On 5 March NICE issued new guidance on how to reduce deaths and illness caused by cold homes.
Aimed at commissioners and service providers, the guideline presents a major opportunity for the home improvement agency sector and its charitable arm, FILT (Foundations Independent Living Trust).
It also ties in with the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s newly published fuel poverty strategy, Cutting the cost of keeping warm: a fuel poverty strategy for England and the NHS Five Year Forward View, a vision for the NHS which places strong emphasis on disease prevention and service integration in the future.
How HIAs can deliver NICE recommendations
Back in 2014, Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies, co-ordinated the sector’s contribution to the NICE consultation on excess winter deaths and illness.
So we’re especially pleased to see home improvement agencies referred to explicitly throughout the new guidance.
NICE outlines the vital role that HIAs can play in two key recommendations:
– Creating a single-point-of-contact referral system so that staff in contact with vulnerable people have a quick and easy way to get help from national and local service providers. “These are likely to include home improvement agencies.” (Page 8)
– Providing access to tailored services that address common barriers to tackling cold homes. “For example, access to home improvement agencies that can fix a leaking roof.” (Page 10)
How FILT can deliver NICE recommendations
Our charitable arm FILT can also provide access to tailored solutions for people living in cold homes. FILT is already working at national level with energy providers and energy charities, distributing small grants to HIAs that help home owners (many on low incomes or with health problems) to cover heating repairs and insulation. Applications are turned around quickly, within less than 24 hours on average, so vulnerable people don’t have to wait long.
How Foundations can help the sector
Foundations is passionate about building capacity amongst HIAs and also within their charity, FILT, to ensure the sector is better placed and more resilient to protect more vulnerable people by responding quickly where appropriate.
Foundations is on hand to provide analysis and advice to home improvement agencies wishing to frame a response to their local health and wellbeing board around this NICE guideline. Please refer to our Housing, Health and Care Integration Toolkit or contact the team on 0845 864 5210 email@example.com for support.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Foundations or FILT teams to find out more about our services and how we are helping to tackle deaths and illnesses caused by cold homes.