Policy News from MHA: November 2016

Welcome to MHA's November policy bulletin

 

This month the Government published its Autumn Statement, while on many levels it was viewed as a 'sober' affair, it has resulted in uproar from many across the local government, health and social care sectors, due to the lack of response or acknowledgement for the crisis in funding for social care and the NHS. Brexit is clearly taking up a lot of the Government's time since the summer and this month was no different with many legal uncertainties and challenges arising.

Several pieces of legislation  and inquiries are progressing including the Adult Social Care inquiry, the Apprenticeship Levy, Neighbourhood and Planning Bill and National Citizens Service Bill. 

Government: - Autumn Statement - Progress of Legislation, Inquiries and Government policy - Brexit - Charities Health and Social care - HousingPensions - Other -

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

Ageing and wellbeing: - Loneliness -

Dementia:- New research -

Faith: - Faith-based charities -

Finance and pensions: - Retirement income -

Health: - Innovation - Health Sector challenges -

Housing: - Social Housing - House-building - Older people's housing -

Regulation: - news from the CQC -

Social Care: - Sector analysis - Public perceptions of the care sector - Carers -

Third Sector: - Trust and impact - Fundraising -

Workforce and employment: - Social care workforce - Apprenticeships (including new Nursing Degree Apprenticeship) -

Look Ahead: December and beyond

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Government

clipboard imageAutumn Statement 2016

  • Delivering his first Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond reported that the International Monetary Fund had predicted the UK would be the fastest-growing major economy in the world this year. However he also said that the decision to leave the EU increased the urgency to address the housing shortage and cited concerns over productivity.

  • The Chancellor announced that there would be no more Autumn Statements. Instead there would be a move to an Autumn budget, followed by a Spring statement from 2018, at which the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) bi-annual report would be presented but there would be no fiscal policy changes, unless there was an economic emergency.

  • Disappointingly there was no mention of additional funding for Adult Social Care or the NHS - see the Social Care section for a some of the most recent sector analysis.

Key points of interest to MHA:
Workforce

  • The Personal Allowance will rise to £11,500 in April 2017, to £12,500 by 2020 and then rise in line with inflation.

  • Income Tax higher rate threshold will be £50,000 by the end of the Parliament.

  • From April 2017:

    - National Living Wage will increase from £7.20 to £7.50.

    - employee and employer National Insurance thresholds will be aligned at £157 per week. This will not cost employees and the maximum cost to business will be an annual £7.18 per employee.

    - the amount of tax paid on employee benefit (salary sacrifice) schemes would be equal to other tax rates (with some exceptions including ultra-low emission cars, childcare and cycle schemes – following consultation).

Tax

  • Insurance Premium Tax will rise from10% to 12% and the Government plans to introduce legislation on whiplash scams.

    A commitment to move to Corporation Tax of 17%, reduce businesses rates and support for the oil and gas sector.

  • Increase rural rate relief to 100% for rural businesses.

  • There will be a new penalty for implementing tax avoidance schemes that are challenged and defeated by HMRC and new steps to address the inappropriate use of the VAT flat rate regime.

Pensions

  • A pledge to retain the triple-lock for pensions, but he added But as we look ahead to the next Parliament, we will need to ensure we tackle the challenges of rising longevity and fiscal sustainability.” Also see the report of the Work and Pensions Committee on Intergenerational Fairness.

  • For pensions that had been drawn down, the Money Purchase Annual Allowance would be reduced to prevent double tax relief.

  • Pension cold calling to be banned.

Housing

  • Relaxed restrictions on Government grants to allow providers to build a wider range of housing types and tenures.

  • A new £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to support infrastructure development for up 100,000 new homes in high demand areas.

  • A further £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 additional homes to support a wide range of needs.

  • A large-scale regional pilot of Voluntary Right to Buy for Housing Association tenants.

  • Letting fees charged by agents will be banned as soon as possible.

    MHA comments: We share the disappointment across the entire health and social care sector that the Chancellor ignored the Adult Social Care crisis. Click here to read further detail about the Autumn Statement.

Progress of legislation, Inquiries and other Government policy

Brexit: the legalities

  • The High Court has ruled that Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU, meaning that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 on their own. The case was instigated by Gina Miller, a former investment banker, who argued that it would be unconstitutional if MPs were not able to debate and vote on the terms of a Brexit deal.  The Government have appealed and the case is due to be heard at the Supreme Court between 5 and 8 December. Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have declared their intention to intervene in the case, insisting that the devolved Governments should be consulted with on the terms of a Brexit deal.  Fullfact have published a summary of the issue What does the High Court’s Article 50 ruling mean for Brexit?  

  • In reaction to the ruling, several MPs announced their intention to vote against triggering Article 50, if they are given the chance to vote.  Liberal Democrat Party Leader Tim Farron confirmed that his Party would oppose it, unless there was a second referendum on the Brexit deal, he said “Article 50 would proceed but only if there is a referendum on the terms of the deal and if the British people are not respected then, yes, that is a red line and we would vote against the government.”  Labour MPs Catherine West, Helen Hayes, David Lammy, Daniel Zeichner and Thangam Debbonaire have also confirmed they would vote against it. Meanwhile, Conservative MP Stephen Phillips stood down from his seat, following the Government’s decision to appeal the High Court’s verdict on allowing parliamentary approval for triggering Article 50. A by-election for the Sleaford and North Hykeham seat will be held on 8 December. The Conservatives held the seat with a majority of 24,115 at the last General Election. Full Fact have considered some of recent arguments about the implementation of the EU referendum result. They sum up that as the referendum is not legally binding, there is plenty of scope for politicians to question the implementation of the result.

  • The BBC reports that the Government could face a legal battle over whether the UK stays inside the single market after it has left the EU.  The Government has said that European Economic Area (EEA) membership ends when the UK leaves the EU. But some lawyers argue that leaving the EEA would not be automatic and would happen only if Britain formally withdraws by triggering Article 127 of the EEA agreement.  The single market allows the tariff-free movement of goods, services, money and people within the EU. The EEA, set up in the 1990s, extends those benefits to some non-EU members like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  Non-EU members are outside the Common Agricultural Policy and customs union, but get barrier-free trade with the single market in return for paying into some EU budgets and accepting the free movement of workers. The legal question is focused on whether the UK is a member of the EEA in its own right or because it is a member of the EU. The pro-single market think tank British Influence are seeking formal judicial review of the Government's position. If the courts back the legal challenge and give Parliament the final say over EEA membership, then MPs could vote on UK membership to the single market.

  • Meanwhile The Guardian reports, that the Director of Public Prosecutions is considering a complaint that voters were misled by the Vote Leave and Leave. EU campaigns, in contravention of electoral law. The complaint about “undue influence” on the referendum campaign has been submitted by an independent group, led by Professor Bob Watt, an expert in electoral law from the University of Buckingham. The complaint centres on 'instances where the leave campaigns continued to make assertions of fact that were knowingly misleading', including the oft-cited claim of the EU costing the UK £350m a week, which was contrary to evidence from the Office for National Statistics. Other instances cited include alleged misrepresentations on pro-Brexit leaflets that Nissan and Unilever supported leaving the EU, Vote Leave’s posters that claimed “Turkey is joining the EU”, as well as the assertion that “the UK has no border controls whilst in the EU” when billions are spent on the UK Border Agency.

  • The Prime Minister has announced plans to introduce a “Great Repeal Bill” in the next Queen's Speech and the House of Commons  Library has published a paper which considers the issues likely to be raised in the Bill. The Great Repeal Bill would repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and incorporate (transpose) EU law into domestic law “wherever practical”. The House of Commons Library has estimated that 13.2% of UK primary and secondary legislation enacted between 1993 and 2004 was EU related. The review of all EU-related legislation, as well as that which will be transposed by the Great Repeal Bill, makes this potentially one of the largest legislative projects ever undertaken in the UK. The Government has indicated that the legal changes within the Bill would take effect on “Brexit Day” - the day the UK officially leaves the EU.  The Government has also stated that the Bill will contain delegated powers to enable the Government to adapt any laws on the statute book that originate from the EU so as to fit the UK’s new relationship with the EU. This may require major parts of the statute book to be assessed to determine which laws will be able to function after Brexit day.

    MHA comments: this is an interesting development in the journey to Brexit and we will need to keep a watching brief on which EU laws are finally transposed into domestic laws and what happens to the laws which are not.

  • The House of Commons Library has also published a briefing Brexit: some legal, constitutional and financial unknowns, attempting to summarise some of these legal complexities.

Charities and Voluntary Sector

  • As part of the House of Lords Select Committee on Charity Sustainability, the Committee heard evidence on the relationship between the charitable sector and Local Government.  Daniel Hurford of the Welsh Local Government Association told the committee that funding cuts and contracts have had a negative effect on charities. Small charities are being "priced out and scaled out" of bidding for local authority contracts and the increasing focus on larger contracts with bigger organisations meant the charity sector risked losing "some of the value it brought as a body, both as a potential deliverer of services but also as a representative body, as an advocate and as having local community ties". Councillor Robert Light of Kirklees Council said "The importance of the relationship between charities and voluntary bodies and a local authority needs to be that it can be flexible. That can be challenging for both organisations, but it is really important because the demands for services are not rigid – they are flexible." He also said that the need to continue statutory services, such as adult social care, meant that other services, such as museums and libraries, were bearing the brunt of reductions in local government funding. "Our demands for adult social care are growing. What that means is other areas of council activity have had to diminish or in some cases stop altogether. It's inevitable that some provision by charities and voluntary organisations will replace what was previously done by local authorities. I don't think you should necessarily see that as a negative."

    MHA comments: We submitted evidence to this inquiry. We emphasised the important and distinct role of Charities operating for public benefit in a ‘third’ space between the private sector and the public sector; the need for recognition of the experience and responsiveness that charities can bring to meeting needs; and for Government to resist the temptation for more regulation.

  • The House of Commons Library have published a briefing paper on the Small Charitable Donations and Childcare Payments Bill 2016-17, which provides background detail to the Bill and a briefing on the Committee Stage of the Digital Economy Bill. This Bill has several provisions regarding data protection, data sharing and direct marketing.

    See the Third Sector section for additional latest news

Health and Social Care

  • The Health Committee has published its report on winter planning in A&E departments and called for the Government to address the under-funding of adult social care to relieve pressure on A&E departments. It found that for major emergency departments in 2015, only 88% of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within 4 hours, below the 95% standard set by the Government.  It goes on to say that unless the shortfall in social care provision is addressed, people will continue to face unnecessary admission and delayed discharge from hospital. It did acknowledge that some trusts are supporting patient flow out of their hospitals by creating their own services that provide social care in order to address the problem of delayed discharges, however these initiatives will have a limited scope when trusts are themselves under such financial pressure.

    MHA comments: we welcome the Committee's view that addressing the crisis in Adult Social Care is essential if the NHS is to deliver effectively in terms of in avoiding delayed discharge and unecessary hospital admission.

  • Currently making its way through Parliament is the Policing and Crime Bill, which will make a number of changes to policing and emergency services.  During the Committee Stage Baroness Finlay of Llandaff successfully put forward an amendment in the Bill to remove the requirement for a mandatory inquest for death under Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), amending the meaning of state detention in Section 48 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.  Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England said “Baroness Finlay’s amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill is extremely welcome.  Care homes need to be a place of safety, but our members have reported uniformed police officers attending care homes under their legal duties to investigate a death of a resident making it a crime scene even when the death was expected.  This is extremely upsetting for families, care home staff and fellow residents.  Investigations into deaths under DoLS take needless time which prevents families from being able to mourn and proceed with funeral arrangements.  This does not allow for the calm and dignified death that most people and their families want”.

    MHA comments: we support Care England's view and welcome the amendment.

  • The Welsh Government has announced an year-long independent Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales, which will review evidence to identify key issues facing health and social care services in Wales now and over coming years and consider options for the way forward. 

  • The National Audit Office has reported that the financial performance of NHS commissioners, NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts worsened, with a combined deficit of £1.85bn, up significantly to reported in 2014-15 in £574m. Provider trusts’ overall deficit grew by 185% to £2.45bn, up from £859m in 2014-15. In addition, two-thirds of NHS trusts (65%) and NHS foundation trusts (66%) reported deficits in 2015-16, up from 44% of NHS trusts and 51% of NHS foundation trusts in the previous financial year. The number of clinical commissioning groups reporting cumulative deficits was 32 in 2015-16, up from 19 in both 2014-15 and 2013-14. Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England said The report raises a number of crucial issues and it is clear that the NHS and social care are not in the state that we would like them to be.  The independent sector has an important role to play and we hope that CCGs will involve their independent sector providers in the forthcoming discussions and plans.  It is worrying to note that the accounting officer for NHS England acknowledged that the effect of social care pressures is not costed into the NHS funding enveloped for the next five years.”  The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on The financial sustainability of the NHS in England.

  • The UK Statistics Authority, which oversees how the Government uses statistics, has urged the Government to be clearer and more exact over NHS funding claims. It follows a complaint by Labour and the British Medical Association over the Government’s claim that there would be a real terms funding increase of £10bn by 2021.  Ed Humpherson, the UKSA’s Director General for Regulation said "An issue that appears to have caused confusion is that while NHS England spending is rising, some other elements of the Department of Health budget are decreasing. While the Department of Health has been open when asked about the nature of the estimated real terms increases in health spending and its split between NHS England and the Department’s overall budget, the total health spending figures are much less frequently referred to by Government and may be less readily accessible."

