Older People's Housing Advisory Group minutes: June 2016

Minutes of the Older People's Housing Strategy Monitoring and Advisory Group on 23 June 2016

Attendees and apologies

  • Moira Bayne, Housing Options Scotland
  • Julia Fitzpatrick, Horizon Housing Association
  • Ashley Campbell, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)
  • Zhan McIntyre, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • Helen Murdoch, Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association
  • Robert Thomson, Care and Repair Scotland
  • Margaret Moore, iHub
  • Lauren Bruce, COSLA
  • Glenda Watt, Scottish Older Peoples Assembly (SOPA)
  • Ronald Ritchie, Tenant Regional Networks
  • Heather Noller, Carers Trust
  • Eilidh Smith, Scottish Government
  • Ruth Whatling, Scottish Government
  • Hannah Davidson, Scottish Government
  • Anne Grove, Scottish Government
  • Angela O’Brien, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Margaret Irving, Scottish Government (Minutes)


  • Caroline Elgar - Scottish Association of Landlords
  • Alistair Shaw - ALACHO, Rhona McLeod - Trust Housing Association
  • Colleen Rowan - Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum
  • Silke Isbrand - COSLA
  • Amanda Britain - I hub
  • Lynn Leitch
  • Steve Wiseman - McCarthy and Stone
  • John Mills - Fife Council
  • Tom Berney - SOPA
  • Ian Glover - Scottish Government
  • Ciaran McDonald - Age Scotland

Items and actions

1. Welcome

Angela O’Brien welcomed new members to the group and members to introduce themselves. One additional agenda item was noted from Glenda Watt.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes of the last meeting on 2 December 2015 were agreed without amendment and will be published on the Scottish Government website.

3. Age, Home and Community – 5 Year Review Angela introduced the paper on the review Age, Home and Community Strategy emphasising that this is an early draft and we are looking for initial comments. We will be holding a number of internal and external meetings to seek views / comments from stakeholders / contributors. We also take account a number of commitments contained in the SNP manifesto such as establishing a help to buy scheme for older people and timescales for installing adaptations. We have not yet had an opportunity to take the review to our new Minister for Local Government and Housing (Kevin Stewart) but will do so when the draft is more advanced.

The draft review document still requires case studies, photos etc. but the intention is to set it out under 4 headings – Right Advice, Right Home, Right Support and Right Facilities. What do the group think about these headings? What have we missed? Is there too much focus on the past? Do we need to cover every commitment from the original strategy?

Format and Content

Advisory group members agreed that this early draft was a good start and liked the idea of the updated themes, although the group thought the refreshed strategy might work better with 3 headings rather than 4. Facilities could be incorporated under the Home heading.

It was confirmed that there would be an executive summary after the Ministerial / COSLA foreword

The refreshed strategy is trying to do two things: report on progress to date and plan for the future. It should cover: what we set out to do, what we have done and what we are now doing. Julia Fitzpatrick noted that Horizon reports have a 5 year plan which includes a stocktake every year which sets out achievements, what has changed and what is planned for the future.

We have to consider who the audience is for the document – largely stakeholders rather than individuals and their families but it should be accessible to everyone. It is important to recognise a new audience for the strategy which includes health and social care colleagues as the strategy will include references to the integration of health and social care services.

The group made the following points:

  • Improve the sequence of the sections. Begin with the Vision, then the Supporting Objectives – the 4 key pieces that form the whole strategy. Focus more on outcomes and link those to strategic objectives.

  • Increase the use of visuals and links including maps, spider diagrams.

  • An appendix should also be included and contain links to other key strategies and information on the main points relating to the integration of health and social care.

  • The group would like to see a table within the refreshed strategy setting out who is responsible for taking forward each action.

  • Keeping case studies fresh and up to date is important – it would also be helpful if the SG website had a more user-friendly search facility.

Housing and Support

The group made the following comments:

  • The refreshed strategy should refer to the Place Standard e.g. in relation to the environment, surrounding green space, access to public transport, design and type of housing etc. Anne Grove advised that the independent Planning Review recently published its report (May 2016) which focused on six themes (including housing delivery). Ministers have not yet commented on the report and its recommendations.

  • There is now considerable amount of debate at UK level about the lack of housing for older people and builders not building the type of property required for this group. (HAPPI3 report Positive Ideas – Making Retirement Living a Positive Choice - published 8 June).

  • There is plenty of current evidence which demonstrates that many older people choose to stay in their existing potentially unsuitable home rather than move to a property which may be smaller (and potentially easier to heat and maintain). Choice is often restricted with very few single story houses as builders can generate higher levels of profit from other types of housing. There is also a lot of evidence that shows that the location of a property is of great importance to older people with many preferring to continue to live in unsuitable accommodation rather than move out of an area where their existing informal support network is.

  • Julia mentioned that Moray council are consulting on increasing accessible housing and proactively looking at bungalows as an option.

  • Ronald Ritchie noted that South Ayrshire Council are building one bedroomed homes which are able to split into two rooms using partitioning and are already set up with windows and plug sockets in the right places.

