House of Lords report endorses the Smart Homes and Independent Living Commission's findings
The House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee has endorsed key findings from Policy Connect's Smart Homes and Independent Living Commission.
Earlier in the year, Policy Connect's Senior Policy and Research Manager for Assistive and Accessible Technology (ATech) Clive Gilbert was invited to give oral evidence to the Committee.
The Committee's report, entitled A “gloriously ordinary life’’: spotlight on adult social care, echoes the Commission's call for government to adopt a more aspirational approach to ATech in social care. Citing Clive's evidence, the report states:
…there is a “need to be more ambitious about the role technology can have in supporting people’s needs and desires”. Clive Gilbert, Policy Manager, Policy Connect, pointed out that many older people and disabled adults are already using technology “to do everything from connecting with friends to managing a team at work to booking theatre tickets”. Consequently, while disabled adults and older people “may use a different tech set-up”, the things they do with technology are not “radically different”. In reaching this ambition, it is important that technology is put in the hands of disabled people themselves to avoid “doing technology to people”.
The report also reiterates our call for local authorities to make better use of their market shaping duty under the Care Act 2014 to "help shift the independent living technology market towards the aspirations, needs and requirements of disabled people and older people."
Technology and innovation is a central theme of the report. It welcomes the government's commitment in last year's Adults Social Care Reform White Paper to invest in care technology. However, the Committee rightly recommends that Ministers "ensure that any testing of ideas related to care technology is done in co-production with people with lived experience." The report also urges the government to "create a research and development network for the sharing of technological innovation between social care stakeholders".
Responding to the report Clive says:
The publication of the House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee's important report is a milestone in how policymakers think about technology in the context of health and social care. Government and public services have huge sway over the market due to their important role in purchasing these technologies of behalf of the people who use them. The Committee is right to highlight the need for 'a fundamental rethinking about how we provide care' to ensure that independent living technology products and services are designed and delivered to genuinely meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people.
You can read Policy Connect's Smarter Homes for Independent Living: Putting People in Control of Their Lives on our website.