party consensus, and therefore urge you to invite all parties to become involved in a review, which should begin as soon as possible. Given the scale of rising demand, this immense challenge will face whichever Party is in government over the coming decades."

  • The Communities and Local Government Committee has been receiving evidence as part of its Adult social care inquiry, recently from the Royal College of Nursing, UNISON and Skills for Care. Key issues raised included: that 275,000 people would be needed to join the workforce by 2025 in order to continue provide person-centred care; anecdotal evidence that in the Local Authority (LA) commissioned sector there had been budget constraints and adverse effects on promotion opportunities because of the National Living Wage (NLW); many LAs were still commissioning care without ensuring that travel time between care visits was compensated for, leading to many care workers not receiving the NLW in real terms; the social care precept had not increased to cover the increase from to the NLW; it was the minority of providers that did not treat their staff well, but this had wider knock on effects for the reputation and attractiveness of the sector; there was a need to establish a greater career structure and progression in social care, particularly the need to articulate the competencies and skills needed in adult social care and ensure that these were reflected through fairer and better pay; a call for national standards of training for the sector which all providers should have to comply with;  the uncertainty of EU workers and their future in the UK ahead of the full outcome of Brexit, particularly in important to residential nursing care; applications for nurse education have declined and continued significant shortfalls are expected; and real concerns about the Local Housing Allowance cap and the knock on effects.

  • The Health Committee has been taking evidence for its Brexit and Health and Social Care inquiry from Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.  The Committee was keen to understand how health issues remained on the Brexit negotiation agenda. The Health Secretary outlined his priorities in this respect as the regulation of medicines and medical devices and the freedom of movement. He was insistent that Brexit should not change the good relationships that exist with European partners, such as the fight against antimicrobial resistance. He added that the workforce had to be readied to provide additional services and explained measures to increase doctor and nurse numbers. E.g. nurse apprenticeships and removal of the cap on nurse training places. Regarding care workers in care home and domiciliary care, he said that measures were in design to make jobs more attractive, but said that the Government recognised that immigration would be required to “fill some gaps” and it was a priority for the Department. He also said the Working Time Directive would be enshrined in UK law through the Great Repeal Bill.  Jeremy Hunt also replied to a letter from the Health Committee Chair, Sarah Wollaston MP regarding Brexit, where he said "We will play our part in securing the best possible outcome from exiting the EU, dealing positively with its consequences, while continuing to focus attention on improving the health and care system and the challenges it faces."

  • Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England and senior civil servants have been answering questions from the Public Accounts Committee on the financial sustainability of the NHS. Simon Stevens said that by 2020 NHS England would be getting an extra £10bn over the course of six years, but this was “not the same as saying it would be more than asked for over five years”. Further, he said that there had been a Spending Review negotiation in the meantime and NHS England had received “less than had been asked for”, it would be therefore “stretching it to say the NHS got more than it asked for”. He said there were significant pressures within the system, where genuine choices to be made and there was a “circle to be squared”.  On long term sustainability he added that some changes to the service would be made “even if we were awash with cash” and argued that the health service was not configured for long-term illnesses or that there was strong enough connection between health and social care. On the subject of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), the Committee heard that a detailed analysis of STPs would be published in March.

  • In a speech to the Local Government Association, Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid MP, has confirmed that Attendance Allowance will not be considered as part of the Business Rates Review, following concerns from the social care sector and LAs. The initial proposal was to devolve Attendance Allowance to local councils and fund it via business rates.

    MHA comments: We welcome the abandonment of proposals to devolve Attendance Allowance, as it would have jeopardised the vital support it provides in supporting people to live independently at home.

  • In the Policing and Crime Bill, the House of Lords passed clause 135, which removes the mandatory inquest for death under Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.  Both Houses have now agreed on the text of the Bill, which is now waiting for Royal Assent.

  • The House of Commons library have published a briefing paper looking at the new Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill, which would create a Public Service Ombudsman that would be responsible for health and social care related complaints.

  • Lord O’Shaughnessy has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, replacing Lord Prior. He previously co-authored the Coalition's Programme for Government and was formerly Director of the Conservative Research Department from 2007 to 2010 and authored the Conservative Party's general election manifesto. His responsibilities amongst other things include Brexit and NHS pricing and procurement.

  • The Welsh Government has confirmed that a further £10m of funding will be made available to help manage the impact of the National Living Wage, in the form of a specific grant and tripartite agreement between the Welsh Government, LAs and social care employers, with the aim that the additional funding will encourage LAs to invest in care provision and employers will create a more stable and valued workforce.  The sustainability of the social care sector is also being further supported by the Intermediate Care Fund, which will receive £60m of funding to continue the integration of health and social care.

See the Social Care section for more news

Housing

  • The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has responded to the Communities and Local Government Committee's Report on housing associations and the Voluntary Right to Buy. It made a series of recommendations, which included “The HCA must satisfy itself that its regulatory framework can take account of the multitude of different organisations that are encompassed by the term ‘housing association’… The regulator should therefore adopt a framework based on judged risk rather than more arbitrary factors such as size. (Paragraph 110)” In response the HCA, has said that it will retain the definition of a ‘small provider’ as providers with fewer than 1,000 units, but it would adjust its regulatory approach by:

• continuing to review the annual accounts of providers with fewer than 1,000 units and analyse information that providers submit as part of their annual Statistical Data Return.
• Where analysis indicates providers to be higher risk, the HCA will review business plans and reports to their Board taking account of their scale and the potential impact of risks could have on financial viability.
• Once the disposal notification requirements come into force on 6 April 2017, where smaller providers are putting properties into charge to secure new debt or are disposing of a significant proportion of their stock, the notification will trigger follow up analysis and/or enquiries where necessary.

