Health Housing and Fuel Poverty Forum
The Health Housing and Fuel Poverty Forum (HHFPF) was launched at a conference held in March 2005 with the appointment of a Core Group of key influencers and the registration of a wider network of 130 other individuals who work in the health sector and those involved in the delivery of energy efficiency measures and fuel poverty schemes. The UK Public Health Association was contracted by Defra to coordinate and facilitate the Forum.
The HHFPF has concluded, through its work and staging of two conferences, that a model of local area partnerships that links health, housing and fuel poverty services is the most effective approach for directing services to the vulnerable. This has resulted in the HHFPF have devising and obtaining partnership funding for the Greater Manchester Fuel Poverty Initiative (see below for more information on this project).
The HHFPF Core Group has agreed on a strategy going forward and set goals for the current financial year. Its overarching goal is to create a framework for the collaboration of health, housing and fuel poverty professionals through influencing decision makers at senior official levels and locally through local partnerships.
Organisation & aims
The HHFPF comprises a Core Group of leaders in the health, housing and fuel poverty sector. A further 130 plus individuals are registered as part of the wider HHFPF network.
Terms of reference
Bring together leaders in the health, housing and fuel poverty sectors with the purpose of seeking collaboration and sharing of information
Focus on providing energy efficiency and fuel poverty measures to patients that suffer the consequences of living in cold, damp homes
Facilitate a collaborative network of professionals across the health, housing and fuel poverty sectors.
The HHFPF’s terms of reference are:
- To bring together leaders in the health, housing and fuel poverty sectors, promoting collaboration, information-sharing and the development of unified service delivery;
- To focus on providing energy efficiency and fuel poverty measures to those suffering from living in cold, damp homes;
- To facilitate a collaborative network of professionals across the health, housing and fuel poverty sectors.
The HHFPF aims to:
Reduce the number of excess winter deaths through the increased installation of energy efficiency measures in homes of people suffering the consequences of living in cold damp homes by stimulating local partnerships to link effectively the resources and activities between health and housing energy efficiency and fuel poverty professionals.
Ensure metrics established which will assess the impact its work through local area partnerships.
Provide a framework for collaboration through liaison at strategic levels within the different Government departments (DEFRA, DH, DWP, and DCLG), and energy efficiency providers (energy utilities and EAGA).
Provide a communication infrastructure for transfer of knowledge through the effective updating of content on the HHFPF’s website and provide linkage to other relevant web resources.
Greater Manchester Fuel Poverty Initiative
Aims and objectives
The UKPHA & Greater Manchester Fuel Poverty Initiative is led and managed by the UK Public Health Association, arising out of the work of the Health and Housing Fuel Poverty Forum, the national advisory group which it hosts and coordinates.
The Initiative is a far-reaching review of how local authorities, Primary Care Trusts, energy suppliers and other partners can work together to optimise the contribution they make to improving housing conditions for vulnerable people and reduce health inequalities.
The model recognises that it is not the job of health or social care professionals to improve housing, but that they see the effects of poor housing on health through their everyday work. Health professionals can therefore assist local authorities to target those most at risk from poor housing.
The strategic objectives of the project include creating a model which tests and encapsulates other models of best practice to;
- influence the role of health practitioners;
- build upon relationships with the energy suppliers;
- gain the benefits of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS);
- identify creative ways in which existing resources/systems and IT might be used to meet the needs of vulnerable client groups more effectively; and,
- ensure the model is replicable for use by other organisations.
Achievements to date
The ‘Clearing House’ model at the heart of the pilot was developed by UKPHA in 2007 after an extensive consultation programme.
It is being implemented in Greater Manchester through the AWARM (Affordable Warmth Access and Referral Mechanism) scheme which provides, at a local level:
- Free-phone referral line
- Co-ordination of the networks
The referrals are highly cost-effective as they take place within the activity span of the health or social care referrers’ day-to-day work; and as they are made by the professional, many vulnerable people have gained access to affordable warmth who would not otherwise have been able to arrange it for themselves
The AWARM scheme is locally funded and managed and has been developed with support from the Energy Saving Trust (other areas have NEA Warm Zones, Hotspots, Health through Warmth etc which can enable this). The project aims to produce a minimum set of service criteria for a referral mechanism that can support PCT and Social Care referrals.
The model includes several levels of intervention which will assist PCTs and local authorities to break down barriers to effective information sharing and partnership working.
In order to attain these goals, we have developed the scheme through:
- Mapping pathways through PCT and Social Care of the groups ‘at risk’ from fuel poverty
- Developing training that identifies the motivations and priorities of health and social care staff
- Prioritising teams to receive training based on local priorities and targets for reaching ‘at risk’ groups
- Formalising governance arrangements within PCTs and Social Care to match Excess Seasonal Death target or flu jab campaign governance
The project runs until May 2010 and next steps for the project include developing a data model to support health and social care governance in order to measure effects of housing intervention on health outcomes - we will be looking for positive outputs, e.g. fewer GP consultations; a reduction in associated prescriptions and/or hospital admissions.
Hopefully this data will contibute to the emerging evidence-base and lead to the mainstreaming of fuel poverty activity within PCTs’ health improvement priorities, and contribute to joint action on the wider determinants of health. This will be supported by a further development objective, that of IT systems to support health and social care activity to mainstream the activity via current processes, and via a range of IT ‘portals’.
Manchester Business School will be evaluating the emerging evidence for principles which can be shared with other PCTs and local authorities.
The UKPHA will be promoting and developing the roll-out of the principles from the model at a national level.