Members are asked to note that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be pre-scrutinising this item at a meeting on 6th June 2019, which will take place after the publication of this agenda. Any recommendations arising from this meeting will be reported to the Executive Committee in an additional papers pack.
The Housing Strategy Manager presented a report detailing proposed updates to the Private Sector Home Repairs Assistance Policy. Every year the Private Sector Housing Team was audited on its use of funding provided by the Government for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) as this was always a significant amount of money. During the latest audit, changes had been suggested to the policy to ensure that it corresponded with working practices. The changes to the policy detailed within the report were fairly minor but they did require Members’ agreement.
During consideration of this item Members noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had pre-scrutinised the report at a meeting on 6th June 2019 and had recommended that action needed to be taken to promote the availability of DFGs to the public. The Committee discussed this recommendation and in doing so Members commented that every year only a proportion of the funding had been used. The budget for DFGs was ring-fenced and therefore the Council could not use this budget to support other Council services. There were likely to be a lot of residents who were eligible for DFG funding who were not aware of its existence or that they could access the funding. In this context Members agreed that the recommendation from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should be approved.
Concerns were raised that the Private Sector Home Repair Assistance Policy was being updated in response to changes to working practices as ideally the changes should have occurred in the opposite order. However, as the proposed changes were minor there was general consensus that the updates to the policy should be approved.
1) the Executive Committee notes the changes made to the Private Sector Housing Assistance Policy and approves its implementation; and
2) Officers explore options to communicate the availability of Disabled Facility Grants to the public.