MHA comments: We will be keeping a watching brief for any changes to regulations, particularly in relation to the disposal notification requirements for our Housing Association, which falls under the small provider defintion.

  • The evaluation of the Voluntary Right to Buy (VRTB) pilot scheme has been published by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR). The key findings and learning points indicate: there was a strong level of interest in VRTB amongst tenants living in eligible properties (the pilot did not cover sheltered or supported housing); the majority of tenants who expressed an interest in VRTB found the process of applying relatively straightforward; VRTB provided the opportunity for home ownership to many tenants who would not otherwise have been able to buy their own home and applicant's motivations reflected a preference for owning their own home (41% of respondents), legacy, housing security for their family (28% said it would give them something to pass on to their children) and opportunism (17% said it was an offer too good to refuse); However, when making applications for VRTB, there was a widespread lack of knowledge among tenants about the eventual discounted price. By treating the discount as a deposit, lenders were prepared to offer mortgages at relatively high multiples of household income, raising concerns about future financial risk for some applicants. CRESR have published a blog which gives an overview of the findings.

MHA comments: As part of our work to prepare MHA for VRTB, we await confirmation of the location of the regional pilot and how the policy will work for sheltered housing.

  • Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth has added an amendment to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, which would require the Secretary of State to issue guidance for local planning authorities on how their local development documents should address housing needs that result from old age or disability. Meanwhile, the House of Lords Library have produced a briefing on the Neighbourhood Planning Bill's passage to date. The Bill has two primary aims: to help identify and free up more land to build homes on to give communities as much certainty as possible about where and when development will take place; and to speed up the delivery of new homes, in particular by reducing the time it takes to get from planning permission being granted to building work happening on site and new homes being delivered.

  • The Government has announced 14 planned garden village developments across England. The developments will each deliver between 1,500 and 10,000 properties.  Though there will be no single model of design, the Government has said they should be  “built to a high quality, be attractive and well designed, and be built as a response to meeting local housing needs - especially for first-time buyers”. The 14 new garden villages are: Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon, Oxfordshire Cotswold in West Oxfordshire, Deenethorpe in East Northants, Culm in Mid Devon, Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire, West Carclaze in Cornwall, Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex, Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire, Halsnead in Knowsley, Merseyside, Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath, Bailrigg in Lancaster, Infinity Garden Village in South Derbyshire and Derby City area, St Cuthberts near Carlisle City, Cumbria and North Cheshire in Cheshire East. The Government also announced support for three new garden towns in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston and a further £1.4m of funding to support their delivery.

See the Housing section for more news

Industry and employment

  • The Prime Minister has launched an Industrial Strategy which seeks to: 1. Build on the nation’s strengths and extend excellence into the future; 2. Close the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest; 3. Make the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business. Within it the Government has also identified ten “pillars” of the Strategy to include: investment in science, research and innovation; skills development; infrastructure upgrades; support for startups and scale ups; improved Government procurement; encouraging trade and inward investment; delivering affordable energy and clean growth; cultivating world-leading sectors; driving growth across the whole country; and creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places. The Centre for Ageing Better responded by highlighting the ageing workfoce and the need for lifelong learning. They have called on the Strategy to support everyone to continually develop their skills, keep abreast of new technology and contribute their knowledge and experience over a much longer working life. Helena Herklots of Carers UK suggests that the Social Care 'industry' should be included because of its contribution to the economy and  the impact of caring on employee's health and wellbeing.

    MHA comments: We strongly echo these points from the Centre for Ageing Better and Carers UK, particularly in terms of skills development and driving growth across the whole country.

  • The Women and Equalities Committee has launched an inquiry following research findings from Working Families that revealed many fathers do not feel supported in the workplace to care for their children.  The inquiry follows on from the Committee's report on the Gender Pay Gap in March 2016 which found that: Sharing care between fathers and mothers is the key to reducing the Gender Pay Gap; Many fathers want to fulfil their caring responsibilities for their children; the Government’s flagship policy of Shared Parental Leave, introduced in 2015, is likely to have little impact, with a predicted take-up rate of just 2-8%.

Other

  • The Bus Services Bill is currently making its way through Parliament. Outside London, bus companies currently compete on the street for passengers but if the Bill is passed they will instead compete for franchises set by LAs with a set level of service for a specific area. The hope is that this will help combat the current skew towards well used, more profitable bus routes resulting in a lack of provision in some areas. The Bill falls short of providing new resources, but does provide the tools for LAs to tackle bus provision in response to local need, providing new local franchising and decision making powers. The Centre for Ageing Better have written a blog about why the Bill is important for older people.

