Home Adaptations: New report reveals local innovation and good practice

Adapting for Ageing, published by the Centre for Ageing Better, highlights local innovation and good practice in delivery of home adaptations for older people by pioneers across England.

The report, researched and written by Care & Repair England, describes a range of innovative approaches to enable councils, commissioners, home improvement agencies and social housing providers to learn from the good practice it has uncovered. This ranges from proactively raising awareness of adaptations and fast track initiatives to linking adaptation installation with vital home repairs and handyperson help.

It describes what a ‘good’ service looks like from the perspective of older people, providing a breakdown of key factors against which local areas can review their own services.

By delivering home adaptations in the best ways possible councils can enable older people to keep living safely and well in their own homes for longer, reducing pressure on health and care services, as well as improving older people’s lives.  [October 2018]

Small but Significant: The impact and cost benefits of handyperson services

Small But Significant examines the impacts and cost benefits of ‘handyperson services’ –low cost schemes which carry out small repairs and minor adaptations for older people, primarily delivered by not for profit Care and Repair and other home improvement agencies. The report is relevant to policy makers, service planners, commissioners and providers, examining:


  • Strategic considerations, driving forces and current evidence of impacts in relation to handyperson services
  • In depth evaluation of the example of Preston Care and Repair handyperson service, including analysis of outputs, outcomes and volunteer involvement
  • Cost benefits, Return on Investment, and wider impacts, particularly utilising evidence about falls prevention

Full report available here

Link to short summary brochure here  [July 2018]

 Integration in Action: Evaluation of Age UK Warwickshire’s Housing Options Service

This evaluation report about provision of impartial information and advice about housing, care and related finance in later life, provides analysis of the benefits, including the cost benefits, of the service delivered to older people by Age UK Warwickshire.

The initiative is of particular relevance due to its activity at the interface of health, housing and care and the ways that the service operated as part of a pro-active GP Care Navigators initiative. This Care Navigators scheme, funded by CCGs, pro-actively contacted and visited all people over 75 yrs, particularly focussing on those with multiple long term health conditions/with indicators of high health need.

The housing options additional service was made possible through the EAC FirstStop national programme and the evaluation demonstrates the critical importance of including housing help as part of a holistic response, noting in particular the £8 payback for every £1 spent.

Full report available here  [May 2017]

Developing integrated, impartial information and advice about housing and related care and finance – A guide for commissioners

Care & Repair England and EAC have recently published a guide about commissioning information and advice services on housing and care options and related financial advice. The guide is based on the experience of EAC FirstStop working with local FirstStop partners. It offers commissioners model clauses which can be used in specifications describing services providing housing and related care and finance advice for people in later life. It includes a number of options to enable commissioners to make use of clauses and/or sections which are relevant to local circumstances    [May 2016]

Off the Radar: Housing disrepair & health impact in later life

  • 1.2 million of households 65 years or over live in a non-decent home – 79% are owner occupiers
  • Poor housing costs the NHS £1.4 billion pa

The report was officially launched at the Care & Repair England 30th Anniversary Reception in the House of Lords on 3rd March.

The report sets out the national picture with regard to the scale of poor housing conditions amongst older people, the concentration of poor housing in the owner occupied sector and the resulting impact on the health and wellbeing of an ageing population.

The Building Research Establishment Trust very generously carried out extensive data analysis for us and some of the figures about ageing, disrepair and tenure are not currently available elsewhere.  Click here to download the report   [March 2016]


Practical and valuable’ FirstStop housing and care options advice services support well-being and deliver value for money

‘Making the Case’ sets out how local integrated FirstStop housing and care information and advice services help to deliver on care and health outcomes, improve the well – being of older people and make savings to the public purse.

The report is the result of an independent evaluation using data from DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government) funded local housing and care options advice services and interviews in four local areas with service users, key local stakeholders and staff.

It identified a saving of £11.5 million to health and care services from an investment of less than £500,000 by DCLG to 16 local FirstStop services in 2015 – 16. This was due to the avoidance of falls, preventing unplanned hospital admissions and GP appointments. Local FirstStop services also identify and secure aids, adaptations and improved heating and, where appropriate, alternative housing options to support successful hospital discharge for people with complex health conditions.

Summary report can be viewed here  [March 2015]

Housing & Ageing Summit Report

This summit report from the Housing and Ageing Alliance click here has been sent to the Housing Minister, Shadow Minister, MPs and other policy makers following the general election.

