Since 2008 Local Authorities have been able to use more discretion in the way that they spend their annual DFG allocation from central government. To use this discretion, they must publish a Housing Assistance Policy under The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002
Many authorities use this discretion to:
- Fund works costing more than the maximum amount (£30,000)
- Relax means testing requirements
- Reduce levels of bureaucracy
- Fund additional works, such as major hazard repairs
Do you publish a Housing Assistance Policy?
For guidance on producing a policy and some good examples click here
You can also find guidance on developing a Housing Assistance Policy here
Where legislation gives a Local Authority discretion to make decisions, as the Regulatory Reform Order does, the authority must be able to consider each 'decision' on its own merits. So, whether or not you have a published policy, you should not ‘fetter’ your discretion by applying a rigid or one-size-fits-all policy to all applications without considering the specific facts of each case.
A decision that is made by a local authority that has fettered its discretion in this way may be challenged as unlawful. It may also be challenged on the grounds that the procedure by which it was made was unfair, or on the grounds that it is unreasonable. For DFG this would apply where a local authority refuses all applications above the maximum limit without any further consideration.