  • The Welsh

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Ageing and wellbeing

Loneliness and isolation

  • A commission to tackle the "silent epidemic" of loneliness across the UK in honour of the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was in the process of establishing the commission before she died last June, has been launched. The cross-party Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness aims to look for practical solutions to reduce the impact of loneliness on individuals. The Commission's co-chair's are Labour MP Rachel Reeves and Conservative MP Seema Kennedy said "Loneliness is a silent epidemic across the UK. Now is the time to break that silence by starting a conversation. We need a national conversation about the scale and impact of the problem."he latest research has found that more than a fifth of the British population privately admit they are “always or often lonely”.  The Commission's first campaign invites people to make a pledge to start a conversation “young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate...it is something many of us could easily help with. Looking in on a neighbour, visiting an elderly relative or making that call or visit we’ve been promising to a friend we haven’t seen in a long time.” – Jo Cox

    MHA comments: This is an exciting development which presents an opportunity for MHA to show the Commission how our Live at Home schemes work everyday to provide practical solutions to loneliness and isolation and help people stay connected.

  • The Campaign to End Loneliness has received £2.7m from the Big Lottery Fund to pioneer a UK-wide project to tackle loneliness through community collaboration The project will work communities to co-design programmes to tackle the issue of loneliness and will drive public action to create 250,000 acts of kindness such as regular phone calls and volunteer work in the community. The project will be based in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, Cambridgeshire, Glasgow and a selected region in Northern Ireland, engaging businesses, local authorities, policymakers and people to develop their own local solutions to address isolation amongst older people.

  • The University of Lincoln has published research which considers Out in the cold: why are the oldest people the most excluded?  They suggest people over the age of 85 are significantly more likely to suffer social exclusion than those in the 65 to 84-year-old bracket. In a study of more than 10,000 people over the age of 65, the researchers found the so-called ‘oldest old’ have more trouble accessing services such as healthcare and food shops, with 16% reporting ‘significant’ problems, compared with only 4% of their younger cohort and women were found to be less likely to be able to access services than men. Dr Wesley Key, from the University's School of Social & Political Sciences said: “We examined whether this risk was down to declining health among this age group, yet the analysis shows that those aged 85 and above are still at greater risk of social exclusion even if we take poor health into account... The government has a responsibility to ensure that the most vulnerable citizens are able to participate fully in social life within, and beyond, their home neighbourhoods. Even if the moral argument is not deemed sufficiently powerful, as life expectancy increases and the age profile of western nations pushes upward, the needs of future cohorts of the oldest old will become impossible to ignore.”

  • New research from Age UK, No one should have no one: working to end loneliness amongst older people shares early findings from its pilot programme Testing Promising Approaches to Reducing Loneliness, which explores ways to tackle the loneliness amongst older people. The pilot programme enabled eight local Age UKs to develop their outreach to find and help lonely older people through: Recruiting of ‘eyes on the ground’ to identify older people who are experiencing, or at risk of, loneliness. Working with people with strong community connections such as hairdressers and shopkeepers and faith groups;Developing co-operative networks with professionals in the voluntary and statutory services such as GPs, practice and community nurses, social workers and police community support officers, who are already in contact with older people at high risk of loneliness; The use of a traditional befriending service to provide low-level telephone support and short term face-to-face companionship with the aim of supporting older, lonely people to reconnect with their community;Helping frontline staff to understand and recognise the characteristics of loneliness.

    Age UK staff and volunteers carried out a ‘guided conversation’ with those experiencing loneliness – a loosely structured interview to discover people’s life circumstances, interests and ambitions as well as the kind of support that might help them to feel less lonely. Some older people were matched with volunteer befrienders, introduced to social groups or other likeminded individuals; others learnt new IT skills to help them stay in touch with friends and family, or were given practical support to help them get back on their feet after a fall or illness. Being given help to claim benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit also helped people feel better and more able to connect with their communities.

  • Research commissioned for by the Eden Project’s neighbourhood initiative The Big Lunch, has revealed that the annual cost to public services of social isolation and disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32bn every year, including demand on health services and policing. The study suggests that loneliness and social isolation affected a range of people “[There are] key triggers that can disrupt lives and create a situation in which loneliness becomes the norm. [These] include becoming a new mum at a young age, facing empty nest syndrome or retirement, experiencing long-term health issues or mobility limitations, dealing with bereavement or going through a family breakdown, such as divorce or separation.” The Big Lunch commissioned Cebr (Centre for Economic and Business Research) to produce a study examining the impact of community-led initiatives on societal welfare and on the economy.

  • United for All Ages has published research, A Country for All Ages, which suggests there is a widening gap between generations. It suggests that different generations are less likely to mix with other generations, with the oldest and youngest least likely to mix. Once family interactions are excluded, the average Briton has 56% less interaction with other age groups than would be expected if there was no social segregation.  The suggest the housing market has exacerbated this separation, with a growing difference between rural areas, where more older people live, and urban areas with younger populations. Urban areas are also increasingly segregated between younger people living in rented accommodation in city centres and older people in owner occupation in the suburbs. The report terms this ‘age apartheid’ stemming from rising isolation and loneliness to ageism and alienation and calls for social innovation to build mutual support and belonging and to reduce stereotyping and myths. It's recommendations for bringing older and younger people together include:- Building multigenerational communities: support for community businesses; making public spaces and shops more accessible; opening up community facilities from universities to older people’s housing schemes for all ages; and co-locating childcare and eldercare schemes- Mutual support through two-way relationships: online mentoring of younger people; advocacy for older people needing health and social care; Homeshare schemes where younger people live with older people; and increased interaction between grandfathers and grandchildren - Better communication between generations: establishing a national council for all ages supported by an intergenerational convention bringing older and younger people together from across the country; building bridges between generations with shared identities and interests; and using theatre and other arts activities and street parties.

