Technology for our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (TAPPI)

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Developing a benchmark for what ‘good’ looks like in technology for housing and care


Over the past few decades, we have seen a ‘revolution’ in the way that technologies have influenced our daily lives. However, the same cannot be said for the role of digital and technology in care, health and housing – especially in relation to older adults and people with disabilities.

While COVID-19 has helped embed the use of technology into the lives of many, it has also exacerbated the digital divide. Yet, the pandemic provides us with an opportunity; the opportunity to drive the ‘digital revolution’ across housing, health and care, putting the real needs of older adults and disabled people at the heart.

Building on the learning from many promising trials, pilot studies and short-term initiatives, there is a huge opportunity to enhance broadscale adoption of technology for our ageing population.

Supported by Dunhill Medical Trust, TAPPI is about listening, gaining insights and creating a set of overarching principles that can inform a new framework for all stakeholders to refer to in the context of how technology can transform the landscape of everyday living environments for older and disabled people.

Further information

Terms of Reference

The objectives of the Inquiry are:

  • To explore the needs and challenges faced by people with care and support needs, and (at an organisational level) by providers and commissioners, which could be mitigated or transformed by effective use of contemporary digital and technology solutions
  • To look forward, aiming to forecast likely future trends and possible aspirations of the next generation of older people (in their late 40s / 50s now)
  • To identify the best examples of innovation and true integration of digitally enabled technology in housing and care settings, in the UK or internationally
  • To explore the success factors in these examples, and capture lessons learnt
  • To understand the biggest barriers preventing commissioners, providers and others from moving towards true digital transformation
  • To test out a series of domains that will form the new TAPPI framework
  • To create a downloadable resource, supported by exemplary case studies and examples, setting out a potential roadmap for housing and care organisations and commissioners to adopt TAPPI as a means to support transformation in this area
  • The new resource / suite of resources would also aim to help suppliers, providers and commissioners scope out and generate a better understanding of the potential retail offer which could evolve, potentially linked to smart homes and building management systems, as well as existing non-digital aids and adaptations in the home

Inquiry Panel Membership

The TAPPI Inquiry Panel is made up of leading figures from housing, care, academia, the tech industry and design, has been convened and will be responsible for overseeing the project. They will hold a series of panel discussions with people with specific insights and expertise in this area (e.g. older people, people with disabilities, those in the construction industry, specialists in ‘smart’ technology and housing), alongside visits to sites and organisations who are current leaders in technological transformation.

The TAPPI Inquiry Panel Members are:

  • Professor Roy Sandbach OBE (Chair). – former Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing
  • Dr Gemma Burgess, Acting Director, University of Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research
  • Alyson Scufield, Chief Exec, Telecare Services Association
  • Clive Gilbert, Policy Manager (Assistive Technology), Policy Connect
  • Julia Ashley, Chief Exec, Central & Cecil Housing Association
  • Sharon Houlden, Corporate Director of Health, Housing, and Adults Social CareCity of York Council, York DASS, and ADASS tech lead
  • Andy Von Bradsky, Head of Architecture, MHCLG
  • Jeremy Porteus, Chief Exec, Housing LIN
  • Wilhelmina Hoffman, President, Svenskt Demenscentrum
  • Ian James/Hannah Gill, Digital and Leadership Development, LGA
  • Sara Keetley, Operations Director, Sanctuary Housing
  • Susan Kay, Executive Director/CEO, Dunhill Medical Trust (Inquiry Sponsor)
  • Sarah Allport, Head of Communities and Governance, Dunhill Medical Trust (Inquiry Sponsor)

Inquiry Secretariat

The Housing Learning and Improvement Network (LIN) is Secretary to the TAPPI Inquiry, supported by Lois Beech, the Housing LIN’s Senior Research Officer.

Using past experience to tackle an important new topic

Since 2009, the Housing LIN has published four inquiry reports by the Housing our Ageing Population Panel for Innovation (HAPPI).

Using an inquiry-based approach they have focused on:

  • recommendations for the design of high-quality housing for older people
  • the housing options available to older people after retirement
  • the requirements of older people living in rural areas
  • the needs of older renters

TAPPI will draw upon the learning from previous HAPPI inquiries, employing the same methodologies to focus on the topic of digital and technological solutions in housing and care.

Sharing the findings

Resulting from this will be a ‘proof of concept’ report that collates the panel’s learning and exemplar case studies, demonstrating the effective use of digital and technological solutions – whilst also considering both the factors that facilitate their successful integration, and the barriers that prevent widespread beneficial change. And importantly, the needs, challenges and aspirations of older and disabled people will be at the core of the project findings.

The report will also set out an ambition for a further, full TAPPI inquiry. This, it is hoped, would lead to the creation of a downloadable resource for housing and care organisations and commissioners – a potential ‘roadmap’ to achieve integrated, system-wide transformation in this area – and a new set of TAPPI principles which define what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to employing digital and technology in the care of older people.


The TAPPI Inquiry has been generously funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust (opens new window).


Because of the pandemic, Inquiry sessions and any visits will be organised on a virtual basis at the outset, with any visits in-person agreed once facilities are reopened. There are four Inquiry sessions planned (January to April 2021) and a number of site visits will be undertaken too to gather latest innovations in research, product and practice development.

The intention is to conclude this study before the end of April 2021, with a launch of the TAPPI Inquiry’s Report in May 2021.

Make a submission

The Inquiry is also seeking written submissions to inform its report. These are being collated by the Housing LIN, Secretariat to this TAPPI inquiry.

Written submissions should provide evidence sought in the Terms of Reference.

Please submit by Wednesday, 31 March 2021. These should be emailed headed ‘TAPPI Inquiry’ to:

Feel free to use this submission template (opens new window).

Press releases

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Other useful links

For more information and related guidance, tools and resources featuring housing, care and technology, visit: