~ 'It was the best of times; it was the worst of
times...' - A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens ~
Retained council housing providers are caught
between the best of times in terms of access to key decision makers
on Health & Wellbeing
Boards and Directors of Public Health; and the worst of times
given the rising demand, and need, for affordable housing and
housing related support, at a time of unprecedented financial
constraint on the commissioning and delivery of public
The impact of welfare reform and low wages are exacerbating the
impact of reductions in service provision across local authority
areas. The sad truth is that things are likely to get worse before
they get better.
We are faced with an ageing population with higher levels of
health, housing and social care needs. Improved life expectancy is
too often lamented rather than celebrated with the challenge it
poses for the provision of support, health and care services.
Social isolation and increased incidence of dementia are
acknowledged as the most pressing needs of our ageing population -
both issues that housing providers can, and do, help to
The current emphasis on funding crisis and acute needs is
resulting in increasing levels of lower level unmet need. This will
leave a legacy of emerging high cost unmet need across all
statutory agencies unless a smarter, co-ordinated and more
efficient reconfiguration of services and resources is actioned
Given this rather grim scenario how can we make the best use of
housing and housing related support services; improve recognition
of the key health impact of access to an affordable home, with
support where needed, that is fit for purpose; and get best value,
and improved outcomes, from investment across housing, health and
STAGE 1 - Evaluate your
contribution to the health, care and wellbeing of the local
- As housing providers you know that the work you do is essential
for the health and wellbeing of people. But have you quantified
- Can you present your contribution to your local partners in
language that they will understand and accept?
- Have you measured your outcomes against health, public health
and social care objectives and targets?
- Do you have figures that demonstrate the impact and outcomes of
your services against health and social care outcomes?
- Can you show the cost benefits of housing and housing related
support investment to your partners?
STAGE 2 - Develop a local Housing for Health &
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further
The government set out its intention to strengthen the role of
local government in local health services in its White Paper, Equity and Excellence:
Liberating the NHS (Department of Health, 2010). Statutory
health and wellbeing boards would be established across the country
to encourage local authorities to take a more strategic approach to
providing integrated health and local government services. The
Health and Social Care Act 2012 is the legislation that governs the
new health landscape.
All Health & Wellbeing Boards will be in place by April 2013
bringing together those involved across the NHS, public health,
adult social care and children's services, as well as elected
representatives and representatives from HealthWatch, to jointly
plan how they can best meet local health and social care
The Care & Support Bill
2012 will have significant implications for joint working
between social care and housing that CIH have sought to have
extended to health. It also sets out the arrangements for Adult
Domini Gunn is Director of Health & Wellbeing at the
Chartered Institute of Housing.