  • The Local Government Association have published Combating loneliness: a guide for Local Authorities, which warns that the impact of loneliness and isolation on health and social care means that it must be recognised as a major public health issue. It presents a framework and recommendations for action.

  • The Guardian presents a series of account of volunteers and third sector managers discussing how they help alleviate loneliness in the older population.

Wellbeing

  • Women who lead a sedentary lifestyle have faster-ageing cells than those who exercise every day. Research involving 1,500 women aged 64 to 95 found those who spent many hours sitting and exercised for less than 40 minutes a day had cells that were biologically eight years older. As people age, their cells age, causing DNA protectors to shorten and fray. But health and lifestyle factors may speed up the process. Even in old age, it was important to keep active and avoid sitting for more than 10 hours a day.

  • New research commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better, suggests that 41% of people over 70 don’t realise how important good strength and balance is to reduce falls. The research by Ipsos MORI for the Centre for Ageing Better shows that many people in all age groups aged 40 and over are confused about what activities help with improving their strength and balance. A total of 93% of respondents said it was important for someone their age to do strength and balance exercises or activities twice a week. But over a third (35%) didn’t realise that heavy gardening jobs such as digging counted as well as nearly half (46%) not realising that carrying heavy loads such as groceries counted. 95% said that walking was a helpful activity, but in fact moderate or slow walking does not improve muscle strength or balance despite it being good for general health. The study comes as by the Department of Health published a Falls and Fracture Consensus Statement outlining actions that the health, care and housing sectors can take to help prevent older people having falls and fractures.

  • Researchers at the University of York, have developed Walking for Well-Being, a prototype mobile app that makes it easier to plan walking routes, as well as a prototype mobility scooter attachment incorporating sensors that measure the quality of the user’s journey. The Co-Motion project is one of seven 'Design for Well-being' projects looking at ageing and mobility in the built environment and is a longitudinal study in York, Hexham and Leeds, which includes co-design workshops with older people, along with local and national stakeholders, aiming to identify solutions to barriers they have identified. An off-shoot of the project was Poetry in Motion, where a series of key messages are conveyed through public poetry to raise awareness of the problems encountered by older and disabled people, and to encourage people to think about the travel needs of fellow passengers. Project lead, Dr Mark Bevan, from the University’s Centre for Housing Policy said “We’ve worked with around a hundred people in later life, listening to their needs and learning about the day-to-day challenges they face, especially after a big change in their lives such as starting to live with a sensory impairment or giving up driving.Participants discussed many of the things that would help improve their travel experience, and this included raising awareness amongst service providers and the wider public of the diverse travel needs of people in later life.”

  • An Age UK report suggests that sleeping soundly gets harder as people age but getting enough rest is important to keep mentally sharp. As we age, our sleep patterns change, so we become more vulnerable to waking during the night and earlier in the morning.In the long term, poor sleep increases the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The report was written by the Global Council on Brain Health report - a panel of experts convened by Age UK and the American Association of Retired Persons. It recommends older people get seven to eight hours of sleep a night and gives tips on how to achieve this, such as avoiding caffeine in the afternoon.

  • The British Council have outlined a series of Literary Projects with Older Adults, which explores how creative writing be used to enhance the lives of older adults.

    MHA comments: There are some really valuable pieces of research here of use to all our colleagues on the frontline, especially in relation to the article on strength and balance and reducing the risk of falls.

In brief:

  • Academic societies in Japan have proposed redefining “elderly” people as those aged 75 or older, rather than 65 or above as at present, reflecting the fact that many older individuals remain physically and mentally vibrant. The Japan Gerontological Society and the Japan Geriatrics Society suggested calling people aged 90 and above “super-elderly,” while proposing that “pre-elderly” be applied to people aged between 65 and 74.

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Dementia

New research

  • Healthwatch England has compiled a briefing of people’s experiences of dementia care. From January 2015, more than 1,000 people across the country have spoken to local Healthwatch about their experiences of dementia care, from the help provided by GPs to the support offered through hospitals and social care. Local Healthwatch have also visited more than 120 care homes, speaking to residents, staff and carers,  to find out what’s working well and what could be improved. Whilst in most cases people found care to be compassionate and considerate, there were also things that could be better. Although the exact findings varied from area to area, local Healthwatch found that those they spoke to wanted to see improvements in three main areas: 1. Information: The availability and type of information regarding services and support following diagnosis helps to set the tone for the experiences of those with dementia and their carers. Support for carers is not always as clearly signposted or explained as it could be. 2. Support: Specialist services for people with dementia, like memory cafes, are said to be very good, but are not always accessible to those who would most benefit from using them. More generally, many people felt that the quality of services themselves was inconsistent, sometimes within the same locality. 3. Environment: More work needs to be done to make public spaces dementia-friendly by improving elements such as lighting and signage.

  • Research carried out by Plymouth University has conducted a year-long study into the experience of dementia in farming and farming families and its impact on their businesses and home lives. Rural dementia - we need to talk is the first time that research has addressed this issue in farming. it identifies four areas of concern identified by the study were: the farm environment and the hazardous nature they can present; a reluctance to ask for help; lack of rural support services; and changing rural communities. The unique social and economic context of farming means that often, farmers continue working long after the state retirement age and as a consequence health issues such as dementia, show increased prevalence amongst older populations, can be particular issues for farm businesses. As farms are generally homes as well as businesses, this can also lead to additional strain and financial pressures on the wider family if plans to hand-on the business to the next generation have not been made. Linked to this is the fact that few had made plans about what would happen to their farms when they stopped farming.

