Agenda item

Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) - Overview


The Strategic Housing Services Manager provided an overview of the Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG). It was noted that these were mandatory grants to support the provision of adaptations to promote independent living within the home, subject to the provisions of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.


It was explained that the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) provided each local authority in England with a DFG allocation contained within the Better Care Fund paid to the County Council and passported to Local Housing Authorities (including Redditch).


It was explained that the grant was means-tested and there was a robust process followed to arrive at grant allocation decisions, starting with a comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s needs.


It was noted that it was considered good practice to offer a Home Improvement Agency (HIA) service to support a disabled person and their family through the complicated process of carrying out major building works. In Worcestershire a partnership of the 6 Local Housing Authorities and Worcestershire County Council commissioned a HIA referred as the Worcestershire Promoting Independent Living Service and this was provided by Millbrook Health Care under a contract until March 2025.


Performance data was provided on the use of DFG in 2022-23, including on the types of building jobs carried out to enable a home adaptation, expenditure on the home adaptations by type, breakdown of the types of recipients of DFG by tenure and breakdown by age. It was noted that over 50 per cent of DFGs were for bathroom and stairlift adaptations.


Following the presentation, Members asked questions regarding the DFG and the following responses were noted:


·       Funds for home adaptations in Council stock (HRA) properties – It was stated that as part of the regulations housing authorities were required to set aside funds within their Housing Revenue Accounts (HRA) capital programme fund for adaptations – this was an equivalent funding to DFGs called Equipment and Adaptations, funded purely from social housing rents. This fund was separate to the general repairs fund in the HRA and could be reviewed internally by the Council as necessary.

·       Signposting residents to DFG – It was explained that the funding was for an adaptation because of a disability, so it was not possible to signpost as a preventative measure. It was noted that the Home Improvement Agency (HIA) for Redditch, Millbrook Healthcare, did advertise their services.

·       Median waiting times for delivery of an adaptation – It was noted that the long waiting time for the DFG process from application and assessment stage to the delivery of an adaptation was due to the number of steps including the Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment, undertaking technical drawings on the works required and going out to tender for the works. The Council funded extra OT involvement to reduce the waiting times for OT assessments.

·       It was highlighted that the application for an adaptation could only be approved once an OT assessment and checks with land registry on the property to have an adaptation had been completed. It was requested as an action that officers find out and report to Members on where there were delays in the DFG grant application process.

·       The 6-month maximum period for the Council to assess a DFG grant application from the date valid application is received – Officers reported that this was a legislative timeframe set by the Government, and it was currently taking the Council on average 9 days to assess a DFG grant application.

·       Tender process for a Home Improvement Agency (HIA) contract after March 2025 – Officers reported that the Council was currently at the early stage of undertaking a new tender process. Foundations, a national body of home improvement agencies, had been employed to assist the Council with compiling a new specification for the service. Permission would be sought from Members to go out to tender for a new service in summer 2024.

·       It was clarified that waiting times listed in the report were from the date the Occupational Therapist (OT) examining the applicant opens the case to the date of installation of an adaptation. The Council did not have information on OT waiting times.

·       DFG Capital Allocation – It was noted that the Government’s DFG allocation to the Council was £710,000 and just over £545,521.60 was allocated to recipients in 2022-23. Any unspent amount was carried forward to the next financial year.

·       Prioritisation of DFG Applications – The Officer reported that DFG applications were not prioritised unless the OT requests the Council to prioritise the application as urgent.

·       It was requested by a Member that information be provided on why some cases for adaptation installation took in excess of one year to complete.

·       Alternative funding options for people eligible for DFG grant requiring home adaptation – It was explained that there were various reasons why people would choose alternative ways to fund adaptation works. It was noted that the charge for works from DFG was placed against a property meaning it would need to be paid back from property sale proceeds if the property is sold.

·       Using Frameworks to undertake joint procurement for DFG items – The Strategic Housing Services Manager explained that frameworks had been used to order stocks of some adaptation items in bulk such as showers and stairlifts and the Council would look to further develop this approach.

·       Possibility to use own builders to install home adaptations instead of the contractor assigned by Home Improvement Agency (HIA) – It was stated that there was no requirement for recipients of DFG grant for adaptation to use the HIA; where the valid applicant wishes to use own builder to carry out the works, the Council would provide the estimate for the value of the works, and the grant would only be provided up to the amount of the estimate.

·       It was explained that when the landlord provides a permission for DFG adaptation works, the landlord must guarantee that the tenant would be allowed to remain in the property for five years.




the report be noted.

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