See the Social Care section for more news on sector analysis, public perceptions of care and carers

Housing

  • The House of Commons Library has published a paper on the Committee Stage of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill. It highlights a number of new clauses that were added in relation to development and local plans, including enabling the Secretary of State to direct local planning authorities to make a joint local plan; a requirement for each local planning authority to identify the strategic priorities for the development and use of land in their areas; a requirement for local plans to be reviewed at regular intervals; enable the Secretary of State to invite a County Council to prepare a local plan where a district council had failed to do so; and enables data standards for local development schemes and documents to be set by Government.

    See the Housing section for more news on social housing and housebuilding

Pensions 

  • The Minister for Pensions Richard Harrington MPhas announced new plans to bring in a cap on early exit charges for occupational pensions, aiming to ensure that people are not unfairly penalised for accessing their savings early. Currently people can face average early exit charges of around 5% of their pension pot, when cashing in their own savings.  The cap will be set at 1% for existing occupational pensions and 0% for any new contracts. This will bring exit charges for workplace pensions in line with other personal and stakeholder pensions.

  • The National Audit Office reports that the introduction of the new state pension has been successfully managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  It notes that the introduction was ahead of schedule, implemented within budget and was with made the necessary changes to its IT systems. However, it did also find that attempts to improve people’s understanding of their state pension have had limited success so far, questioned whether the simplification of the state pension will support wider pension reforms and no clear evidence that the new state pension has encouraged people to save more for their retirement. In addition the rule changes mean some people will gain while others lose out and DWP did not do enough to contact groups likely to be adversely affected.

  • The Work and Pensions Committee has published its report for its Intergenerational Fairness inquiry, suggesting that the state pension triple-lock should be scrapped, because it would lead to state pension expenditure accounting for an ever greater share of national income, which is unfair and unsustainable.  It highlights that the millennial generation (born between 1981 and 2000) faces being the first generation in modern times to be financially worse off than its predecessors. It says that pensioners have been protected from the public spending cuts that have largely been felt by younger groups, and that universal benefits like the Winter Fuel Payment should “not be off limits” when Governments seek savings. The Committee proposes a new basis for the state pension, based on earnings and inflation, which they argue is fiscally sustainable, but fulfils the objectives of supporting pensioners who would share in the proceeds of growth and get protection against high inflation. Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee said "Great strides have been made against the scourge of pensioner poverty and the [proposed] new state pension is at a level to provide an effective minimum income and encourage personal saving. It is time for the triple lock to be shelved. The system we propose protects pensioners and allows them to share the proceeds of future good times, but at the same time is intergenerationally fair. We call on all parties to get behind it."

    MHA comments: This needs to be considered in the light recent research from Independent Age, which found that a fifth of older people aged 75 and over are living below the poverty line – this includes a quarter of all single women aged 75 and over. There is an unhelpful tendency to group all 'pensioners' as a single, homogenous group. Our view is that policy development needs to be much more nuanced to reflect the different generations living beyond 65.

    See the Finance and Pensions section for additional latest news

Other

  • Labour MP, Pat Glass has launched a new Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Private Members Bill, which says that in reviewing constituency boundaries, the latest electoral register must be used.  This follows the recent review by the Boundary Commission, which would see a reduction of MPs from 650 to 600, many of which are Labour MPs. The new Bill seeks to also legislate for the size of parliamentary constituencies.

  • Meanwhile, plans to amend the power of the House of Lords, recommended in the Strathclyde Review, have been dropped by the Government. Former House of Lords leader Lord Strathclyde proposed to remove peers' veto over laws (statutory instruments) after a series of government defeats last year. In a statement to peers, Baroness Evans, the leader of the House of Lords, said the will of elected MPs should prevail where there was a clash between the House of Commons and the House of Lords over a statutory instrument, but added "We do not believe that we need to introduce primary legislation at this time."

  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a consultation on measures to strengthen corporate governance. It is seeking views on options to strengthen worker and customer voices in the boardroom, reform executive pay and build a stronger corporate governance framework for large, privately-held companies. The consultation closes on 17 February 2017.

  • Paul Nuttall has been appointed as the new leader of UKIP.

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Ageing and wellbeing

Loneliness

  • Independent Age have published results from a survey of over 1,000 people in Great Britain, finding that more than one in three (35%) of those aged 75 and over say that feelings of loneliness are out of their control and almost one in four (23%) worry about how often they feel lonely. When asked to choose the top three triggers for loneliness, the biggest triggers among people aged 75 and over were: being reminded of someone they miss (51%), being on their own for special occasions, such as Christmas or birthdays (39%), seeing other people socialising with family/friends, or staying at home due to health issues (both at 27%).  Around one in seven (15%) older people say they don’t know what steps to take to address their loneliness. Along with the research Independent Age launched a new free advice guide called If you’re feeling lonely: How to stay connected in older age, designed to help people recognise why they might feel lonely and offers tips for simple steps they can take to reduce loneliness, showing them that feelings of loneliness need not be out of their control and need not last indefinitely.

  • The Campaign to End Loneliness has also published The Missing Million: a practical guide to identifying and talking about loneliness, aimed at commissioners, service providers, front line staff and volunteers. It aims to provide support in identifying people who experience, or are at risk of experiencing, loneliness. It also provides recommendations on how best to engage in a dialogue about loneliness, and offers examples of effective approaches to supporting older people. 

MHA comment: we recognise that loneliness is a real an significant issue for many older people. We are proud to be creating communities that care and working every day to help older people be connected in a community of their choice. Our Good Deed-cember appeal is raising money for our Live at Home schemes to continue to help brighten of older people in communities across Britain.

In brief:

  • The Office for National Statistics has published the latest life expectancy rates in the UK. It reports that life expectancy continues to rise, but the number of years spent in bad health is increasing. Life expectancy for a newborn boy increased to 79.2 in 2013-15, compared with 78.5 in 2009-11, while for newborn girls it rose from 82.5 to 82.9. Healthy life expectancy remained static for women and only increased by 0.4 years for men over the same period, meaning the number of years not spent in good health rose to 19 years for women (up 0.4) and 16.1 for men (up 0.3). The increase in the number of years people are living in bad health has consequences for both the NHS and social care system.

  • The Design Council has launched a £3.65m scheme which it hopes will improve the quality of life of older people. Starting initially in Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset, the Transform Ageing scheme is setting out with the intention of developing and delivering new solutions, which support the needs and aspirations of older people. Social entrepreneurs and health and social care leaders are being brought together for the project, which the Design Council wants to eventually roll out nationally. Design Council Executive Creative Director Clare Devine said “Transform Ageing will enable local communities to take charge of their care needs. The programme will actively engage their insight and support to identify health and social care challenges and will generate tangible, creative and lasting solutions to meet their needs in the south-west and beyond." Partners include social entrepreneur group UnLtd, South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better.