  • People who live near major roads may have higher rates of dementia, according to research published in the Lancet. About 10% of dementia cases in people living within 50m of a major road could be down to traffic. The researchers, who followed nearly 2m people in Canada over 11 years, say air pollution or noisy traffic could be contributing to the brain's decline. Dementia experts in the UK said the findings needed further investigation but were "certainly plausible". However they found know correlation between living on a busy road and Parkinson's disease or Multiple Sclerosis.

  • New research from Aston University, Hull University and the University of East Anglia, has revealed people with dementia may struggle with managing their medication – exposing them to side-effects, medication errors and an increased risk of non-adherence to drug treatment. Researchers interviewed family carers, people with dementia, nurses, GPs and community pharmacists for the project, finding that as dementia develops the person struggles to manage their own medication and increasingly relies on support from family carers. This is often their partner, who may also be taking many medicines and finding the carer role stressful, thus increasing the risk of medication error. The study also showed that for some carers this was a real burden of responsibility and that they hid their anxieties.

  • A partnership of voluntary sector organisations (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, Alzheimer’s Society, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, MacIntyre and the National Care Forum), have launched a new report calling for the needs of people with learning disabilities, who have also developed dementia, to be better addressed.  The report says there is a need to improve policy, planning and research in relation to people with learning disabilities and dementia. People with learning disabilities are five times more likely than those in the general population to develop dementia, according to a study by NHS Digital, published in December 2016.

  • The Welsh Government launched a public consultation of the draft Welsh National Dementia strategy 2017-2022. It has been developed following close engagement with people with dementia, their families, carers and dementia advocacy groups."  Actions include: local authorities and health boards are to develop a ‘team around the individual approach’ with services tailored to the individual with dementia and their carers; the Welsh Government promotes and develops research on living with dementia that includes families and carers as co-researchers; and looks to address inequalities experienced by people with dementia.

  • Former Prime Minister David Cameron has been announced as the new President of Alzheimer’s Research UK and called for dementia research funding to continue as a priority for the Government.

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Finance and pensions 

  • The International Longevity Centre UK and the Cass Business School have published Flexible and affordable methods of paying for long term care insurance, which explores different methods of funding long term care insurance. With the dramatic increase expected in the number of older people requiring care and the tightening of public funding, individuals will be increasingly expected to contribute to and plan for their own care in later life. However, research shows us that people are reluctant to save for their care to the extent that there are no providers of pre-funded long-term care insurance products in the UK to help address this problem. The report considers a product which is a disability-linked annuity that provides benefit payments towards the cost of both domiciliary and residential nursing care and explores four different methods of payment for this product and the need for flexibility to allow individuals to have control over the timing of their payments to fit around their lifestyle.

  • In their latest research report, the Resolution Foundation, the UK has reached a "tipping point" and there will now be a growing number of non-workers supported by every working person. Currently there are 1.3 non-workers for every 1.1 worker, a rate which has fallen since the 1970s and from a high of 1.4 in 1985. Now a large number of people born between 1946 and 1965 are set to retire, increasing the overall cost of retirement benefits and adult social care and reducing the number of working people paying the tax to fund them. To prevent this, the report's author suggests that the state pension age would have to rise by a much faster rate than the Government plans, to 70 by the late 2030s and then to 72 by the 2060s.

  • The Institute of Fiscal Studies has been considering Inheritances and inequality across and within generations and suggest that today's oldest people have much more wealth to bequeath than their predecessors, primarily as the result of rising home ownership rates and rising house prices. At the same time, today’s young adults will find it harder to accumulate wealth of their own than previous generations did, due to the sharp fall in home ownership, the dramatic decline of defined benefit pensions in the private sector and the stagnation in household incomes. Together, these trends mean inherited wealth is likely to play a more important role in determining the lifetime economic resources of younger generations, with important implications for inequality and social mobility. They found that those with the highest lifetime incomes are also those who have inherited the most across the course of their lives. High-lifetime-income individuals are around twice as likely as low-income individuals to have inherited something and many times more likely to have inherited hundreds of thousands of pounds. There is evidence that these patterns are likely to be maintained among younger generations: those with higher incomes are much more likely to either have received an inheritance or expect to receive one in future.

  • Tens of thousands of grandparents are missing out on National Insurance (NI) credits which could be worth more than £230 a year, according to a Freedom of Information request to the HM Revenue and Customs by Royal London. Mothers who give up work are given NI credits while their children are under 12, to help them get a state pension. If they return to work, relatives can claim the credits instead. To qualify for the 'grandparents' credit', such relatives need to be of working age, while caring for the child in question. In the year to the end of September 2016, only about 1,300 people claimed the credits. However, Royal London believe that as many as 100,000 relatives could get them, if only they were made aware and has called on the Government to improve information and awareness.

    MHA comments: These reports provide valuable insight into the future landscape of working lives, retirement, wealth distribution and planning for care. Our long term planning of services to meet future need will benefit from this insight.