The result of a summit in the Spring, it sets out what leading figures from the housing and ageing sectors agreed were the actions required to address the critical issue of housing for an ageing population. It is hoped the report will influence thinking as policies unfold [May 2015]

Making the case – for integrated, impartial information and advice about housing, care and related finance for older people

The delivery of independent information and advice for older people which brings together housing and care options and related financial advice is the focus of  Making the Case, a new report published this week by the leading national organisations concerned with the provision of such services. The report sets out how integrated housing and care information and advice services enable local authorities to meet their new duties under the Care Act and includes model clauses to assist with service commissioning. Endorsed by ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services), it will be particularly useful for the planners, commissioners and providers of care, health or housing services for older people. Making the Case also shows how integrated information and advice provision meets specific NHS, Public Health and Social Care Outcomes Framework measures. It highlights not only the cost benefits but as importantly, the benefits to older people themselves. The full report can be downloaded  here and a short summary report is also available here. The report is a joint publication from Age UK, C&RE, EAC, Foundations and Independent Age, and has been endorsed by the ADASS Housing Policy Network. [March 2015]

Home Adaptations for Disabled People – A detailed guide to related legislation, guidance and good practice

This ‘Good Practice Guide’ aims to provide authorities and those charged with service planning and provision with clear and comprehensive information about the legal position concerning home adaptations and specifically Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) alongside examples and ideas for service delivery. The Guide was originally drafted by the Housing Consultancy Partnership as an update to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) earlier Guidance to DFG delivery. The government’s strategy Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England, published Nov 2011, stated that it supported industry led good practice and had invited the Home Adaptations Consortium to take the lead in publishing a good practice report. The original draft was subsequently edited and revised by the members of the Consortium during 2012 and presented to DCLG. The Home Adaptations Consortium is now making the Guide publicly available as it is concerned at the current lack of definitive information about law and practice for practitioners and disabled people. Download Home Adaptations for Disabled People – A detailed guide to related legislation, guidance and good practice here [October 2013]

More than bricks and mortar

Care & Repair England has published a brochure summarising the views of older people about their homes. More than bricks and mortar challenges decision makers to keep sight of the centrality of home in the current debates about health, social care and housing. More than bricks and mortar shows that suitably located, comfortable homes, well maintained and free from cold provides the foundation for older people to live active lives, being part of the community and involved with family and friends. Based on the views gathered from older people at events and meetings the brochure sets out an agenda for action including: –

  • independent, impartial advice on options
  • practical services and affordable warmth
  • better joining up of health, social care and housing
  • good planning and future proofing
  • greater involvement of older people in local planning and decision making
  • a spectrum of housing options from fast affordable repairs and adaptations to existing housing to new housing designed with older people’s needs in mind

To view More than bricks and mortar click here [May 2013]

The critical role of housing in hospital discharge

Greater integration of health, social care and housing is high on the policy agenda, but the transition from good idea to practical reality is a challenge. Through its ‘If only I had known..’ programme Care & Repair England has been working with local agencies and partners to pilot ways of integrating housing information and help within hospitals. Two major new reports about this work are now available which will be of interest and practical use to the planners, commissioners and providers of services for older people. Click here for: If only I had known…Integration of housing help into a hospital setting (2012) This report provides information about policy drivers which support the integration of housing help into a hospital setting will illustrative practice examples and cost benefit analysis of individual cases where housing improvements have saved health and care costs Click here for: If Only I had known……..An evaluation of the local hospital linked pilot projects (2012). 
This report provides evidence and information about local pilot projects which have been pioneering the integration of housing help into a hospital setting. Click here for Summary Brochure about If only I had known [March 2012]

A Perfect Storm
: An ageing population, low income home ownership, and decay of older housing

This report analyses key housing stock condition, demographic and tenure data alongside main housing policy responses to date. It considers the emerging policy and practice issues that are arising as a result of this increasing older population, large scale growth in low income owner occupation and the significant reduction in state help with the cost of private sector housing repair. click here for full report please note this report is available as a download only. [November 2010]

Living Well in the South East-planning homes and services for our lifetime

Conference report on behalf of SERFA (South East Regional Forum on Ageing) with important “key messages” for people involved in housing or housing related services. click here for full report 16 pages. Click here for summary 3 pages. [May 2010]

