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Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Market Context

People have told us that they want to live as independently as possible and to feel part of a local community. Suitable housing and accommodation is a key enabler to realising this aspiration.

To increase and enable independence requires the right accommodation, with the right care and support, at the right time to house and support people at all stages of life irrespective of need and any disability or impairment they may be living with.

The suitability and stability of housing and accommodation is also a key enabler to maintaining and improving people’s health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities of health.

Essex County Council is committed to working in collaboration with the 12 District, Borough and City Housing and Planning authorities, registered providers, local Health Alliances, and developers and providers of specialist and supported accommodation to enable the development of all types and tenures of housing and accommodation that meet need, are accessible, and that enable people to live a full life, stay healthy and age well.  

Adult Social Care’s strategic aims for housing and accommodation are:

  • New homes are designed for residents to live independent and healthy lives.
  • Homes are adapted and digital technologies adopted to support residents to live independently.
  • People can access high quality specialist and supported accommodation that meets their needs and maximises their independence.

We are moving towards these ambitions but recognise that we need more robust and comprehensive data to evidence where there are gaps between supply and future demand and are in the process of developing this.

We also want to further maximise the prevention opportunities of good quality, suitable housing and accommodation in keeping people healthy and independent and are developing our strategy on this.

No impact from COVID-19 has currently been highlighted

Our current areas of focus are:

  • Commissioning forecast demand analysis to understand future need for a range of different types and tenures of specialist and supported housing and accommodation.
  • Developing a more consistent, timely and integrated approach to coordinate consultation responses on Local Plans, Planning applications, and national policy changes.
  • Working with District, Borough, and City councils and local health partnerships to make improvements to the use of Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs), including through sped-up processes.
  • Undertaking test and learn activities to further develop the potential use of Care Technology, including as part of a hybrid model of care alongside domiciliary and residential care.
  • Working to secure dedicated housing where possible for people who are ready to move out of specialist and supported accommodation into general needs housing.
  • Working with District, Borough and City Councils, housing associations and care providers to promote use of the Accommodation Design Guides and improve quality and ‘right-size’ the following markets:
  • Residential and Nursing Care.
  • Supported Living.
  • Extra Care.
  • Mental Health Supported Accommodation.
  • Shared Lives.
  • Housing Related Support (HRS).

This means shaping and supporting the market to provide the required capacity across different areas of Essex and different types of needs, such as dementia and complex needs. It will also include exploring the transitioning of some residential provision to a different model.

  • Developing our strategy around maximising the prevention opportunities of good quality, suitable housing and accommodation with support to maintain tenancies where needed.

Current market risks:

  • ECC has primarily an influencing and enabling role in the provision of specialist or general needs housing. Joint working with the 12 District, Borough and City housing and planning authorities and housing providers is essential.
  • Development of specialist accommodation in the current economic climate and without robust data on what future demand will be can be particularly challenging. This has led to a decreasing number of specialist developers and developers being more risk adverse.
  • Access to general needs housing to enable adults to move on from supported living schemes continues to be a key challenge and can impede an individual’s ability to maximise their independence as well as impeding the ability to make best use of supported living schemes. This is particularly the case for people with mental ill health.
  • Lack of access to specialist accommodation means some people aren’t living in the most appropriate setting for their needs; this includes where some people with complex learning disabilities and autism are still admitted to hospital unnecessarily or stay in hospital longer than they need to.
Last updated: 31/03/2024