Warner Group

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Warner Group's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Warner Group is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
Director Richard Warner
Achieving positive
Warner Group develops and constructs houses and leisure
and elderly care facilities, comprising a consortium of
professional staff and consultants. Fifty per cent of
its work is in collaboration with local authorities and housing
associations. Director Richard Warner discusses how elderly care
accommodation is a topic that has built up into a large issue. He
explains that there are ways in which the issue can be resolved,
allowing for the necessary care to be provided to reduce the
ever increasing burden of payment by the government.
A potential model could consist of a land-take of ten to 12 acres, where there can
be an apartment block for 60 to 80 one and two-bed units that are used for assisted
living or extra care. Within the block there could be communal facilities including
a shop for day-to-day needs, a café and restaurant, a library, a hairdresser and
chiropody rooms. A resident management team could be set up to manage the
complex. Around the apartment block there would be 50 two-bed bungalows with
appropriate gardens for retirement living, creatingan open feel to thedevelopment.
Behind the bungalows there could also be affordable two and three-bed houses for
working families. The scheme would have a managing agent for both the assisted
and retirement living units, whether the units are sold or rented on a long-term
basis. Care would be supplied as part of the scheme on a needs basis, thus creating
an almost self-sufficient village.
In this example, besides open market sales and rented options, there are also
opportunities to engage with the local council for those who cannot afford the
accommodation. This usually involves discussions with the housing benefit manager
»Director: Richard Warner
»Established in 1986
»Based in Shropshire
»Services: Development of
houses alongside leisure and
elderly care facilities
»No. of employees: Outsourced
as required
Warner Group
Highlighting best practice
for rent and social services for the care
within the local council. In order for
the council to look into this, a needs
assessment and demographic profile
would assist in determining the number
and type of units required, potentially
drawing on the Housing LIN’s strategic
housing for older people analysis tool.
Putting ideas into practice
Every scheme has different needs
and profiles and, therefore, different
funding requirements. Any early
discussions should be conducted with
adult social care services in order to
formulate the depth of current needs
and predicted future demand. There is
always a need, but it is usually required
to be backed up by reports from an
independent assessor.
Fostering a good relationship with the
housing benefit office of each council
you work with is always valuable. It
is easier if the authority is a unitary
authority and the departments are
under one roof. We tend to work
with a number of registered providers
for such schemes alongside the
private sector. Each development for
elderly care tends to follow different
parameters from the surroundings upon
which the scheme sits. This can take
considerable time to drawtogether.
Having established the basis of a
scheme, architects need to be taken
on board to draw up a sketch, which
is tabled to the appropriate planning
authority by way of early discussions
or pre-application. During this period,
time is spent drawing together costings
by utilising professional quantity
surveyor practices and working with
potential contractors for the build.
These costs are particularly important
at an early stage, as are an indication
of rents and local values of houses if
part of the scheme will involve shared
ownership for an investor. Having
reached this point, there may well be
a funding gap. Some schemes may
require assistance from local councils,
Homes England or the GLA in the form
of a capital grant to bridge that gap.
The mechanics of the grant can be
complex, with certain rules being held
in place. It is useful if the investor and
registered provider has been approved
at investor status, because this can
Peace and tranquility
Fostering a
with the
housing benefit
office of each
council you
work with is
speed up the process as a result of an
established relationship with Homes
England or the GLA. Negotiations with
landowners can take a considerable
amount of time and there are always
pressures as investors look for cheap
land, but this is not always available in
areas where such needs exist.
Challenges to overcome
There are pressures on all aspects of
a scheme, from agreeing affordable
housing rents with housing benefit
officers, to agreeing a finalised price
with contractors and professionals.
Liaison, with architects in particular, can
be a slow process for all those involved.
It could be argued that as the council
is taking nominated units, it should be
responsible for the filling of the units.
There is often a void agreement in
place for around six weeks, after which
the operator, usually a registered
provider, will have the right to fill the
unit with any tenant they choose. This
reduces the risk they take on paying
the investor the yield required, whether
or not the unit is filled. The reality with
an ageing population is that need
is growing at an alarming rate and
units for the elderly should not remain
empty for long.
Agreeing appropriate services charges
with housing benefit teams at a
number of councils is an additional
challenge. Understandably, the welfare
system is under great pressure and
although elderly accommodation
is exempt from this, the housing
benefit managers still face difficulty
in agreeing figures because of the
pressure to meet ever decreasing
budgets. Consideration has been given
to the proposed Extra Care Scheme
and facilities are not reduced to a
sheltered accommodation scheme.
These figures cannot be officially
finalised until the build is completed,
but the indication provides a good
understanding for theinvestor.
In order for the scheme to be financially
viable at the very minimum of 60 units,
an apartment block usually needs to
be in place. One of the elements that
is required is the care, which can be a
24/7 wellbeing service. Younger elderly
care residents may only need, for
example, 15 minutes a week of care,
whereas others could require several
hours a day. This needs to be balanced
out across the spectrum of the 60
residents for costing purposes.
Internal design needs to be well-
thought-out and choosing a
suitable architect with experience is
worthwhile. For example, taking on
board preventative costings such as
installing a more forgiving surface with
a soft covering instead of a floor that is
concrete overlaid with carpet.
In this example, if there is a fall, the
resident is less likely to break an arm
or leg, which can lead to a stay in
hospital with complications that follow
from being sedentary and immobilised
for a period of time. Such matters are
difficult to cost, but Age UK suggest
falls for the over 65 years cost the
NHS £4.6 million per day. There is
undoubtedly a health dividend if we
can get our housing right.
There are
pressures on all
aspects of a
scheme, from
housing rents
with housing
benefit officers,
to agreeing a
finalised price
with contractors
New lifestyle

This article was sponsored by Warner Group. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy