DFG Champions roadshows recap - Paul's blog

12 months, 9 cities, 12 events, 1,000 people – it’s been quite a year of DFG Champions Roadshows! The idea was to share ideas, frustrations and good practice to inspire change and new ways of thinking. From the feedback I think they’ve been a great success for delegates, but for us, they’ve also proved to be a fantastic way of testing the mood of the sector.

Each time, as we travel around the country views change from one event to the next. This time one audience were strongly calling for central regulation changes around maximum amounts and means testing, while the next were more in favour of local discretion and stronger integration with health and social care. Those views aren’t mutually exclusive, but it did highlight how different regions are at different stages of their Better Care Fund journeys.

As these debates develop, what does become clear is how complex and tangled things become as you zoom out and consider how DFG fits within the wider picture of suitable and accessible housing for older and disabled people. Issues like adaptations for different tenures, delayed transfers of care, housing options and support to move could all justify conferences in their own right.

The Department for Communities and Local Government spoke at our last four Roadshows with a message of reassurance on the future of DFG up to and beyond 2020. We also heard from the Department of Health on the continuing importance of housing interventions to health and social care, and from NHS England’s Better Care Fund leads on the importance of integrating DFG into BCF plans to keep people out of hospital and residential care.

What’s really encouraging are the best practice presentations and some of the innovation that are happening across the country. On the recent tour I was really impressed by the approach taken by Manchester City Council. They’ve got a new RRO policy that includes works up to £50k and adaptations to homelessness accommodation, but they’ve also taken a really inventive new approach to working with housing associations.

Housing providers operating in the City have agreed to contribute 40% of the cost of adaptations with the Council funding the balance through DFG. However, in practice the full cost of the adaptations are paid by the City through capital DFG funding. This allows the housing providers to pool their contributions as a revenue pot that pays for advisors that help people to consider their housing options, and supporting them to relocate if they choose to.

Many local authorities have difficulty reaching an agreement with housing providers and with finding revenue funding to support more people to move and make the most of their housing stock. Manchester have ingeniously solved both!

We’re working on our plans for next year so if you have good practice you would like to share or ideas for topics to discuss, please let us know: info@foundations.uk.com

See the presentations from the autumn round of roadshows