  • Standing Up 4 Sitting Down is a new national initiative by Anchor, is aiming to increase the amount of seating available to those who need it, to improve people's access to their local shops and leisure facilities. It is calling on retailers and high streets to do their bit to improve the lives of people by providing adequate seating in stores and public spaces.

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Dementia

New research

  • The Department of Health (DH) has launched a consultation to hear first-hand from people with dementia, their families and carers if the Government is making a difference in their day to day lives. The survey is aimed at:
    - anyone in England who has received a diagnosis of dementia in the last two years (between November 2014 and November 2016)
    - anyone in England who currently provides unpaid care or support to a family member, friend or neighbour who has been diagnosed with dementia in the last two years (between November 2014 and November 2016)
    The survey closes 31 January 2017. Meanwhile DH has published guidance and tips for dementia groups and networks about facilitating discussions with people with dementia and carers.

MHA comments: We would urge all our Managers to share this with people they know who fit the criteria, so that they can have their say and share their experiences.

  • The world's largest dementia research experiment, Sea Hero Quest, a nautical adventure video game about saving an old sailor's lost memories, has presented findings that indicate the ability to navigate declines throughout life. The data has been captured from 2.4 million people who downloaded the game. The game anonymously records the players sense of direction and navigational ability as they work their way through the levels. Data analysed by the University College London, suggests our sense of direction declines consistently after our teenage years. In the game players aged 19 were 74% accurate at firing the a flare back to the starting point, but accuracy fell age by age until it reached 46% at age 75. The aim of the research is to develop a way of diagnosing dementia in its earliest stages and as becoming disorientated is common amongst people with dementia, the researchers are aiming to find out more about the normal decline in the internal human compass.

  • Loneliness could be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research. Researchers used brain-imaging techniques to determine levels of amyloid (a protein associated with the disease) in the brains of a group of 79 apparently healthy people with an average age of 76. They then compared this to a test designed to find out how lonely someone is. After controlling for factors such as age, sex, genetics, depression, anxiety, socio-economic status and the participants' social networks, they concluded that people with pre-clinical Alzheimer’s were 7.5 times more likely to feel lonely compared to people who did not have any early warning signs of the disease.  While the study found evidence of a correlation between loneliness and early signs of the disease, it was unclear whether social isolation might actually be one of the reasons why Alzheimer’s develops or if it was simply one of the symptoms.

In brief:

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that dementia has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for 11.6% of all deaths registered in 2015. Ischaemic heart diseases was the second leading cause of death at 11.5%. The ONS says the change is largely due to an ageing population and as doctors have got better at diagnosing dementia and the condition is now given more weight on death certificates. The majority of dementia deaths were amongst women. 

  • Alzheimer’s Society is calling on Local Authorities (LAs) in England to break down the barriers preventing people with dementia accessing personal budgets. An Alzheimer’s Society audit of LAs processes has highlighted how many failing to make people with dementia aware of their entitlement to a personal budget. They found that less than a third of people receiving social care support for problems with memory and cognition have a personal budget. Alzheimer’s Society has produced a personal budgets guide of easy and cost-effective actions councils can take to improve the personal budgets process for people with dementia and their carers and are calling on all LAs with adult social care responsibilities to sign the Dementia-Friendly Personal Budgets Charter.

    MHA comments: Access to personal budgets for people with dementia is really important to give them as much choice and control for as long as possible over their care and support. Our Managers might find it useful to check out the guide from the Alzheimer's Society.

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Faith

  • Faith-based charities are viewed with “suspicion” and "under-appreciated" due to fears they will use their work to proselytise, according to new research What Difference a Faith Makes from New Philanthropy Capital. It reports that a lack of understanding about faith means religious charities are seen as only wanting to help those with similar beliefs. But despite negative perceptions, more than a quarter of charities in England and Wales have a religious association and contribute £16.3bn to the sector each year. The report also said faith-based charities needed to improve how they communicate their beliefs to avoid misconceptions.  Report author Rachel Wharton said "This lack of consideration at the moment means the sector is missing out on a vital opportunity to deliver better services, often to the most vulnerable... Policy makers, commissioners and other charities need to fully grasp the qualities of faith-based charities, their assets and the ways in which they work."

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Finance and pensions 

Retirement income

  • The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published new research Retirement Income Adequacy: Generation by Generation, which analyses the incomes different UK generations can expect in retirement. It concludes that automatic enrolment should deliver a real improvement in the retirement outcomes of millions of people in the UK, but there is still room for improvement. The report highlights that:

- Millennials: will be the first to experience the UK pension system as intended by the reforms of the last decade, except for those in a defined contribution scheme.

- Generation X (born early 60s to late 70s): this generation is caught in between the slow decline of defined benefit pensions and the roll-out of automatic enrolment. Many in this generation did not save into a pension during their early working lives and are now saving at a low level through automatic enrolment. Increasing pension contributions alone is unlikely to close the gap for this generation – they may need to work longer and utilise other assets, such as property, to generate a higher retirement income.

- Baby Boomers: Those who are still working and have accrued defined benefit pension entitlement, have very good retirement income prospects, but others face a comparatively poor income in retirement. Those without defined benefit may come to retirement with ten years or less of pension saving through automatic enrolment meaning they will be mostly dependent on the State Pension. For this group, working later is likely to make a real difference – providing an opportunity to increase the amount they have saved while at the same time decreasing the time they will be dependent on a retirement income. Positively, the majority of this generation has some property wealth which it may be able to use to generate an income in retirement.

  • In a related report focussed on gender and retirement income the Scottish Widows Women & Retirement Report, finds half of women (52%) are now saving adequately for their retirement compared to 60% of men. But while this maintains the record high levels achieved in 2015, the gap between men and women has widened since 2014, when 50% of women were saving adequately compared with 55% of men.  The research also suggests factors such as self-employment, parti-time working, female divorcees and age impact on women's actual saving activity and perception of their retirement income.

  • The Centre for Policy Studies has published a paper The State Pension: No Longer Fit for Purpose.  It presents analysis that suggests the State Pension is facing a 'fiscal calamity'. In 2015, the National Insurance Fund, which funds the State Pension, received £84bn in National Insurance Contributions, but paid out £92bn in benefits (including £86bn as the State Pension), requiring a top up of £4.6bn in Treasury grant.  It goes on to state that due to the diversity in UK life expectancy, a universal State Pension Age is increasingly unjust.  The paper proposes that the State Pension is replaced with a Workplace ISA and a new residency-based Senior Citizens’ Pension paid at age 80.

    MHA comments: There is some very valuable research here, which will help us to think about MHA's future customers in 20-30 years time. It gives us insight into their potential financial secturity and it's important that we use such insight to inform our longer term plans on how best to serve older people.