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Health  

NHS Funding

  • As news reports surfaced that A&E departments across the UK experienced one of their busiest weeks ever, the British Red Cross suggested there was a 'humanitarian crisis' taking place, as a lack of investment in care services for adults, cuts to funding and increasing demand have led to a gap in care provision. The Red Cross called on the Government to allocate more funds for health and social care.  The charity had been providing support to staff at the East Midlands Ambulance Service, which was facing extreme service pressures. Theresa May has rejected claims of a humanitarian crisis but acknowledged there were "huge pressures" on the health service. She went on to suggest that GPs in England could lose extra funding if they fail to meet their commitments to keeping surgeries open for longer. The Government wants surgeries to open between 08:00 and 20:00, seven days a week, unless they can prove the demand is not there. It said many patients were going to under-pressure A&E departments because they could not get GP appointments. In response the British Medical Association accused the Government of making GPs scapegoats for the pressure facing A&E departments across the country.

  • In an investigation into patient access, the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the Department of Health (DH) and NHS England have a high-level vision for improving patient access to general practice and have increased the funding available, but are seeking to extend access despite failing to provide consistent value for money from existing services. DH has set objectives such as providing evening and weekend access for all patients and 5,000 extra doctors in general practice, by 2020. However, they have not evaluated the cost-effectiveness and consequences of their objectives. The NAO’s analysis suggests the minimum additional capacity required by the new commitment equates to £230 per appointment hour per 1,000 registered patients. In core contract hours the cost is an estimated £154. NHS England intends that the additional funding will be used to also cover transformation costs and deliver wider improvements in access, but has not currently set out how it will take assurance that the additional funding provides good value for money. The report also found that NHS England and Health Education England’s efforts to increase the GP workforce was at particular risk from falling retention, shortfalls in recruitment and increases in part-time working. The time taken to train clinical staff, and increasing demand, mean supplying sufficient numbers is challenging. Against a target of 3,250 GP training places in 2016/17, Health Education England only filled 3,019 (93%) places, although this was an increase from 2,769 in 2015/16. In addition the NAO, suggested DH has a limited understanding of the pressures in general practice. 

In brief:

  • According to a new vaccine modelling study by the University of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, offering the flu vaccine to children and adolescents up to the age of 16 could be as effective a strategy to fight flu in older people as continuing to vaccinate the low-risk older people themselves. If administered to children and adolescents quickly and early in the flu season, the researchers estimated that the recent decision to extend LAIV to everyone aged two to 16 could halve the number of flu cases in older people.  However, the findings support the existing recommendation of vaccinating all people deemed at high-risk. Currently, a free flu jab is available on the NHS for all those aged 65 and over, and for people at high-risk of developing serious complications. The report authors stress that while the study provides important data that will support policymakers, more research is needed before deciding on a change in flu vaccination strategy.

  • The NHS Confederation has appointed Niall Dickson as its new CEO. He was formerly the head of the General Medical Council, Niall Dickson, CEO of health think tank the King’s Fund and editor of Nursing Times.

See the Government Health section for more policy updates

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Housing

small building imageOlder people's housing choice and design

  • In Building our homes, communities and future the Local Government Association’s (LGA) housing commission has concluded that the Local Housing Allowance cap is “not sufficient” to meet the higher rents charged in supported housing. The commission said older people in sheltered housing should receive payments from a nationally administered fund, whereas vulnerable people with support needs should partly be supported by grant funding from their local council. The Government is currently consulting on the Local Housing Allowance cap with a top-up fund  given to councils to cover any costs for supported housing tenants above the Local Housing Allowance rate. The LGA suggest “Older people in sheltered housing should receive housing benefit and an additional support payment, administered at a national level, via their pension credit, that means the full cost of their housing is met. Vulnerable people with a higher level of need, such as those with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge, should receive housing benefit and be supported by a grant to councils that sufficiently allows them to meet the additional rent and support costs these groups incur.”

  • This Housing LIN have published a discussion paper, which considers the challenges the older people's housing market is facing. It reflects that in 2016, there was much debate, improved strategic partnerships and some quality design and scheme development. But they suggest the future remains very uncertain and in difficult financial times with increased development risk a new business model is required. The traditional extra care business case focuses on predominantly a care solution. Drawing on the lessons from HAPPI, perhaps we need now to look wider and offer a housing solution that provides quality homes for people of all ages?

  • The Housing LIN have also published a paper which considers Is there a role for occupational therapists in the design of housing? This viewpoint explores the unique skill set that occupational therapists can bring to ensure that homes are accessible and adaptable to the changing needs of residents as they age. It highlights how first-hand lived experience of working with end users to find effective key design features and solutions that can inform and complement the design and specifications of new build, refurbishments and adaptations.

  • The National Housing Federation has produced a literature review on The Value of Sheltered Housing, which explores why housing is important as we age, outcomes for individuals, benefits for the community, demand for housing for older people and economic benefits for individuals and the taxpayer. It suggests that value may be found in real savings or immediate impact such as a warm well insulated home clearly benefiting an older person. However, many benefits may not translate into immediately cashable savings but are nonetheless of tremendous value, such as improving health, however determining this value for money for these impacts is challenging.

In brief:

  • The National Housing Federation have developed a new Housing Association Sector Score Card, specifically looking at benchmarking efficiency indicators . Developed by their Efficiency Working Group it proposes a set of 15 proposed indicators, which are grouped into five areas: business health, development – capacity and supply, outcomes delivered, effective asset management, operating efficiencies. These indicators aim to be concise and allow like for like comparison, while at the same time recognising the diversity of the sector encompassing a wide range of social missions. The next stage will be to carry out an extensive year-long pilot to thoroughly test and if needed, improve the indicators.

