The Committee heard from the recently appointed Homes, Health and Wellbeing Team Manager with a report to outline the current process for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG’s) including current challenges with the service and ways in which the service could move forward.
It was explained that West Lindsey District Council had statutory responsibility for the administration of DFG adaptations under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. As a two tier authority, the responsibility for the spend of the grants lay with WLDC, but the determination of what adaptation was required and the outcomes from those works being carried out sat with Adult Social Care, Lincolnshire County Council.
It was highlighted that work was undertaken by Adult Social Care prior to a referral being made for a DFG. A DFG was one option available to Occupational Therapists (OT’s) to assist a customer to remain living independently within their home. All options would be exhausted before a request for an adaptation was submitted to WLDC.
Within the report and appended documents, Members were provided with a breakdown of the number of applications received, the number of works completed, the time taken to complete these works and a total cost. It was explained that the impact of the global pandemic had been significant, however, there were aspects of the process that could be improved regardless of the ongoing issues with, for example, the supply chain and contractor availability. It was acknowledged that there may be additional impact following Brexit, however this had possibly been hidden by the noticeable difficulties caused by Covid-19.
Following questions from Members of the Committee, it was explained that urgent care cases, for example for individuals who had received a terminal prognosis, would be expected to progress through alternative pathways. As such, the DFG process was not likely to be the best option for those circumstances. It was also confirmed that DFGs were for private individuals, and in response to an enquiry as to how an organisation could access grant funding for adaptions to a public building, the Homes, Health and Wellbeing Team Manager stated she could work with the organisation to look into alternative funding options.
It was acknowledged that the initial assessment period, undertaken by an OT, could be lengthy and it was questioned whether it would be possible for WLDC to use trusted assessors in order to speed up the process. It was explained that the initial assessment was undertaken by Adult Social Care and other options were explored prior to making a referral for a DFG. Where trusted assessors could be beneficial, the council did not hold the health expertise in order to be able to support and supervise such assessors. It was acknowledged that, given the timescales involved with the assessment process, the council could work with the County Council to look at alternative assessment options as well as looking at external supervision for trusted assessors. It was noted that the proposed internal review of the service would offer greater detail into ... view the full minutes text for item 11