Older People's Housing Advisory Group minutes: February 2017

Minutes of the Older People's Housing Strategy Monitoring and Advisory Group on 28 February 2017.

Attendees and apologies

  • Moira Bayne, Housing Options Scotland
  • Lynn Leitch, Fife Council
  • Greig Henderson, Fife Council
  • Glenda Watt, SOPA
  • Robert Thomson, Care and Repair Scotland
  • Jim Eadie, Age Scotland
  • Heather Noller, Carers Trust
  • Jeremy Hewer, SFHA
  • Amanda Britain, iHub
  • Keith Geddes, McCarthy & Stone
  • Ronald Ritchie, Tenant Representative
  • Helen Murdoch, Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association
  • Ian Glover – Scottish Government
  • Ruth Watling, Scottish Government
  • David Fotheringham, Scottish Government
  • Angela O’Brien, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Margaret Irving, Scottish Government (Minutes)


Apologies were received from:

  • Margaret Moore - ihub
  • Julia Fitzpatrick - Horizon Housing Association
  • John Wood - COSLA
  • Anne Grove - SG
  • Anne-Marie Thomson - SG
  • Zhan McIntyre – SFHA
  • Marian Reid - CIH
  • Hannah Davidson - Scottish Government

Items and actions

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

Apologies were received from: Margaret Moore - ihub, Julia Fitzpatrick - Horizon Housing Association, John Wood - COSLA, Anne Grove - SG, Anne-Marie Thomson - SG, Zhan McIntyre – SFHA. Marian Reid - CIH, Hannah Davidson - Scottish Government

Angela welcomed new members to the group and asked everyone to introduce themselves. There were no additional items identified for the Agenda.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes of the last meeting on 14 December 2016 were agreed subject to an amendment from Helen Murdoch and will be published on the Scottish Government website.

3. Age, Home and Community – 5 Year Review Angela explained that following our meeting with the Minster he indicated he was broadly content with the strategy and its direction. He was keen to know how the strategy would deliver the outcomes identified. Once the document had been updated with comments from the meeting today, the strategy would be sent to the Minister and special advisors before being sent to COSLA to be considered at their meeting on 17 March. Given the local elections in early May, it is likely that publication will be shortly afterwards.

Comments from the group:

  • The Strategy has good qualitative outcomes but as a group we have to make sure these are SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely) – Angela indicated that the strategy would have a delivery plan similar to the previous one which would set out how we will achieve the outcomes.
  • Would be useful to see a reference to the Christie report as one of the changes since 2011.
  • Good to see that there is still energy to review this strategy when so many lose impetus and don’t reach full term.
  • The i-hub delivery of Place, Home and Housing portfolio will be reviewed in July/August and there will be opportunity for stakeholders to help shape the agenda. Members commented that it would be useful if i-hub could keep track of IJB progress on the rolling out of good practice in terms of strategic planning and progress on locality planning.
  • It should be recognised that although many homes can be adapted others can’t. Angela confirmed that an independent evaluation into the Adapting for Change pilot was underway and will hopefully be published later in the spring. The evaluation will identify areas of good practice within the pilot areas and consider continuing challenges such as creating a single funding pot.
  • It would be good to have some assessment of the demand for adaptations. We have a knowledge of the pattern of spend, particularly from RSLs but most older people live in the owner occupier sector and there is less availability of reliable and consistent information. Have to make sure that we are spending resources in the right place. With increasing number of older people and the policy of people continuing to live in their own home means recognising that adaptations have wider benefits. Post Meeting Note: the iHUB are undertaking a piece of work on assessing demand for adaptations.
  • Should recognise that there are other options so rather than adapt it might be more sensible longer term to move to another home which specifically meets the individual’s needs. Older people who need help also require the support and resilience of the community as well as suitable housing.
  • The offer of housing health checks for tenants of social landlords is a manifesto commitment and already exists in some housing associations but could become more widely available. This allows tenants to consider, plan and make decisions about their housing needs in advance.
  • Include more information on the current housing and dementia projects.
  • Factoring was raised as a particular concern for many older people. Action Point: Margaret to send further information to SOPA.
  • Concern was expressed over the future of supported housing and housing support services given the UK plans to introduce a cap to Local Housing Allowance and devolving funding for supported accommodation. Helen commented that 68% of Hanover’s properties would be affected. Hanover has written to Scottish Government asking for long and short term strategies to deal with the changes although they recognise that the UK government need to finalise their own plans first. ALACHO has asked for an assessment of SHIPs to see future proposals exist for supported accommodation SHIPs are moving from bi-annual to annual so will hopefully provide better information.
  • Recognise that what we put into the strategy could become out of date quickly so make sure that the delivery plan takes account of changing environment as far as possible.
  • Fuel poverty is mentioned in the strategy along with a case study. An independent group are reviewing fuel poverty definitions and the most up to date position will be included in the strategy. Important to recognise link between fuel poverty and health. Lot of work has been done in social rented sector. The group felt that more work needs to be done the private sector. Margaret to circulate details of Care and Repair’s involvement in the HEEPS energy project.
  • Age Scotland, Housing Options Scotland and Care and Repair are all working with the Energy Savings Trust to join up services and make sure older people get help with energy savings measures as well as income maximisation and other advice.
  • Raise awareness of digital inclusion for homeowners as well as RSL tenants. Care and Repair are working on a project for older people. Need to promote digital inclusion if we are to make full use of telecare in future.
  • Concern over where people can get help with digital issues, particularly as reductions in funding are resulting in the closure of libraries which is a common place for older people to seek help.
  • Final comments included making sure we connect with the disability action plan, include mention of primary care under locality planning and consider equality issues, particularly in relation to the images used in the strategy.

4. Any other business Angela explained that Hannah Davidson (SG Analytical Services) had asked if the group had any comments on the questions contained in the Scottish Household Survey. SG is in the process of reviewing and updating the questions and it would be useful to have views from the group. Ruth was keen to know if members use any of the data from the survey, if so does it meet their needs? Amanda said that it would be good to have a question which asked if the house was fit/suitable for use. The questions do not provide the right information to inform strategic planning. She asked if it were possible to have one-off boost questions. Ruth said it was not often done but could ask. Moira said that she had been at a meeting about SHS and they mentioned follow up surveys rather than adding any more to the initial questionnaire as it was already very long. Margaret to send information about SHS and anyone with comments to send an email to Margaret to pass on.

5. Date of next meeting

Next meeting will take place in May/June. We will circulate possible dates.

Housing and Independent Living February 2017

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