Agenda item

Disabled Facilities Grant



To provide an update on the provision of disabled facilities grants (DFGs) and Safety at Home (SaH) grants and the outcomes achieved for both service users Social Care. The report also seeks to assure members that service is aligned with the Council’s safeguarding policy.


Key Issues:

1. The Council has a statutory duty to provide DFG’s within six months of receiving an application. Failure to do so lays it open to legal challenge. It also has discretion to provide SaHs. All DFGs are capped at £36,000 and while the

average adult award is about £6,000 each year a number of larger, complex grants are provided to meet the needs of both adults and children with complex disabilities. Children’s DFG’s aren’t capped and, therefore, can utilise a disproportionate amount of the budget.

2.  SaHs are intended for smaller works such as handrails, half steps and minor alterations, often costing less than £250 but which make a dwelling safer for a disabled resident. SaH’s often facilitate hospital discharge or reduce the risk of falls and injuries, which might necessitate hospitalisation and are administered on behalf of the Council by Care & Repair alongside Rapid Response Adaptations.

3. In recent years, an annual shortage of funding for adaptations has impacted upon the time some clients have needed to wait for DFG’s. On occasions it has been necessary to prioritise SaH. The increased funding for 2017/18 significantly improved the situation.

4. The average time to complete a DFG was reduced from 386 days in 2016/17 to 193 days in 2017/18. In addition, the Council has delivered more adaptations and, therefore, assisted more applicants. Not only has this improved the quality of life for more applicants, carers and their families, it will have provided business benefits to Social Care. The success is also applicable to the SaH minor adaptation programme and it wasn’t necessary to prioritise work towards the end of the financial year. The success was achieved through:

The additional £300,000 capital funding for DFG’s (but also SaH); reviewing

contractor quotation arrangements; re-introducing ‘lean’ processing (which

streamlines means-testing) and managing the budget based on actual

expenditure rather than committed expenditure.

5.  A more detailed overview of performance is detailed in Appendix 1 of the report.

6.  Alternatives to DFGs and SAHs do exist, including annual ENABLE funding from Welsh Government, which offers a fully flexible option with simplified approvals (e.g. no means testing or necessity for an Occupational Therapist to assess).Welsh Government encourages use through a partnership approach. The Council, however, strictly can’t replace DFG funding with ENABLE funding. Other options to fund adaptations are available but are significantly less utilised. Nevertheless some potential applicants do opt to proceed with the necessary works at their own cost.






The Committee consider how the disabled adaptation programme is supportingresidents to remain living safely and independently at home, reflect onperformance and make recommendations as appropriate.


Member Scrutiny:

The Housing & Communities Manager presented the report and questions and comments were made as follows:


·         The Chair noted that adaptations have made a very positive impact on the quality of people’s lives and thanked the team accordingly.

·         Members led tributes to campaigner for people with disabilities, Jenny Barnes, who had passed away recently, acknowledging the significant contribution and impact she had made.

·         A Member commented that there is insufficient suitably adapted housing and suggested that all housing (not just affordable) being built should have a downstairs toilet and bathroom or shower facilities, and handrails.  It was responded that, whilst this would be an optimal position, the authority has no control to insist on such a requirements.  In response to a question, it was noted that there were plans in the future to make such facilities a legal requirement/national policy.  It was suggested that the authority may wish to consider this matter further in due course.

·         In response to a question, it was explained that if a house is sold within a set period of time and the DGF was over £5000, the value of the grant is requested back.

·         A Member asked how often a ‘bed blocking’ situation will occur, due to a home not being adapted for the individual to return home.  It was explained that SaH grants (steps, handrails, small ramps etc.-  delivered and administered by Care and Repair who also deliver the Rapid Response programme for the Welsh Government) enable a quick discharge from hospital.


·         It was queried what happens about return and reuse of equipment and explained that there is a Social Services equipment store.

Text Box: Committee Conclusion: The Joint Adults and Children and Young People Select Committee scrutinised the report, and noted that the grant was raised last year and fully spent. It was agreed that the increasing aging population will create continuous pressure. It was recognised, therefore, that it is a very valuable grant and a valued function and should be kept under review as demand will be increasing year on year. The Officer was thanked for his contribution.


Supporting documents: