An extra care housing kitemark?
The concept of a kitemark arose out of a series of meetings between leading industry players, hosted by the Department of Heath and the Housing Corporation between 2003 and 2006, to which EAC had also been invited as a representative of consumer interests.
Broad agreement had been reached by the group (initially known as the Extra Care Code of Practice Group, but later the Extra Care Industry Forum), on the value of a kitemark to signify adherence to agreed core standards. EAC was encouraged to lead an application for funding to provide the resources to help make it happen.
After initial setbacks, in late 2005 an application was made to the Housing Corporation for a programme of work to develop and raise the quality standard of extra care housing by:
- providing interested parties with a ‘knowledge resource’ of comprehensive, easily accessible information about all aspects of its design, funding, marketing and management, including the health and social care services integral to its success;
- establishing a ‘kitemarking’ scheme to signify adherence to core agreed standards, and thereby give confidence to consumers and help new providers shape products that meet the aims of extra care housing.
These objectives were retained when the Housing Corporation asked EAC to join forces with the Institute of Public Care and Peter Fletcher Associates in association with Moyra Riseborough (RRCA) to deliver an expanded work programme under the project title Raising the Stakes – Promoting extra care housing, in return for a grant award of £65,000 (see Project Overview).
The Industry Forum was reconvened on 18 December 2006 to review the grant funded work programme, and again at that meeting expressed their support for the creation of an Extra Care Housing Kitemark (see Notes of the meeting and participant list).
Developing a Kitemark
EAC and its partners in the Raising the Stakes project aim to develop proposals for a kitemarking system that will be both industry-owned and independently managed.
A key question is whether our work, and the proposals we develop, should relate to all forms of housing with care, or focus more tightly on those that meet the extra care housing requirements of the Department of Heath and Housing Corporation. Our initial approach is to sidestep this as an issue, and focus instead on a kitemarking framework concerned primarily with accurate descriptions of housing with care ‘products’ and evidence of what they provide and deliver, rather than with whether they conform to a list of specific standards.
We envisage a kitemark that will give confidence to consumers by:
- establishing a common language for describing all forms of housing with care for older people;
- requiring providers to be clear about their overall objectives and signed up to a process of measuring outcomes for customers against these
whilst at the same time:
- supporting a dynamic and innovative market.
Nevertheless, the industry will want some boundaries to the kinds of housing eligible for kitemarking, and we plan to take further soundings through this website, in meetings with individual stakeholders and at a workshop planned for 26/27th April.
A kitemark could encompass a number of different but equal accreditations for the main models of housing with care, and part of our work is to analyse the detailed information being collected through EAC’s current survey of all providers and schemes to see whether it is possible to group provision into a typology of distinct models. Providers themselves might find this helpful.
From a literature reviews we have already conducted it is clear that techniques for measuring ‘outcomes’ for people living in housing with care are still in their infancy. However we aim to encourage providers (and commissioners and independent researchers) who have developed successful tools to make these available through this site.
Final report: Raising the Stakes: Promoting Extra Care Housing (December 2007)
The Reports includes all the main outputs of the projects:
- A full survey of existing extra care housing provision in the UK,
- This dedicated extra care housing website
- Steps to Success and literature review
- The Quality of Information mark (now enshrined in the Government’s new Housing Strategy for an Ageing Population)
The Quality of Information Mark is launched
Download EAC In Focus, (December 2007) celebrating the launch of the Quality of Information Mark
At the Raising the Stakes workshop in April 2007, proposals for a Quality of Information Mark of Housing with Care (see Kitemark.ppt) received general support from the participants (see Kitemark Workshop Summary).
Test: Application Form