Extra £42m for home adaptations announced

The November 2017 Budget includes an additional £42 million for Disabled Facilities Grants in 2017-18, increasing the total budget for this year to £473 million.

Home adaptations play a key role in enabling older and disabled people of all ages to live independently and safely their own homes. As well as their positive impact on people’s quality of life, adaptations can also save money for the NHS and social care, helping to prevent accidents such as falls and reducing risk of injury to carers.

The majority of Disabled Facilities Grants are £5,000 or under, with adaptations that enable people to use their bathroom the most commonly grant aided works, followed by stairlifts.

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Local Allocations for DFG funds announced

The increased funding allocations for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) in 2017-18 have been announced (total £431m compared with £394m in 2016-17 c.10% rise).

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has written click here to every local authority (County, Unitary, Borough and District) informing them in a  DFG Grant Determination letter  of the amount of DFG payment to each Better Care Fund and how much is included for every individual local housing authority. [April 2017]

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Practical Briefing on the Disabled Facilities Grant System in England

dfg-picture-front-coverA new briefing from Care and Repair England ‘Disabled Facilities Grant – a system of help with home adaptations for disabled people in England – an overview’ briefing

Written by Sue Adams, this practical briefing provides an overview of the Disabled Facilities Grant system in England. It covers what it is, who it helps, who decides, who funds, evidence of its benefit and looks at issues for the future.

It concludes that home adaptations have a critical role in supporting independent living, efficient delivery of health and care closer to home, reduction in delayed transfers of care, better management of long term conditions and the prevention of falls.

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Local Allocations for DFG funds announced

The increased local allocations to each Better Care Fund and to every local housing authority has now been published click here

The average increase is around 80%

See item below for more detail. [February 2016]

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Big rise in national money for home adaptations in 2016-17

The national allocation of funding for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) is set to almost double, increasing from £220m in 2015-16 to £394m in 2016-17.

These figures were revealed in the recent publication of the Better Care Fund Policy Statement 2016/17 by DH & DCLG.

Whilst an increase by 2020 was announced in the 2015 Autumn Statement, the level of DFG allocations in the intervening years was not specified.

The new BCF Policy Statement again states that DFG monies are payable to local housing authorities to enable them to carry out their statutory duties with regard to DFG provision, but it should be noted that two new national conditions for the Better Care Fund have been introduced.

These require local areas to fund NHS commissioned out-of-hospital services and to develop a clear, focused action plan for managing delayed transfers of care (DTOC), including locally agreed targets. It would be surprising if the use of the extra DFG money was not in some way linked to DTOC.

Details of individual local authority DFG allocations are yet to be announced [Jan 2016]

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Adaptations help for older and disabled people to continue

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included some good news for older and disabled people, with the announcement that Department of Health will continue to fund Disabled Facilities Grants for the next 5 years.

The Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015 states:

‘The government will also continue to improve care for older and disabled people and support for their carers. The Care Act reforms introduced in April focus on wellbeing, prevention and delaying the need for social care. In support of these principles, the Spending Review includes over £500 million* by 2019-20 for the Disabled Facilities Grant, which will fund around 85,000 home adaptations that year. This is expected to prevent 8,500 people from needing to go into a care home in 2019-20.’

What this will mean for DFG allocations in the years running up to 2019-20 is as yet unknown. Hopefully the further comment in the statement about increasing the Better Care Fund by £1.5 billion (DFG is included in this fund) might indicate a staged rise.

Watch this space for further details.

Click here here for the Home Adaptations Consortium 2015 Spending Review Submission re DFG value, Home Adaptations for Disabled People – Integration in Action

* The DH budget for DFG in 15-16 is £220m. Budgets are set locally with the expectation that contributions to the DFG budget will also be made by housing, social care and health (in the past there was a legal obligation to mach fund on 60:40 basis)

 

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Integration in action – innovation in home adaptations delivery

 

A set of new ‘Cameos’ describing inspiring local examples of cutting edge delivery of home adaptations has today been launched by Care & Repair England, backed by Public Health England and endorsed by the national Home Adaptations Consortium. The six cameo’s can be downloaded here from:  West of England Care & Repair; Walsall Independent Living Centre; Sunderland Care & Support; Suffolk Orbit Care & Repair; Middlesbrough Staying Put; Knowsley Centre for Independent Living

Promotion of wellbeing and independence, alongside prevention, are critical to the vision of the Care Act. Adapting people’s homes plays a pivotal role in meeting these obligations.

There are pioneers around England who are ahead of the curve on finding new and better ways to offer home adaptations advice, practical help and financial assistance, including innovations in use of Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). These new ‘cameos’ describe activities in an initial six localities.

Care & Repair England has also published a Briefing which explains the changes, clarifies responsibilities and highlights opportunities for integration now that the DFG funding is paid to local councils through the Better Care Fund.

These resources will be particularly useful for anyone new to provision of help with home adaptations such as Directors of Public Health; Members of Health and Wellbeing Boards; Local Councillors: Patient and Service User Representatives, as well as anyone involved in the field of home adaptations. [June 2015]

Also see

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Disabled Facilities Grant Funding via Better Care Funds – An Opportunity to Improve Outcomes?

This month heralds a significant change in the way that national funding for disabled facilities grants is paid. The Better Care Fund will receive the money and the allocation then needs to be passed on to the relevant Housing Authority (in two tier areas) or Department (in unitary authorities).

Care & Repair England has published a Briefing which explains the changes, clarifies responsibilities and highlights opportunities for integration.

It will be particularly useful for anyone new to provision of help with home adaptations such as Directors of Public Health; Members of Health and Wellbeing Boards; Patient and Service User Representatives.

Earlier this week local authorities were informed of the amount of funding that they were due from national government to support provision of DFGs – Here  is the link to the table which sets out the amount for each locality.

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Disabled People Facing Long Delays for Home Adaptations

Research by the Leonard Cheshire Foundation has revealed that two thirds of councils are missing legal deadlines when it comes to provision of disabled facilities grants (DFGs) to meet the costs of essential home adaptations for disabled people.

‘The Long Wait for a Home’ reveals that almost half (44%) of councils had examples of disabled people waiting more than two years for DFG payment. Eight councils reported waits of over four years.

Councils are struggling to meet the increase in demand. DFG applications have risen by 6% since 2011/12 but the amount of adaptations funded in the same period has risen by only half that (3%).

Health and social care policies are committed to independent living at home for more disabled and older people. Home adaptations play a vital role in enabling this to happen but so far most local budgets have not been set at levels which are adequate to achieve this aspiration.

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NO PLACE LIKE HOME: 5 MILLION REASONS TO MAKE HOUSING DISABLED-FRIENDLY

Leonard Cheshire Disability have launched the second report of their Home Truths campaign No Place Like Home: 5 million reasons to make housing disabled-friendly.

Here is the link: http://www.leonardcheshire.org/who-we-are/news-and-media/news-stories/no-place-like-home-scandal-disabled-friendly-homes-waiting-lists#comment-514

The report shows that:

  •  5 million people in the UK have a mobility problem and could benefit from a disabled-friendly home
  • Three quarters (75%) report that they live in a home without an accessible front door

To raise the profile of this issue further they are inviting people to post their own story about disabled-friendly housing – good and bad experiences such as:

  • Trying to find a disabled-friendly home
  • Having a home adapted
  • Living in a home that is not suitable
  • A friend or family member who needs a disabled-friendly home
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