End of year review - Paul's blog

As 2017 draws to a close, the long awaited review of the Disabled Facilities Grant has been announced – or at least, the tender notice for the contract to carry it out has. It includes expected issues such as the means test and the maximum grant limit, but also calls for a look at how DFGs are delivered and how they link in with other services. This is a key area for Home Improvement Agencies and builds on the vision we set out in the Collaborative HIA report last year.

During the year we’ve seen the increasing DFG budget driving some diverse behaviours in Local Authorities, particularly in two-tier areas. Some have recognised the benefits of collaboration and embedding DFG within wider health and social care provision creating a more person centred approach. Others have taken the opposite view and isolated DFG into a silo. It will be interesting to see if the review can compare and contrast the two approaches.

We’ve also seen many new RRO policies published. Last time we did a survey, just over half of LAs had a policy in place, but I’m sure it would now be considerably more; and feature a much wider range of discretionary initiatives such as:

  • disregarding means tested contributions under £5,000;
  • stairlift loan schemes;
  • preventative dementia grants;
  • repairs for Category 1 hazards; and
  • handyperson services.

On top of the DFG Review, news has started to emerge about forthcoming green papers on both social care and social housing; and both looks set to have direct relevance to the HIA sector with references to adaptations, handypersons and housing advice mooted.

With new national initiatives on equity release and self-funded adaptations also in the pipeline it looks like 2018 is going to be an eventful year – but in the meantime, Merry Christmas from everyone at Foundations and we’ll see you all in the New Year.