Time to Adapt

Home adaptations for older people: The increase in need and future of state provision. This report sets out the key policy and practice issues that are arising as a consequence of an increasing older population, rising disability levels, the growth in owner occupation (particularly amongst lower income groups) and the availability of statutory help with home adaptations. It analyses key demographic, health, disability and housing trends and estimates possible future need for adaptations and related financial help. Emerging practice and policy issues are discussed and the challenge ahead set out. Click here for Time to Adapt please note this report is available as a download only. [September 2009]

“A Housing Manifesto: Key messages from older people”

Care & Repair England has asked older people across the country what is important to them about housing in older age. The leaflet summarising older people’s key messages to decision makers has now been published, click here [September 2009]

Healthy Homes, Healthier Lives Programme Evaluation

Care & Repair England has published the evaluation of its ‘Healthy Homes, Healthier Lives’ programme. Click here for report. [2008]

Living on the Edge

A new report from Care & Repair England about older people with moderate learning disabilities is now available here. A summary leaflet about the programme is available here [June 2008]


The Missing Link: Helping older people with small home repairs and adaptations

This leaflet aims to promote the value of handyperson services and calls for government backing for services, making them part of the mainstream of provision for older people. Click here for a copy. [September 2007]

Looking Back, Looking Forward: 20 Years of Care & Repair England 1986 – 2006

Care & Repair England’s Annual Review 2006, is available here [November 2006]

‘Small things matter: The key role of handyperson services’

This report examines the current provision of services being provided by the voluntary and community sector in England today. The report aims to enable service planners, commissioners and providers to better understand:

  • the main driving forces and strategic considerations in relation to provision of handyperson services
  • the range of services currently in operation and main characteristics
  • key elements to consider when planning, commissioning and delivering handyperson services

The report is downloadable in pdf format here [March 2006]

‘Bridging the Gaps’

Care & Repair England’s Annual Review 2005, is available here. [September 2005]

Housing for an Ageing Population: An Agenda for Action

This succinct brochure sets out some of the key implications of an ageing population for housing provision, highlighting practical steps that need to be taken now. Copies are available from or downloadable in pdf format here [June 2005]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Summaries of the Evaluation of ‘Housing Options Services’ have been published. The findings, conclusions and recommendations are based on data collected from local pilot projects, interviews with service users, housing options workers, service providers, commissioners and planners undertaken with Sheffield Hallam University. See the following documents, which can be downloaded free of charge: Summary brochure, Social Rented Sector Issues, BME Elders Summary, Rural Issues Summary, Sheffield Hallam University Evaluation Report [February 2005]

‘A Catalyst for Change’

Care & Repair England’s Annual Review 2004 is available here [Sept. 2004]

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

A new report on including older people in regeneration has been published by Care & Repair England, in partnership with Age Concern England, Better Government for Older People and the Beth Johnson Foundation. The report updates understanding of how older people benefit from and are involved in regeneration and makes recommendations for the future. The report can be viewed in pdf format here [May 2004]

‘Connecting housing, health and social care’

Care & Repair England’s Annual Review 2003 is available here. [September 2003]

Having Our Say: A Housing Action Kit for Older People

The aim of this publication is to enable pensioners action groups, senior forums and similar organisations more effectively influence local housing planning and provision for older people. Pdf available here or order from Nottingham head office. [July 2003]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This report examines the provision of local housing options advice and information services. Available in pdf format Should & Stay or Should I Go  [April 2003]

Healthier Homes, Healthier Lives

This report details housing related initiatives and services which bring about health improvement, particularly those being developed by home improvement agencies. The report can be downloaded in pdf format here [November 2002]

‘Ideas into Action’

Care & Repair England’s Annual Review 2002 is available here or copies are available from the Nottingham office. [September 2002]

Housing and Older People: Time for fresh thinking and new ideas,

This short summary brochure can be downloaded here [July 2002]

On the Mend: Hospital Discharge and click here for full report

This report looks at the range of services broadly referred to as ‘hospital discharge’ or ‘home from hospital’ schemes and examines the policy framework in which these services are expanding and developing. It profiles in detail those services which have a particular emphasis on ensuring that the homes of people leaving hospital are both adapted to their needs and also in a fit state for them to live in. It provides step by step guidance to planning, establishing, managing and monitoring a scheme with sections on best practice, service agreements and evaluation. The report can be downloaded in pdf format here.   [February 2002]

Making the Links

A summary of Care & Repair England’s study of diversification in home improvement agency services can be downloaded here. [March 2001]

‘Learning to Listen’

A report about involving service users in the development and delivery of home improvement agency and related services. A copy can be obtained from the Nottingham office or downloaded here.   [October 2000]