The UK’s Retirement Community operators have issued a call for a Government task force to help tackle the obstacles which are holding back the growth in supply of good quality housing-with-care for older people.
At the AGM of the sector’s trade body, ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators), operators threw their weight behind the initiative which is designed to bring “clarity and consistency” to regulation which is 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 making a call 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 task forces, such as on the Private Rented Sector, have shown the potential of joined up working between governmental and sector stakeholders.
The coronavirus crisis has also brought into stark relief the need to expand choices for older people seeking housing and care.
The well attended AGM took place digitally for the first time and saw the re-electeion of Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Villages, as ARCO Chair and Jane Ashcroft, CEO of Anchor Hanover, as ARCO Vice-Chair.
Nick Sanderson, Chair of ARCO and CEO of Audley Villages, 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 Ashcroft, Vice-Chair of ARCO and CEO of Anchor Hanover, said:
“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.