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Health  

Innovation

  • A new joint report from the Royal College of GPs and the British Geriatrics Society has been published, showing how GPs and geriatricians are collaborating to design and lead innovative schemes to improve the provision of integrated care for older people with frailty. Integrated care for older people with frailty: innovative approaches in practice highlights 13 case studies from across the UK, ranging from schemes to help older people remain active and independent, to those providing better services in the community, to those supporting patients in hospital.

  • Nesta has published a report entitled Realising the Value: Ten actions to put people and communities at the heart of health and wellbeing, setting out key actions on what should be done and how people need to work differently to put people and communities at the heart of health and wellbeing. It follows an 18-month programme analysing the knowledge, skills and confidence people need to play an active role in managing their own health and to work with communities and their assets. It calls for a step change in ambition, leadership and alignment, combined with sustained implementation, to move from intent to action.

Health Sector challenges

  • The King's Fund have looked at the of progress of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), through interviews with senior health leaders and report that despite criticisms of the process so far, the Government and the NHS should continue to back STPs as the best hope for delivering long-term improvement in health and social care. However following the report, there was some criticism that NHS leaders have been trying to keep the plans secret, as some STPs involve closing some A&Es or, in one case, a hospital.

  • In contrast a survey of Adult Social Care Directors across the County Councils Network, suggest that 'STPs are not a silver bullet to sustainable social care'.  The survey said that over three-quarters of respondents described themselves as not very confident that the STPs would deliver their stated aim for local services to ‘evolve and become sustainable’ by 2020. When asked what they thought was key to successful STPs, 65% said strong system leadership and 62% said sustainable financial settlement or integrated place-based budgets. However, just 58% said their local authority had been actively involved in the development of their STP. 

    MHA comments: As we said last month it is important that if STPs are truly about transformation in health and care outcomes, integration and stronger partnerships with care providers is essential. MHA has services in 33 of the STP areas, with significant provision in Cheshire and Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Coventry and Warwickshire.  We will look out for the publication of these STPs.

  • The way the NHS in England is organised is hindering its ability to meet its challenges, suggests a review by PwC - Redrawing the Health and Social Care Architecture It calls for a gradual evolution of the structures and for Health and Social Care to be brought under one department. PwC surveyed over 1,000 NHS staff and over 2,000 members of the public in England to gain the views of both those within and outside of the system. It found that 70% of NHS staff in England say they do not understand role of national bodies and that two in three say the divide between health and social care is bad for patients.  Alan Milburn, former Health Secretary and chair of the PwC Health Industries Oversight Board commented "Despite the best efforts of its leaders to make it work, the current national architecture is confused and complex. The artificial divide between health and social care makes as little sense as the division of labour between a myriad of national bodies. Organisational change is always a risk but without it, the move towards integrated local care systems will be undermined. This report sets out a long-term reform agenda towards an NHS in which the balance of power moves from national to local level where services are delivered."

  • A survey of NHS Trust leaders of chairs and chief executives in England, has revealed growing concern over a "workforce gap". 120 NHS trusts responded to the survey and only one in four of those trust leaders (27%) are confident they currently have the right staff numbers and skill mix to deliver high quality healthcare. In addition to that just one in five (22%) are confident about having the right staffing levels in six months' time. NHS Providers who conducted the survey have urged the Government to stop asking the health service to “deliver the impossible” of higher standards of care in light of funding shortages. Their plea was accompanied by a blunt warning that care for patients is already deteriorating and that even a flu outbreak could “destabilise” some hospitals this winter.

  • A new report by the Local Government Association (LGA) Helping People Look After Themselves, calls for "a new culture of care" to reduce pressures on doctors and hospitals. It highlights figures showing that 5.2 million GP consultations are for blocked noses, 40,000 for dandruff, and 20,000 for travel sickness. Minor conditions and illnesses are responsible for approximately 57 million GP consultations and 3.7 million A&E admissions every year, costing the NHS more than £2bn. The 3.7 million visits to A&E (19% of all admissions) were for self-treatable conditions such as a sprain (38%), flu (17%), colic (13%) and insect bite (13%). The LGA says GPs can play a vital role in educating the public about self-care and how they can treat themselves without visiting the doctor or manage long-term conditions by taking preventative measures to stay fit. 

In brief:

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has undertaken analysis looking at How does UK healthcare spending compare internationally? It shows the UK ranks sixth among the G7 nations when it comes to spending on healthcare. The analysis includes public and private spending and examines life expectancy in relation to healthcare spending. It also gives a breakdown of how much each nation spends on the different areas of healthcare, such as long-term care and curative/rehabilitative costs.

  • The House of Commons Library has published NHS Staff from Overseas: Statistics, which reports that 12% of NHS staff are nationals of a country other than the UK. This includes 5%, or almost 59,000, who are nationals of other EU countries. This briefing gives detail on the nationality of NHS staff by region for doctors, nurses and other categories in England. Following the Brexit vote, there has been discussion around the future status of NHS and care home staff from the EU. The House of Lords Library hsa also published a briefing paper on Leaving the EU: NHS and Social Care Workforce - summarising the issues in both sectors.

  • Junior doctors have called off the threat of future industrial action and said they will "re-engage" with the government over their new contract. The British Medical Association junior doctors' committee said the move involved ending its mandate for industrial action, meaning it would have to re-ballot members before any future industrial action could take place.

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Housing

small building imageSocial Housing

  • The Government has launched its consultation on proposals for the local system to fund supported and sheltered housing. It has also published its Supported Accommodation Evidence Review. The consultation runs until 13 February 2017 and follows the Government’s announcement in September about the future system for supported housing. A Green Paper on the detailed arrangements for the local top-up model and approach to short-term accommodation will follow in the Spring. From 2019, under the proposed new system, tenants and residents in supported and sheltered housing will be entitled to claim housing costs through the benefits system up to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) level. A top-up can then be paid by the local authority to cover any difference between the LHA rate and the cost of the scheme. The consultation covers:
    • fair access to funding, including the detailed design of the ring fence and any additional protections
    • local roles and responsibilities
    • arrangements to provide oversight and assurance
    • the appropriate balance between local flexibility and stability
    • developing a funding model for short term accommodation, including hostels and refuges.

  • The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has launched a consultation on introducing a fee-charging scheme for the regulation of private registered providers of social housing. The consultation follows a discussion paper in 2014 setting out initial proposals and the 2015 Spending Review.  The statutory consultation sets out the following anticipated fee charges:
    - an annual fee of £5 per unit for all registered providers with 1,000 or more units of social housing
    - a fixed fee of £300 for providers with fewer than 1,000 social housing units
    - a one-off fixed rate fee of £2,500 for successful new registrations with the regulator.
    The consultation is open until 9 January 2017.

MHA comments: We will be responding to these consultations as the proposals around sheltered and supported housing have potentially far-reaching implications for older people, especially those on lower incomes. The HCA consultation potentially creates an unwelcome additional bureaucracy and cost.

