Clause 2 - Preventing needs for care and support

Care Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 9 Ionawr 2014.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Sutton and Cheam 3:00, 9 Ionawr 2014

I beg to move amendment 55, in clause 2, page 3, line 2, at end insert—

‘(d) the importance of identifying suitable living accommodation to exercise that duty’.

As has been said by the hon. Member for Leicester West in the debate on clause 1, clause 2 is the holy grail of reform in the health and social care sector for decades and decades. Whether or not prevention is the right word, it is undoubtedly an essential part of what the clause tries to deliver. We are about maintaining people’s ability to lead an ordinary and normal life and to contribute and participate in society, and about fulfilling the objectives set out in the well-being clause of the Bill.

We want to prevent and postpone anything that will lead to people withdrawing from participation in society. That is, for me, fundamentally the social purpose behind the prevention clause and why it is important that it is seen to be a mission not just of local authorities and social services, but of the whole system.

The amendment is short and—I hope others will agree—perfectly formed. It simply tries to say that when it comes to prevention, it is not sufficient simply to address issues of the responsibilities of the care and support services and of the health services; we also need to include the responsibility of housing. The contribution that housing can make to prevention was recognised by the Government in their care and support White Paper.

During the draft Bill scrutiny, the Committee considered a variety of evidence on the role that housing can play—in terms of information, advice, market shaping and prevention—and we made recommendations, some of which have been taken on board. Others were taken on board during the consideration of amendments tabled by Lord Best in the House of Lords. The Government are to be commended for listening and responding to the representations from both Houses and from organisations outside.

I welcome the fact that clause 3 will make it clear that housing is included in the definition of health-related activities; that is in the integration clause. It is important that that is there. Similarly, clause 6 will add registered social landlords as one of the organisations that need to be referred to as a potential partner for co-operation.

My amendment would include housing in clause 2 —the prevention clause—as something that local authorities should have regard to. As I said, housing is a key component in primary and secondary prevention. Safe and settled housing is a key asset, and it helps people remain independent. We need housing-related support, such as practical help, personal and household services and adaptations to avoid preventable accidents. The statistics about falls and the cost to the NHS are just parts of the reason why we need to see more attention paid to the housing contribution in the prevention  agenda. Another reason is the long-term consequences of a fall for the individual—their loss of confidence, ability to participate and well-being.

The amendment seeks to put beyond doubt the Government’s intentions on the important role of housing as a partner and player in delivering the care and support and well-being agenda.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Sutton and Cheam

Again, the hon. Gentleman is good at coming in just at the last words.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

I want to check something with the right hon. Gentleman just to be sure that I have got it correct. The majority of those who require help, by and large, probably own their own home—a large section of the community, anyway. Would his amendment address the issue of people who own their home and enable them to stay in their own home and live independently?

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Sutton and Cheam 3:15, 9 Ionawr 2014

That is a very good question. We will come back to that when we debate amendments 35 and 36 in clause 3. However, the prevention clause as drafted is intended to be a universal duty. It does not simply apply to those who squeeze through on eligibility criteria; it is intended to be a duty that applies to all who live within a local authority area. In that sense, it is the Minister who should formally confirm my understanding, which is that it would include those living in their own accommodation. I shall put that to the test with amendment 35 a little later. I look forward to the Minister’s response to the questions I have posed.

Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Llafur, Sheffield, Heeley

I wish to support the amendment. As other hon. Members have said, the clause is important and should be fundamental to the future of social care, and housing is one of the most important issues. As I said on Second Reading, the legislation should address care needs for the future, rather than looking at the patterns of care that we have had in the past. We should have an ever-decreasing proportion of elderly people needing full-time care in residential or nursing homes, and the only way to achieve that is to have our housing stock, whether it is in private or public ownership, properly geared up for it.

Part of the issue is about supported care accommodation and extra care needs—I have some great examples in my constituency—but it is also about the local authority looking at its overall needs. Does it have sufficient budgets for disabled facilities grants and for modernising existing stock? On approving accommodation to be built in the future, will it be built on the cheap, or are the standards good enough so that people will be able to have the adaptations that they might need in later life? The issue is fundamental and I agree with the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam that it needs to be in the Bill.

Photo of Jamie Reed Jamie Reed Shadow Minister (Health)

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Rosindell. As the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam said, the issues are hugely important. What he proposes is entirely consistent with what the Opposition are trying to achieve. The amendment would improve the Bill. Many of the  issues that he raised on housing, and the integration of housing functions with social care and health care, will be discussed in clause 3. I hope he will test the will of the Committee with his amendment. Should he not do so, I will test the Committee’s will on amendment 67.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Llafur, Easington

I too wish to support the amendment tabled by the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam, but I want to make a couple of points. Housing is very important and ample evidence has been provided not only to the Joint Bill Committee, but to the Health Committee. We did various studies, which I recommend. Visits were made to Cumbria and Lancashire —we have extra-care homes in County Durham—and we visited Blackburn and Carlisle. The Health Committee’s fourteenth report of Session 2010-12 was published on 8 February 2012. The reference is HC 1583-II.

The report demonstrated clearly to the Committee that housing is integral to the provision of social care. Often a person’s home can be the best place in which to give them care and support. Remaining in their home may be a better option than being forced to move to a more costly institutional setting, by which I mean a residential care home.

The Select Committee looked at some extra-care homes while considering social care in Sweden and Denmark and thought of that as a revelation, but it seems to be the way forward; the outcomes are better and people are happier being supported in that environment—but the approach is also more cost-effective.

