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Ministers call for views on housing adaptations

Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland and Health Minister, Edwin Poots have launched a full public consultation on the Inter-Departmental Review of Housing Adaptations Services.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The consultation which runs until 15 May 2013 includes recommendations on how the Departments, agencies and others can work better together, better utilize resources, and improve on what is already a good service.

Minister McCausland said: “Housing adaptations help facilitate people with disabilities to remain at home and enjoy their much cherished and valued independence. The NI Executive is committed to providing these important services and I would urge people to make their views known on these recommendations.

“This joint consultation is a prime example of Government departments working together to further improve key services for the people of Northern Ireland. It is vitally important that this review is well informed by the views of those who need these services for themselves, a relative or loved one now, or may in the future."

Minister Poots added: “This review is an example of the benefit gained of Minister McCausland and I working together to deliver better services for people who wish to stay in their home.

“The provision of housing adaptations, and associated community equipment, costs in the region of £43million annually. It is our aim to make sure that everyone who needs help to remain at home can receive it.”

Due to a range of demographic, social, clinical and technological factors, future demand on health, social care and housing services in Northern Ireland will significantly increase. As a result, the need for adaptations will continue to rise.

The consultation proposals include:

  • Establishing a register of specially-built or adapted socially rented homes.
  • Improved representation and engagement of disabled people in decision-making structures.
  • Exploring the potential for a Housing Options Service pilot to help older people make choices about their housing.
  • A dedicated Occupational Therapist in each Health and Social Care Trust to provide a point of reference and expertise on housing for disabled people.
  • Greater use of recycled equipment and pre-fabricated re-locatable extensions (pods).

Notes to editors:

  1. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) will co-ordinate the consultation on behalf of the Department for Social Development and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
  2. The consultation document can be downloaded from the NIHE website and responses will be accepted via email to Housing.Adaptations.Unit@nihe.gov.uk or by post to:

    Housing Adaptations Consultation
    Maureen Mawhinney
    Housing Policy
    Northern Ireland Housing Executive
    The Housing Centre
    2 Adelaide St
    Belfast
    BT2 8PB
    Tel: 028 9031 8237
  3. It was considered necessary to review the current system of approval, resources and delivery of housing adaptations in Northern Ireland on a cross tenure basis to ensure:

    - value for money was being achieved for the public funding spent on adaptations; and
    - resources and delivery were achieving equality of provision across Health and Social Care Trusts and housing providers.
  4. The review had a central focus on processes that directly affect the lives of service users. It considered:

    - Existing published evidence to put the review into context;
     The key legislative and policy influences on housing adaptations services considering departmental/agency interfaces;
    - The impact of housing adaptations investment on the health and well being of service users and how these can lead to savings elsewhere;
    - The current and likely future demand for the housing adaptations service ;
    - Funding models in other parts of the UK;
    - The use of recyclable resources;
    - Governance arrangements and current performance in assessment and delivery;
    - Inter-agency co-ordination of complex case work; and
    - The range of options/solutions which can be utilised to meet assessed needs.
  5. The process was taken forward by a range of groups comprising representatives from the Department for Social Development (DSD), the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), Health and Social Care (HSC) Boards and Trusts, Public Health Agency, service users and the Housing Association movement. A Housing Adaptations Liaison Manager provided project co-ordination and linked the various strands of the review.
  6. The Inter-Departmental Review of Housing Adaptations Services, together with the DHSSPS Physical and Sensory Disability Strategy 2012-2015, will make a significant contribution to the Executive’s forthcoming cross-departmental Disability Strategy to improve the lives of disabled people.
  7. Further reform and modernization of service provision is underway, including health and social care reform, as outlined in Transforming Your Care - Vision to Action - the consultation on this document closed on 15 January 2013. In addition, the consultation on Who Cares? The Future of Adult Care and Support in Northern Ireland is underway as well as Reviewing Support for Repair and Improvement in the Private Housing Sector.
  8. Following the consultation on the Interdepartmental Review of Housing Adaptations, responses will be analysed and the final document will also be updated to take account of policy and strategic changes emerging from other linked consultations and strategies.
  9. Media enquiries to DSD Information Office on 028 9082 9454. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.