  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper Paying for Supported Housing, which explains the impact of the Government's policy of requiring rent reductions and also the application of Local Housing Allowance caps, on the supported housing sector.

  • The National Housing Federation have developed a proposal for a new housing offer, Buy as you Go, building on innovation from across the housing association sector and aims to provide people who are just managing with a stable and affordable route into home-ownership for families. The supporting report draws on housing associations’ insights and on modelling from Savills to set out how Buy as you Go could work and explain why flexibility and government investment are so key.

House-building

  • A new report from the CBI, suggests that if the UK is to meet the Government’s ambition to build one million new homes by 2020, a step change is needed in mind set and delivery on house-building. In No Place Like Home the group highlight that the UK’s housing shortage is not just a social issue, but an acute problem for businesses, as the lack of affordable homes hampering firms’ ability to recruit and retain talented staff and long commutes impact workers’ productivity.  Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director-General said: “The “one size fits all” approach has passed its sell-by date. As the demographic landscape changes, we must have homes in the right places that fit the needs of people who live in them, creating vibrant and attractive communities. Equally, we must see different types of players in the market, like small housebuilders, more innovation and new partnerships between business to boost our supply base. A flexible approach, underpinned by government working with business, will enable us to deliver the homes we sorely need, and which will drive productivity, boost growth and increase prosperity in every corner of the country.” The report recommends a strategic housing plan from the Department for Communities and Local Government that is integrated and joined up across Whitehall and beyond; improved release of small sites of public land and making access to finance easier, by rolling out its Home Building Fund; and greater flexibility to Housing Associations, and increase capital spending on affordable housing.

  • The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has launched is Greater Manchester Spatial Framework,  a joint plan for land allocation across Greater Manchester to provide housing and investment opportunities for sustainable growth. It aims to deliver local economic growth and ensure new homes and jobs are provided in the right places with the transport infrastructure (roads, rail, Metrolink) to support communities and manage growth sustainably.  A key consideration of the development of the framework has been to adopt a brownfield first approach to land allocation, however it will redraw a new greenbelt boundary for Greater Manchester. The consultation ends on 23 December 2016.

Older people's housing

  • Living with friends or housemates is a choice that house-builders and policymakers should make more widely available for the over 50s, according to a new study presented at the Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Social Science. Housing schemes offering this alternative approach can reduce social isolation and allow people freedom as they age. Initial findings from the University of Sussex has demonstrated that schemes such as co-housing benefit people in later life in many ways, enabling members to remain active, continue contributing to community life and socially engage into later life. Other research from Swansea University has also found that public services are too focused on encouraging older people to ‘stay put’ and age in homes which are often unsuitable for changing needs, instead of helping them plan ahead. Dr Hillcoat-Nallétamby from Swansea University's Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research said "Every person’s home is their castle, and many fear the only option for moving elsewhere in later life (if needs be) is a Victorian-style institution. It’s partly by encouraging older people to think about their housing options that we’ll stimulate property developers, landlords and local councils to be more creative and pro-active in increasing the types of housing available for later life." Her research features interviews with older people given support in moving from home to an extra-care residence. Her findings are also based on an analysis of data from the 2004 Living in Wales survey covering more than 4,000 individuals aged 50 and above. A further ESRC study Alternative Capital, Friendship and Unspoken Reciprocity: what makes it possible to live in intentional communities into later life is due to published in January. It is based on an analysis of nine communities in the South of England including Sussex and London, where individuals have chosen to live and often work together, in a shared house or on shared land such as housing co-operatives and ecovillages and known as 'intentional communities'.

MHA comments: this interesting research highlights how important it is that we help people to shape their plans for later life as we live longer. It highlights the exciting possibilities for a range of housing options for future generations of older people.

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Regulation

In brief:

  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has missed reporting targets for publishing its reports across all areas in quarter two of this year, according to a performance report at its latest Board meeting. For adult social care, 80% of reports were published within 50 days against a target of 90%, albeit an increase from 77% in quarter one. The CQC said this directorate had implemented a number of measures to improve its programme, including allowing inspection managers to validate reports locally, providing report writing training for all inspectors, and developing internal management indicators within the report writing process. Separately, no directorates were meeting the targets for registration of providers, although the CQC attributed this to a 12% increase in registration activity.

    MHA comments: the delays in meeting reporting targets for publishing CQC reports does have a direct impact on providers, by creating uncertainity about inspection outcomes. We welcome any measures to ensure the CQC get back on track to meet their performance targets.

  • The CQC have published information for people living in care homes, their family and friends clarifying their visiting rights. It also includes expectations of providers and their responsibilties to ensure people are supported to maintain important relationships whilse in a care home. It follows media stories of relatives had experienced visiting restrictions or their loved ones being forced to leave against their wishes, after raising concerns with those in charge of running care homes.

  • The Scottish Government has published new National Health and Social Care Standards for consultation. These new Standards intend to take a human-rights based approach and focus on achieving better outcomes for service users. They also intend to help providers, planners and commissioners and staff working across health and social care to identify and deliver more person-centred care and support.  The consultation runs until 22 January 2017.

    MHA comments: We are reviewing the new National Health and Social Care Standards and will feedback to the consultation.

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Social Care

Sector analysis: in the run up to the Autumn Statement, several research organisations and local government provided evidence of the crisis facing social care - summaries of these are below 

  • The Nuffield Trust, The King’s Fund and the Health Foundation have undertaken an independent assessment of the developments over the past year in Adult Social Care, since the 2015 Spending Review. They concluded that cuts and rising demand will leave adult social care facing a £1.9bn funding gap in 2017 and called on the Government to urgently address the funding gap by bringing forward increases in social care funding planned for 2019/20, through the Better Care Fund to 2017. They warned that without this, thousands more older and disabled people would be denied access to the care they need, with severe consequences for the NHS. They also added that councils maybe at risk from legal action for failing to provide the care they are obligated to support.  They further warned that the planned increase in the Department of Health's budget between 2015/16 and 2020/21 will not be enough to meet rising demand for services, maintain standards of NHS care and deliver the changes to services set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View. The briefing warns that the pressures on the NHS will peak in 2018/19 and 2019/20, when there is almost no planned growth in real terms funding and argues that the government will also need to consider additional NHS funding in future financial statements or be clear about the consequences for patient care. Richard Humphries, Assistant Director for Policy at The King's Fund, said: “Cuts to social care funding are leaving older and disabled people reliant on an increasingly threadbare local authority safety net. For many, the care they get is based not on what they need but on what they can afford and where they live.” Anita Charlesworth, Director of Rsearch and Economics at the Health Foundation, said ‘'On too many occasions over the last few years the approach to funding for the NHS and care system has been to rob Peter to pay Paul. It is absolutely clear that this is not sustainable and has undermined the drive to improve efficiency. While the pressures on the health service are very real, the case to prioritise social care funding in the Autumn Statement is compelling.” The report and supporting infographics are available here.