The issue is relevant to amendments 71, 72 and 75 to clause 4, on information, because it is important that people should have adequate information about the available housing options. I have been looking back at our debates on clause 177 of the Health and Social Care Bill and it is a tad ironic that the Opposition argued then for the need to put housing expertise on health and wellbeing boards. There was a bit of a disagreement, at least initially, before the Bill was paused, about the merits of that. I am glad that the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam has seen the error of his ways.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Llafur, Sefton Central

Listening to other Members has reminded me of my experience as a councillor in the 1990s, when the Conservative Government were pushing the agenda of single-tier unitary authorities. One of the arguments presented to us was about the benefits of bringing together housing and social services. I went on to become the chairman of social services for a short time and it was certainly easier to address those needs and issues in the same directorate. The case we are concerned with is well made for single-tier authorities, whatever the merits or demerits otherwise of the case for setting up unitary authorities.

My hon. Friend the Member for Easington made the point very well about the importance of trying to keep people in their home. The right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam called it the holy grail, and he is right. Anything that can strengthen the involvement of health and social care will be welcome.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

One of the considerations with people moving home at a certain stage of life is the dramatic effect on their health. I know of people who have moved who have found the effect traumatic. Does the hon. Gentleman share my concerns?

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Llafur, Sefton Central

I completely agree. Again, going back to my parents’ experience, when my mum was rushed to hospital last year she said, “I want to go home.” That is what people want, and MPs have a duty to listen carefully and do our best to do what we are asked. I was about to end my remarks when the hon. Member for Strangford intervened, but it was an important point and I am glad he made it.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

I agree with everything that has been said, including the arguments about getting integrated, joined-up care, to which housing is self-evidently central. I also agree about the importance of housing if we are to do better at preventing ill health and the deterioration of health. The House of Lords debate and the amendments that followed from it have been valuable in reinforcing that case.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley has spoken about the role of family carers and the importance of fresh thinking about how to get a stable, decent and civilized system, and of increasing families’ ability to care for themselves and their loved ones. What she said was constructive and insightful and I completely agree with her.

Clause 2 requires local authorities to provide or arrange services that can prevent, delay or reduce both adults’ and carers’ needs for care and support. For the first time it creates a clear, legal duty on local authorities to ensure the provision of preventative services. It is across the board; it is not related to those individuals who have met the eligibility threshold; it is across the local community. The amendment specifies the importance of identifying suitable living accommodation in exercising the duty to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support. I should like to reassure my right hon. Friend that this aim is already covered in clause 2(2)(a) which requires local authorities to identify services, facilities and resources in performing this duty. Suitable and specialised accommodation would be one such service, facility or resource that could be used to prevent, delay or reduce needs for care and support.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Sutton and Cheam

The fact that the Minister has said that here is helpful. Could he give us some insight into his and his officials’ thinking on the guidance that will be issued in due course around this? It would be helpful to make that clear in the guidance.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

I am quite sure that the guidance can reinforce absolutely that principle. Clause 1 sets out a duty on local authorities to promote well-being when exercising their functions under part 1 of the Bill and that includes—

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

If I can just finish my sentence I will gladly give way. That includes their duties to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton Ceidwadwyr, Truro and Falmouth

I feared that I would not be as lucky as the hon. Member for Strangford and I might have missed my hon. Friend’s last words. Forgive me for my impatience. As someone who supported that amendment,  I am grateful for the clarification that guidance will be given. As the Minister has set an exemplary pattern for the way that the guidance will be developed, can he confirm that stakeholders will be involved in the development of that guidance from across all the different types of housing that support people with disabilities and older people?

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

I am certain that we will maintain the approach that we have taken throughout the development of this Bill, which is to be completely collaborative and to regard this as an exercise in co-production, to use the jargon, because if we can involve stakeholders, those specialists in housing and care and support, we will end up with better legislation and better guidance. I am happy to reassure my hon. Friend on that.

Clause 1(2) sets out that suitability of living accommodation is one of the matters to which well-being relates. That is critically important. Therefore there is a clear link between the duty to prevent needs for care and support and the suitability of an individual’s living accommodation. I hope that I have reassured my right hon. Friend that the Bill already makes clear the requirement for local authorities to identify suitable accommodation where that would prevent, reduce or delay the needs for care and support.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Sutton and Cheam

I just want to acknowledge the Minister’s point and thank those Members who contributed to this short debate. We will come back to the issue several times in our Committee proceedings. I was particularly struck by the comments by the hon. Member for Strangford about the traumatic impact of a forced move on an individual. That is what we need to keep in our minds when we are thinking about how a prevention clause plays out in practice. If it works well we will give people the opportunity, through good information and advice around housing options, to avoid the need for the crisis to lead to the move and all the resulting trauma. That was a well made point.

I am grateful for the Minister’s commitments on the guidance. It will be important that the way that guidance is constructed constantly refers back to that well-being duty. That is the pivot on which everything else will turn and be delivered. I was grateful for the way in which the Minister framed that. On that basis, given that the Minister has given me some comfort in this Committee, in the spirit of trying to maintain a consensual tone and noting that the shadow Minister possibly intends to press another amendment later which may allow the Committee to test it then, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed: 67, in clause 2, page 3, line 2, at end insert—

‘(d) the importance of working with health bodies in carrying out the function in subsection (c).’.—(Mr Jamie Reed.)

The Committee divided: Ayes 8, Noes 11.

Rhif adran 3 Decision Time — Clause 2 - Preventing needs for care and support

Ie: 8 MPs

Na: 11 MPs

Ie: A-Z fesul cyfenw

Na: A-Z fesul cyfenw

Question accordingly negatived.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.