Call for housing-with-care taskforce

October 15, 2020

The UK’s retirement community operators have issued a call for a Government taskforce to help tackle the obstacles which are holding back the growth in supply of good quality housing-with-care for older people.

At the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) AGM, operators threw their weight behind the initiative which is designed to bring 'clarity and consistency' to regulation, which is currently characterised as 'conflicting, confused and contradictory' for residents, prospective residents and investors.

This year has seen reports from the County Councils Network and Professor Les Mayhew calling for the Government to adopt a more joined-up approach to the sector. This should bring together the range of Government departments which touch on the sector, including the Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Cabinet Office as well as representatives of the sector and local Government. Previous government taskforces, such as on the Private Rented Sector, have shown the potential of joined-up working between governmental and sector stakeholders.

The call for a housing-with-care taskforce also takes into account the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought into stark relief the need to expand choices for older people seeking housing and care, says ARCO.

The well-attended AGM took place digitally for the first time and saw the re-election of Nick Sanderson, Chief Executive of Audley Villages, as ARCO Chair and Jane Ashcroft, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover, as ARCO Vice-Chair.

Nick said, 'This is a seminal moment for the sector. We can see clearly now that older people want to make the most of their retirement and stay healthy, connected and independent for longer.

'It is clear that we need a much more concerted and intelligent approach to allow this sector to achieve its potential. The sector is ready to do its part to growth housing and care options for older people in the UK. We are now asking the Government to play their part too – we need a task force now.'

Jane commented, 'Retirement communities are already providing tens of thousands of older people with great housing and care – but we can and must do more. We know that there are hundreds of thousands more older people at all income levels who need to be provided for. This is a chance for the Government to “level up” for older people.'

Read more about the importance of retirement communities in social care in this month's Into Perspective.

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