  • The King's Fund has also published a report on the issues and funding pressures facing County Councils in delivering adult social care. The results of a survey of county-based Directors of Adult Social Care reveals that 88% believe their budgets to be at a 'severe' or 'critical' level, with 12% reporting their current funding levels as 'manageable'. The report argues that social care pressures are most acute in county areas due to the fastest-growing older populations and the proportionately reduced funding in county authorities.

  • The Nuffield Trust has also published an anlysis of the latest data on the number of medically fit patients who were delayed from leaving hospital, finding a rise of 33% over one year. They warn that a lack of social care provision is one of the biggest causes of these delays.

  • The Family and Childcare Trust (FCT) has undertaken research that finds, four in five UK councils are struggling to provide older peoples care. They report that more than 6.4 million people aged 65+ live in areas without enough care to meet demand, especially specialist dementia care. The FCT surveyed councils across the country and found they are struggling to meet needs amid a background of growing demand, budget cuts and recruitment difficulties.

  • The House of Commons Library has published a Social Care paper, which considered the current state of the market for residential care prior to the Autumn Statement.

  • The number of councils providing meals on wheels to vulnerable older people has dropped below 50% for the first time. Research for the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) reveals just 48% of authorities provide a service compared with 66% only two years ago.  The NACC says under-investment puts older people at risk and will place unnecessary pressure on the NHS because meals services help prevent hospital admissions and extend the time residents can live at home.

  • The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has published the first in a series of papers on Total transformation of care and support: creating the five year forward view for social care. It argues that adult social care will struggle to continue to provide good services that meet rising demand without significant transformation. It uses data from Birmingham City Council, to explore the potential for scaling up some of the most promising examples of care and support services to see what their impact would be on outcomes and costs. It finds that total transformation of care and support would deliver potential improvements in outcomes for individuals, and potential savings of £6.6m to the adult social care budget, along with £1.4m to the NHS, per year, if three promising models were fully scaled up in Birmingham: 1) Shared Lives which provides family-based support for older people and people with disabilities; 2) Age UK’s Living Well scheme which involves providing low-level support to day-to-day living and utilising asset-based resources to promote empowerment and well-being; 3) Kent County Council hospital discharge project which introduced social care discharge coordinators into hospitals, using a reablement approach.

MHA comments: this articulates the clamour across the sector about the urgent need to address the crisis facing adult social care.

Public perceptions of the care sector

  • According to a new national public poll  by the Local Government Association (LGA), two-thirds (62%) of people believe a greater share of the total health budget should be spent on care for the elderly and disabled provided by councils. In the State of the Nation report, the LGA suggest the only way to deal with the significant pressures facing both adult social care and the NHS is to invest more in services that help to keep people out of hospital and to stay in their communities, which is what the vast majority of people want.  The LGA goes on to say there is also a need to raise national awareness of the importance of adult social care services as the report reveals many people underestimate the scale of the problem. Councils spend approximately 35% of their budgets on adult social care and are increasingly having to divert money away from other local services, such as bus routes, leisure centres and road repairs, to plug gaps. Yet more than three quarters of respondents to the poll think councils spend a much smaller proportion of their budgets on adult social care.  State of the Nation also includes a collection of essays from senior sector leaders and experts which sets out the scale of under-funding in adult social care and the consequences this is having on people, providers and workers and the NHS. Senior Vice Chair of the LGA, Cllr Nick Forbes said "... we are calling for a national movement to raise awareness of what social care is and why it matters. It is adult social care which provides invaluable support for the elderly, disabled and some of the most vulnerable people in society. It is that support that keeps people out of hospital and living independent, dignified lives at home and in the community and alleviates the pressure on the NHS. Councils have long-argued that it is a false economy to pump money into the NHS but leave social care so chronically under-funded. The Government must use the Autumn Statement to provide councils with the funding to ensure we have a fair care system where everybody can receive safe, high-quality care and support."

  • According to research from Independent Age, 52% of over 2,000 people surveyed believe that abuse and neglect in care homes for older people is common. Many say their opinion is based on personal experience - either knowing someone in a care home (15%), working in a care home (5%) or hearing personal experience from others (25%). The report, Shining a light on care: Helping people make better care home choices also found that:
    - 85% of adults say that they have not visited a friend or relative living in a care home in the past year.
    - Of those adults who have visited a care home in the past year, 45% believe neglect and abuse to be common.
    - 45% of adults would describe the overall quality of care in care homes as bad.
    - 22% say that, if they wanted to find a care home for a relative or friend, they would not know where to go for information, including 1 in 5 (19%) of over-65s.
    - 71% of people who believe neglect and abuse to be common cite media coverage of the care sector as a reason for this belief.

    MHA comments: This research simply reinforces the negative public perceptions of care homes. At MHA we strive to challenge and change such public perceptions, through initiatives like National Care Home Open Day and through local community networks and our volunteers.

Carers

  • A new study by the Political Studies Association Commission on Care, suggests that women are increasingly expected to fill the care gap when the state is unable to support old or sick relatives. The research reports that the current social care system is unsustainable and in crisis and that a lack of political will to solve it has perpetuated the problem. Gendered norms of caring mean that there is an assumption that women will step in to provide care and compensate for the services that the state is failing to provide. However they indicate that looking ahead the UK faces a shortage of both paid and unpaid carers, because women are more active than ever in the formal labour market and as such this will be increasingly difficult to reconcile with unpaid caring responsibilities, including for dependent children.  These pressures result in over two million unpaid carers dropping out of the labour market - creating future difficulties in returning to work, contributing to a persistent gender gap in earning and pensions. In addition they suggest, stricter migration regimes, would threaten the supply of workers in the formal care sector. "The system, as it currently stands, is failing care recipients. They often do not get what they need and feel they must be grateful for what they do get. At best the system is functioning to give people what is needed to exist and is far from providing a personalised care service focused on raising their capabilities and helping them feel cared for.  It is also a one size fits all system and does not respond to the needs of particular groups such as BAME and LGBTQI people."

  • The Carers Trust report that caring for their sick or disabled family is taking its toll on the health of the nation's older generation of carers, according to a new survey. It found that more than half of over 400 older carers surveyed are looking after their spouses and other family members, put the person they care for first at the expense of their own health. They have cancelled hospital and GP appointments and haven't taken time out to socialise or look after their own wellbeing, resulting in 87% feeling lonely and isolated. Up to 86% said they have health problems of their own, with 67% attributing their health problem to caring. 75% had given up an activity they enjoyed because of their caring role while 46% said they had given up their activity because they didn't want to leave the person they care for.  Carers Trust is calling for more support to allow carers to look after their own health while caring for their sick and disabled relative.