  • Lift access is provided for most new flatted developments but can be expensive to maintain and may incur high service charges which can be a pull on older people’s incomes. Factoring costs or £800 a year are not unusual.

  • In an ideal world the group agreed it would be sensible to encourage people in their 50’s to start to consider their long term housing arrangements, although these days many people of that age are balancing work, children living at home and elderly parents and are not free to make decisions about longer term housing at that point.

  • The group felt that there is a need to change the existing culture and to encourage people to think about housing during pre-retirement. One of the commitments in the SNP manifesto was to introduce housing health checks to ensure that social rented tenants are made aware of all of their housing options. People want choice and may consider renting as they get older as this takes away the responsibility of looking after a property. Often homeowners have to consider moving from owner occupier to find a suitable home. Good quality social housing can be a good option and Moira Bayne commented on a recent case for her organisation where a 90 year old, a home owner all of her life, was now living in social housing which removed so much worry about having to look after her house. But it was recognised that many older people who live in their own homes who would not appreciate the move to communal living.

  • Helen noted that many housing associations are more than happy to include homeowners and private renters in their non-housing activities which can help reduce social isolation.


Margaret Moore confirmed that most older people live in their own homes and this group is the most likely to be living with undiagnosed dementia. Living with dementia was not a major feature of the original strategy but will be included in the refresh along with the digital inclusion and technology enabled care for those with dementia.


It was noted that people living in social rented housing are increasingly likely to have digital access provided by their landlord. Difficulties with technology faced by people living rural areas were highlighted. Ronald also mentioned that the trend of replacing wardens with technology was often not welcomed by tenants.

Rural Issues

The group felt it was important to consider the additional challenges facing older people living in rural areas.

Existing commitments

Zhan McIntyre asked if we still intended to update the table of commitments. For the time being this has been overtaken by the review but we do still intend to update this and will do so shortly.


A final draft will be brought to the December meeting of the advisory group. Lauren Bruce commented that COSLA’s Community and Wellbeing Executive Group meet on 8 December and then not again until March 2017.

Further Comments

Members were asked to send any comments/suggestions to Margaret Irving by Friday 22 July 2016.

4. Adapting for Change

Margaret Moore provided an update. The test sites held a further learning event at the end of May to share good practice and challenges. Borders have finished their evaluation and Margaret will send a link to this. Aberdeen is working with local NHS colleagues and Lochaber now have a housing occupational therapist working directly as part of the service. The work of adapting for change will link to the manifesto commitment on installing adaptations. Work has started to commission an independent evaluation of the test sites with the final evaluation report expected early in 2017.

5. Help to Adapt

Julia provided an update to say that the areas covered by the pilot would be extended to include 5 additional areas: Mid Lothian, Clackmannanshire, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and one other area which is currently under discussion with the local authority. Link is refreshing their marketing strategy for Help to Adapt. The next newsletter should be out at the end of July.

6. i-Hub update

Margaret Moore provided an update which in addition to adapting for change covered: housing and Technology Enabled Care, delayed discharge, a project with Deep end GP’s in Glasgow which involves working with housing associations to help people who hoard medicines. The Life Changes Trust is funding 3 Care and Repair projects to undertake work on dementia and housing. CIH also recently commissioned work on housing and dementia to produce a toolkit for frontline staff. Life Changes Trust is also funding a housing and dementia group to carry out a strategic overview of resources. Ronald commented that Tesco in Lockerbie was providing training for staff to recognise the signs of dementia.

Health and Social Care Integration continues with housing sector being represented on strategic planning groups and contributing to the housing contribution statement. Next phase is looking at localities, some of which are not very advanced. Information will be posted on the i-hub web page.

7. Health and Social Care Integration update

Eilidh Smith provided and update on health and social care integration and advised that with integration being live from April 2016 that the 31 health and social care partnerships are now fully operational. The Scottish Government will continue to support partnerships with shifting the balance of care from the acute sector to the community, ensuring those who use services get the right care and support whatever their needs. We are also supporting Partnerships to ensure the delivery of efficient, integrated services that are commissioned in response to the needs and choices of people and communities, based on real local understanding and flexibility

There are also various manifesto commitments made in regards to adult social care policy which effects many older people in Scotland. These include: protecting free personal and nursing care for the elderly, making charging for social are services fairer and enabling local authorities to pay the Living Wage to care workers supporting vulnerable adult. There is also work which has been agreed and is currently being taken forward to deliver change in the adult social care sector which includes a reform of the National Care Home Contract and a project looking at delivering change in the care at home sector, in particular workforce and models of care. Eilidh will circulate details of the care at home project. Ronald highlighted the problems with consistency of care due to many people leaving this area of work and this needs to be recognised so that there is more continuity for older people.

8. Welfare Update

Details to be circulated after the meeting.

9. Any other business

Glenda Watt had asked for a discussion on factoring arrangements under any other business as she was concerned that some are really not value for money and people are paying large sums of money. Margaret Irving to provide contact details of SG property factor team.

10. Date of next meeting

Next meeting takes place in November/December. We will circulate possible dates.

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