    The Chartered Institute of Housing has published research Shared Ownership 2.1, that indicates shared ownership is now seen as a key route onto housing ladder. The report shows the tenure is affordable across the vast majority of the UK, that it is significantly over-subscribed and that the sector has capacity to build many more homes. It also reveals shared ownership is now one of the best known ways of getting onto the housing ladder, with some 34% of the 2,200 adults polled by Ipsos MORI saying they knew about shared ownership, compared to 32% who knew about right to buy and 28% who knew about the Help to Buy equity loan. Gavin Smart, deputy CEO said “What this report shows is that shared ownership is now a popular and affordable route for many people in the UK to get a home. As house prices continue to rise, shared ownership is an option for the growing group of people for whom home ownership is increasingly out of reach, but who don’t have the level of need to qualify for social housing."

See the Government Housing section for more policy updates

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Social Care

Local Government and Social Care funding

  • Care England has warned that the gap in council fees could see care homes abandoning less affluent areas, following publication of new research by LaingBuisson that a shortfall in Local Authorities (LA) funding for care homes, is creating a postcode lottery in care quality. The research suggests the average fee per resident paid to care homes by LAs falls short of service provision costs by more than £100 a week.The National Living Wage and requirements to employ more carers to support residents with increasingly complex dependencies have fuelled an “inexorable rise” in care home costs, said LaingBuisson founder William Laing. Responding to the analysis, Chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe said “The historic under funding of adult social care is impacting on the cost and quality of care and access to it. The consequences for the provider market are particularly acute and the gap between what providers say they need and what councils are able to afford is now at breaking point... Without urgent and genuinely new government funding more providers will leave the publicly funded care market or go out of business completely. Councils, care providers, charities and the NHS are all united around the need for central government to fully fund adult social care. This is essential if we are to ensure people can live independent, fulfilling lives, as well as alleviating the pressures on the NHS.”

  • In a survey of LAs, ITV News have reported that most Directors of Adult Social Care believe rises in Council Tax has made little or no difference to their ability to provide social care. ITV News received responses from 112 out of 152 councils. More than a quarter of directors of adult social services said it would make no difference at all and more than two thirds of them said it would make very little difference.

  • In their submission to the Spring Budget, the LGA have said that measures announced in the Local Government Finance Settlement will help in part but fall well short of what is needed to fully protect the services which care for elderly and vulnerable people today and in the future. Further flexibility with the social care precept does not change the total allowable increase to 2019/20 and unfairly shifts the burden of tackling a national crisis onto councils and their residents. Additionally in an open letter to the Prime Minister, 75 health and care organisations, called for a cross-party process to find a sustainable solution to the problems in health and social care funding.

  • Many councils have announced proposals to increase Council Tax using the Social Care Precept, following the announcement last month that LAs would be permitted to increase council tax by up to 6% over two years, ring-fenced for social care, with a maximum of 3% each year.  Controversially David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, announced a proposal to seek a council tax rise of 15% - the largest proposed to date in the UK. He said “We have to set a budget that will protect vital services for Surrey residents. Government has cut our annual grant by £170m since 2010 – leaving a huge gap in our budget. Demand for adults social care, learning disabilities and children’s services is increasing every year. So I regret, despite us finding £450m worth of savings from our annual budget, we have no choice but to propose this increase in council tax.”

  • According to Community Care, Northamptonshire County Council have dropped proposals to introduce a £50 charge for social care assessments of adults who need to pay for their own care, as it would contravene the Care Act 2014. Under the plans, individuals with assessable savings and capital investments above £23,250 would have faced a £50 administrative charge for an assessment of their care needs.

  • Following concerns raised by the public about people waiting up to a year for a social care assessment, Healthwatch England have been working with Healthwatch in 18 local areas to examine the issue. The local Healthwatchs have approached their local councils, those providing care, and voluntary groups. Initial findings indicate that in some areas, LAs may not have the information they need to ensure that everyone is getting a timely assessment. Of the councils who provided information, half were either unable to provide data on waiting times or could only share how many people were on their waiting list but not for how long. Six councils revealed their average waiting times for a social care assessment ranged from 2.75 days to 52 days. The longest reported delay between request for assessment and the assessment happening was 688 days. It also appears that even once people have had their assessment, there can be a delay for the support to be put in place, with average waiting times reported as being between 7.8 days and 54 days. Healthwatch also heard that once people are receiving care, their needs are sometimes not being reviewed as regularly as they should be. The majority of people have a positive experience of social care services.

  • The House of Commons Library has published a research paper on Social care funding and the care home market (in England).

    See also the report on Flexible and affordable methods for paying for long term care insurance

MHA comments: It is clear that LAs are not properly resourced to meet the needs of their older vulnerable populations. We support the calls across the sector for the Government to adopt a cross party approach to finding a longer term more sustainable approach to the funding of social care. The current solution of the Social Care precept within Council tax is simply not a sustainable answer.

