Laura Sharman 18 March 2016

Report highlights problems with Disabled Facilities Grants process

Councils have been urged to improve the way they process Disabled Facilities Grants, with a new report saying delays are leaving disabled people in unsuitable homes for too long.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has highlighted the problems people face when the Disabled Facilities Grants process goes wrong and provides best practice advice on improving grant allocation schemes.

‘Relatively simple changes, like accessible showers or doorways, can make a huge difference to peoples’ quality of life,’ said Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman.

‘These adaptations must be provided by housing services departments, but my experience shows many people are being let down. The stories in my report are typical of problems we see with housing adaptation complaints, and we want authorities to learn from our findings.’

Responding to the report, cllr Neil Clarke, chairman of the District Councils’ Network said: ‘While recognising Disabled Facility Grants are a statutory duty, district councils are keen to ensure that all the improvements they make to people’s health and wellbeing across the range of their services effectively contribute to the wider Health and Wellbeing agenda and the outcomes required by the Better Care Fund.

‘The District Councils’ Network wants to work with government and county councils to reunite the statutory responsibility for Disabled Facility Grants that sits with districts, with the funding for this service. This currently sits within the Better Care Fund and goes to counties directly, causing needless bureaucracy.’

An investigation last year by Foundations using the Disabled Facilities Grant to carry out home adaptions can delay someone moving into a residential care home by four years.

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