DFG Champions Roadshows 2016
Blog written by Paul Smith, Foundations' Director
We are the DFG Champions!
Sunderland, Derby, Liverpool, London and Facebook. Thank you to everyone who has taken part, it’s been a lot of fun so far! The aim is to link up all the dedicated professionals from across the country who help thousands of people to adapt their homes every year, but need a bit of peer support to address some of the frustrations they have with the current system - a set of rules drafted nearly 30 years ago which still determine what adaptations should be made today.
Each roadshow started with a quiz to test how much we all know about the DFG rules and regulations we’ve been using since 1990. Across the four events not a single person got full marks. This wasn’t something I anticipated when I put the questions together, and I admit a couple of them were quite tricky, but it does raise the question: if we’re not always following all of the rules anyway, why not embrace the discretion we have to do things differently?
The good practice sessions demonstrated that some areas are taking advantage of the discretion introduced under the Regulatory Reform Order (RRO) in 2008. We heard some great examples of local authorities removing the means test, increasing the maximum amount, carrying out essential repairs, helping people home from hospital and making homes safer for people with challenging behaviours. We also saw how traditional roles and procedures can be changed – it can take several years (five in Warwickshire) and lots of determination, but it is possible.
Throughout the workshops there was a real appetite to explore the possibilities that the RRO brings, especially from those who previously knew nothing about it. With a 2 year allocation of DFG funding about to be announced it’s a great time to write or review your policy and talk with Better Care Fund commissioners about how you can support local health and social care priorities.
A highlight of each event was Francis’ performance (Roy in Liverpool) of our Collaborative HIA report. For those who missed it there’s a video on the DFG Champions Facebook page along with all the other presentations. Join us at www.facebook.com/groups/dfgchampions. It’s a closed group, so only members can see the content.
There are 326 housing authorities in England. Around half stick rigidly to the standard DFG rules and regulations, and a similar number have an RRO policy that offers some additional flexibilities. Only a handful integrate with health and social care and offer an integrated, truly person-centred service. Over the next year we’ll be looking to support more innovation and integration – including more roadshows in the Spring. Due to popular demand that will include a date in the south west. If you’ve got some good practice to share, please let me know.
Maybe the ultimate DFG champions won’t actually deliver any traditional DFGs – they’ll be taking a whole population approach and giving everyone the opportunity to live in a home that meets their needs?
Thanks to Angela and Doug for arranging everything, and to all of the presenters for sharing – especially Helen and Paul from the College of OTs. And finally, to the roadshow sponsors AKW and Autumn UK and our other commercial partner who exhibited, your continued support is very much appreciated.
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