  • The Office for National Statistics has published analysis which looks at Changes in the value and division of unpaid care work in the UK: 2000 to 2015. In 2015, females across the age groups saw increases in the average daily amount of adult care provided per person over 8-years-old, amounting to a rise of 67% for under-30s, a rise of 27% for 30 to 49-year-olds and 21% for the 50 and over, when compared to 2000. In 2015 males who were over 50 provided an average daily adult care per person, which was approximately 15% higher than that provided by males of that age in 2000. The trend was in the opposite direction for males under 50 though whose average adult care daily provision time fell by 49% for the under-30s and by 67% for the 30 to 49s, when compared to males of similar ages in 2000.  It also reports that the average amount of time that parents devote each day to childcare fell by 5.7%, from an average of 1 hour and 33 minutes per parent in 2000 to 1 hour and 27 minutes in 2015.  In contrast, the average amount of childcare provided by people aged 60 and over and siblings increased over the same period.

  • The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on Carers. It provides information about the number of carers in the UK and the issues they face. It also explains the rights, benefits and support available to carers and Government policy on caring.

In brief:

  • A new report by the Institute for Public Care considers Transforming social care through the use of information and technology – sharing new and innovative practice. It explores current innovations and sets out a future vision for care that is enabled by the use of information and technology and considers amongst other things: enabling people to interact with care services through digital channels; promoting independence and wellbeing through the use of digital services and technology; integrating commissioning through the improved use of information and analysis; and enabling care professionals to work from any base at any time.
  • The Telegraph reports on a new Uber-style digital service that aims to provide a carer to the home of an older person within four hours has been launched. Cera allows patients or family members to join and find a home carer in their area who can step in at short notice, or who can provide a more long-term service. The online platform also allows relatives to receive updates and send messages to carers while they are in their loved one’s home. It has several hundred carers registered and has run trials in London and the home counties. The Cera carers are experienced healthcare professionals who are selected by the company, although the company is not yet regulated by the Care Quality Commission. 

  • The Guardian reports that Virgin Care has been awarded a £700m contract to run more than 200 NHS and social care services in Bath and North East Somerset, making it the first time a business will deliver a council’s social care for adults.  Local councillors voted unanimously in favour of the deal, after a vote by the local Clinical Commissioning Group agreed that the deal should go ahead. The seven-year contract begins on April 1 2017.

  • A contemporary circus company Upswing is to take its work into (Anchor) care homes for the first time as part of a participatory project. It is one of several care home residencies led by intergenerational arts specialists Magic Me, which has been developed to bring leading arts companies to a care home audience, including those with dementia.

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Third Sector

Trust and impact

  • Small and local community charities are second only to doctors on a list of the professions and organisations most trusted by UK consumers, according to research by The Open University Business School’s Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership.  The online survey of over 2,000 people also shows that consumer trust in larger charities lagged behind their smaller counterparts. 43% trust local community charities compared to 29% who trust national charities. The research highlights a clear list of attributes and characteristics a charity must have, in order to boost trust, volunteers and donations. These include:

- Belief in cause
- Having clear values
- Transparent reporting of use of donations
- Low level of expenses
- Transparent reporting of charitable work
- Ethical conduct and responsible financial management

Fundraising

  • The Office for Scottish Charity Regulator has announced that the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) will not be adopted into Scottish fundraising regulation.  They said that based on the information available and consulting with key partners, there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that the FPS would offer anything over the current legal requirements – or the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and the Mail Preference Service (MPS).  A member of the Scottish public is free to sign up to the FPS, however, it would only cover English and Welsh charities and charities that work both in England and Wales and Scotland, but whose lead regulator is the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

In Brief:

  • Former president of the polling company YouGov, Peter Kellner has become the new chair of NCVO taking over from Sir Martin Lewis. In his first speech he said "the mismatch between the reality of the voluntary sector and the wider public’s belief that in charities no one is employed, there are no charges and everyone is a volunteer busy giving stuff away. There was obviously a need to change this, but what would be the result?" He believed NCVO to have two distinct roles: the first was supporting members and providing expertise on matters such as European funding and the law; the second was holding up a mirror to society, which at the moment reflected all the "stresses, tensions, suspicions and diappointments" in communities where the sector worked.

  • Vicky Browning has been announced as new CEO of ACEVO, she joins the organisation from CharityComms, a membership network for communications professionals in UK charities, where she’s been director since 2010.

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Workforce and employment

Social Care workforce

  • A new report from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Building the future social care discusses how the sector could respond to economic and political change to develop the future social care workforce and highlighting that more care workers are needed to meet the care and support needs of the future. The report looks at three hypothetical future scenarios and how the sector might respond to the challenges and opportunities those scenarios offer in relation to recruiting, training and retaining care workers.
  • Skills for Care have published nine regional reports and infographics to give a picture of the adult social care workforce across England. The reports include data on a profile of the ageing population; the size of the adult social care workforce; an outline of recruitment and retention issues; pay rates; qualification levels; and demographic profiles of the workforce.

Apprenticeships

  • The Department of Health have announced a new nursing degree apprentice role. From September 2017, up to 1,000 NHS staff will be able to take up the training without having to pursue the traditional university route to get a nursing degree. People who complete the apprenticeship will be able to count that training towards a nursing degree.

  • Research from the Institute for Public Policy Research suggests that too many apprenticeships in England do not help teenagers start a career or progress to higher 16-18 year olds. It says there is a particular problem with level 2 apprenticeships, which are not currently well designed to meet their needs: they are often very job specific, do not include much off-the-job training, only last one year and, from next year, they will not be required to include a recognised qualification. It argues that the current system therefore falls short of the recommendations of the recent Sainsbury review of technical education. It suggests pre-apprenticeships be offered by further education colleges only, targeted at young people under the age of 18 and explicitly designed to help them move on to a level-three apprenticeship at the age of 18 or 19. The scheme would also offer employers a subsidy they could use to cover a youngster's wages.

  • The House of Commons Library has produced a summary of Apprenticeships policy development over the past year.

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Look Ahead: December and beyond

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

  • 13 December: Consultation on the future provision of social care for older people and adults with physical disabilities - Staffordshire County Council, consultation closes
  • 16 December: Local Charities Day
  • 20 December to 9 January: Parliamentary Recess
  • 23 December: Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, consultation closes
  • 26 December: Proposals for regulations and policy supporting the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, consultation closes
  • 31 December: State Pension age independent review, consultation closes
  • December: Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, findings from the review by the Law Commission published
  • December: Housing White Paper from the Department of Communities and Local Government
  • 9 January: Homes and Communities Agency consultation on introducing fees for social housing regulation, consultation closes
  • 11 January: CQC Provider Fees consultation, consultation closes
  • 13 January: National Housing Federation consultation on housing association rents, consultation closes
  • 22 January: Review of the Scottish National Health and Social Care Standards, consultation closes

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Some information sourced from DeHavilland

 
 

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