This is why cash from institutional investors is not wanted for Lancashire care schemes
Lancashire County Council has set out its preferred option for how it intends to create 1,000 places in a series of so-called "extra care" schemes by 2025.
The developments provide self-contained accommodation offering residents the privacy of their own front door - but with the security of 24-hour on-site support, as well as access to any pre-existing care packages to help them with day-to-day living.
Three purpose-built projects have already opened their doors - the latest being Chorley's Primrose Gardens - after the authority declared its ambition two years ago for at least one of the schemes to be located in each of Lancashire's 12 districts. Another two of the facilities are due to open in Preston and Fleetwood this autumn.
County Hall's cabinet has now resolved to seek to fund all future developments using a model which would see registered housing providers seeking a grant from government agency Homes England or borrowing based on rental income.
Cabinet member for adult services Graham Gooch said he disliked the idea of extra care schemes being a focus for those looking for safe financial investments.
"Because they see it as a long-term investment, they are willing to stump up money to build the facilities - but then, of course, they will own them.
"Lancashire County Council...would have to sign up to at lease of a minimum of 25 years on completion of the build.
"Normally there is no break clause on these leases - so the financial risk in relation to rental policy, welfare benefits and maintenance costs would be with the county council or registered provider," warned County Cllr Gooch.
The option of seeking institutional investment has not been completely ruled out should it prove the only way of financing a facility, but county council leader Geoff Driver said that the authority would want to "stay away from that".
He also stressed that while County Hall was not intending to fund any of the extra care developments itself, it would be open making a contribution in cash or land in order to get an individual project "over the line". The county council made such a contribution to the Primrose Gardens site.
Registered housing providers have been behind several of the schemes commissioned in Lancashire to date, including Community Gateway Association's forthcoming "The Courtyards" development on Dovedale Avenue in Ingol and Regenda Housing's "Lighthouse View" on Chatsworth Avenue in Fleetwood.
Chorley Council was responsible for the Primrose Gardens development - and the new policy would leave the door open for district authorities to continue to spearhead similar projects.
The two other existing purpose-built extra schemes in the county are located in Whitworth and Ormskirk. Eight other sheltered accommodation developments also now have 24-hour extra care-style support available - but the buildings are smaller with fewer communal facilities.
County council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Shaun Turner, said that extra care was a good "halfway house" for those who feared going into a traditional care home.
"This is independent living, where integrated care packages can be wrapped around [people] in that setting," he said.
HOW DOES EXTRA CARE WORK?
Extra care facilities are operated by housing providers or district councils, which are responsible for the building itself. They charge rent on the apartments and a service charge for maintenance and upkeep of the communal areas.
Fees will vary depending on the operator - for instance, the Primrose Gardens development in Chorley charges £134 per week for a one-bedroomed apartment and £50 per week for maintenance. If a resident is eligible for housing benefit, it can be used to help cover these charges. However, living costs are the responsibility of the residents.
Lancashire County Council commissions the 24-hour ‘background’ support provided on-site should anybody need assistance. A flat fee of £17.50 per week has been set for this service across all extra care developments in the county and at least two staff will be available at any one time.
Separate packages of planned care to help people with specific needs can also be secured by the county council, usually from the same organisation providing the round-the-clock support - to offer continuity and utilise any overlap in staff. However, residents can arrange planned care themselves and pay for it directly using their own personal care budgets.
Depending on the development, some apartments may be available to buy.
Residents have their own flat and front door and come and go as they please. The schemes also provide communal facilities in order to encourage people to remain socially, mentally and physically active.