A group of extra care housing commissioners, funders, providers and specialists who meet to discuss this form of housing with care for older people, as well as all related issues such as standards, good practices, definitions, promotion, etc.
A history of the industry forum
(with thanks to Paul Watson, Hanover HA)
Department of Health set up a working group of extra care housing (ECH) providers with the task of developing an ECH Code of Practice
The working group reported on the problems of regulation of ECH and of registration. There is still no full agreement on what is ECH and on what are its minimum standards
A wider group of stakeholders from the private, statutory and voluntary sectors invited to help progress the concept of a Code of Practice for extra care housing. Initially known as the Code of Practice Group but later simply The ECH Industry Forum, the Group arrived at 4 conclusions:
- Need for standard descriptive language
- Need for a set of minimum standards
- Concentrate on outcomes and their monitoring
- Create a Kitemark, self-managed and self-assessed by the industry
These conclusions raised key challenges:
- The definitions and kitemarking must be meaningful for older people and advisers;
- Any standards adopted should not constrain or restrict the development of new models of ECH; it was important that innovation continued;
- Barriers should not be constructed to deter entry into the ECH market;
- There might be a case for several levels within any kitemark including optional ‘aspirational standards’. Acknowledge different housing and health perspectives.
- If self-managed, would it be trusted?
- How to organise it and assess it?
- Not static, but reflecting the evolution of the market
- Must reflect communities of interest
- Must evolve with the industry and become owned by it
In parallel with discussions around standards and kitemarking, the Forum, linked closely to the evolving work of the DH Extra Care Housing Learning & Improvement Network (Housing LIN), began to explore other key aspects of ECH including staff skills & competencies, regulation of care services, outcome measures and the need for a comprehensive knowledge resource about ECH to support new entrants.
Forum members agreed that additional resources were needed to carry forward some of this work, and EAC was encouraged to apply for funding to lead on this – first to the Government’s Invest to Save programme, and subsequently to the Housing Corporation’s IGP grant programme.
After much negotiation and consequent delay, the Corporation finally approved a grant to EAC in July 2006 to cover part of the cost of an agreed work programme to be undertaken jointly by EAC itself, the Institute of Public Care and Peter Fletcher Associates. The work programme is now called “Raising the Stakes: Promoting extra care housing”.
In December the Forum was reconvened to:
- Discuss the HC-funded work programme and present outputs to date;
- Review the concept of a Code of Practice, in light of conclusions reached in previous meetings and the work now being done by EAC and partners;
- Explore how Forum members and other ECH stakeholders might assist in driving forward an ECH kitemark linked to minimum standards and a commitment by providers to measuring the outcomes for ECH for service users.
View notes on Industry Forum meeting of 18/12/2006
Many important points were raised, discussed and taken on board. However there remained unanimous support for the ‘Raising the Stakes’ work programme and for moving forward through it towards a kitemarking system for ECH.
- It was agreed that EAC and project partners should continue to liaise with Forum members individually, and report back regularly.
- The idea of an extended workshop session in March was welcomed.
- This website launched
- ECH survey ongoing - 325 returned questionnaires to date
- PFA/RRCA developing proposals for standard way of describing ECH, based on Quality of Life model
- Interviews underway with sample of providers to explore critical success factors
- Workshop arranged for 26/27 April 2007