In brief:

  • A report by the Terrence Higgins Trust has revealed an increase in the number of people living with HIV that are over 50. Uncharted Territory, suggests that society is under-prepared the social care sector is for an aging population of people who are HIV positive. The Trust surveyed 240 older people living with HIV and found that 58% are living in poverty, 82% experience moderate to high levels of loneliness and 82% are concerned about whether they’ll be able to find adequate social care in the future. A worrying 25% of respondents said they would have nobody to help them if they needed assistance with everyday tasks. They suggest that advances in HIV treatment mean that people are living longer than expected and the system is unequipped to care for them.

  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has launched a new complaints partnership with charities. Under the partnership, charities will work more closely with the CQC to represent the views of people who use health and social services, including those with mental illness and disabilities. The Tell us about your care partnership means that if the charities receive complaints about a service provider, they can pass them on to the CQC. The six charities that joined the partnership with the inspectorate are the Patients Association, Mind, the National Autistic Society, Disability Rights UK, Carers UK, and the Relatives and Residents Association. 

  • Two clinical commissioning groups in Staffordshire have appointed a matron on a temporary basis to work with 20 local care homes in order to help reduce avoidable hospital admissions. Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group have announced they are employing a new “care home matron” for a 12-month project in order to reduce hosptial admissions by 10%.  The Care Home Matron, a senior frailty specialist nurse, will aim to offer members of staff daily face-to-face contact, education and leadership as well as developing a training and competency package which can be applied across care homes. The matron will work closely with staff to promote the prevention of pressure ulcers, falls and urinary tract infections in residents with a catheter.

  • Humanoid robots, with cultural awareness and a good bedside manner, could help solve the crisis over care for the elderly, according to an international team working on a £2m project to develop versatile robots to help look after older people in care homes or sheltered accommodation. Researchers from Middlesex University and the University of Bedfordshire will assist in building personal social robots, known as Pepper Robots, which can be pre-programmed to suit the person they are helping and offer support with everyday tasks, like taking tablets, as well as offering companionship. Professor Irena Papadopoulos, expert in trans-cultural nursing, said: "Assistive, intelligent robots for older people could relieve pressures in hospitals and care homes as well as improving care delivery at home and promoting independent living for the elderly. It is not a question of replacing human support but enhancing and complementing existing care... we do believe that in the future the robots would become acceptable for people to have in their own homes." Pepper Robots are manufactured by Softbank Robotics and already used in thousands of homes in Japan.The programme is being funded by the EU and the Japanese Government.

    See also the Government section on Health and Social Care

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Third Sector

In Brief:

  • The Information Commissioner's Office has said it intends to fine 11 charities for breaking data-protection rules. The ICO said the charities have been informed of its decision and have 28 days to make representations against the findings. The ICO said it would consider representations from each of the charities before making its final decision about enforcement action and would only name the organisations if it decided to fine them following its investigations.  The notice said the charities had been investigated as part of a wider operation sparked by media reports "about repeated and significant pressure on supporters to contribute". The ICO is increasing its focus on ensuring compliance within the charity and fundraising sector. In related news, the RSPCA and the British Heart Foundation have both decided not to appeal against a combined £43,000 of fines levied against them by the ICO for contravening the Data Protection Act last year.

  • Charities in England and Wales might have to pay a levy of up to £3,000 a year to fund the Charity Commission, according to William Shawcross, the regulator’s chair in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph. He said the regulator was considering charging charities an annual fee of between £60 and £3,000 according to their size, with a consultation on a levy expected to be launched in the near future. The regulator was also considering setting up a new advice line for charities, which would be funded by the levy, the paper reported.

    Also see the Government section on Charities and the Voluntary Sector

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Workforce and employment

In brief:

  • New research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that the significant expansion and design of the new Apprenticeship Levy system risks it being poor value for money and could end up being particularly damaging to the public sector. It suggests there is a good case for expanding apprenticeships, but perhaps more gradually and where we can ensure high-quality provision. But the study warns about the dilution of quality if other types of training are re-badged as apprenticeships.

  • Skills for Care has published a National Living Wage (NLW) report focusing on the impact of the NLW on care providers, which came into effect on 1st April 2016. With the pay floor continuing to rise, a challenge for social care providers will be to maintain differentials between care workers and those in more senior roles and more experienced workers.  The briefing covers direct care worker pay by sector, care worker pay by region, pay trends and differentials.

  • Bath College has launched its Care Academy, designed to link students with a wide range of employers working in the South West. Bath College was awarded £40k of Government funding to develop the Care Academy and recruit an Academy Coordinator. As a result, the college has been working with its Care Academy partners to strengthen training, increase work experience opportunities, and help students find employment within the health and social care sector.

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Look Ahead: February and beyond

MHA will be taking an interest in the following events and milestones:

  • 3 February: NCVO - new Charity Governance Code, consultation closes
  • 3 February: Work and Pensions Committee and the Communities and Local Government Committee, Supported Housing Funding inquiry, deadline for written submissions
  • 6 February: Publication of the Housing White Paper
  • 9-20 February: Parliamentary recess
  • 13 February: Department for Communities and Local Government, Future of Supported Housing (LHA cap), consultation closes
  • 14 February: CQC consultation on regulation of NHS Trusts and new care models, consultation closes
  • 23 February: By-elections in Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland will take place.
  • 8 March: Chancellor's Budget
  • 10 March: National Assembly for Wales Inquiry into loneliness and isolation, deadline for submissions
  • March: Law Commission Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Review, report due

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Some information sourced from DeHavilland

 
 

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