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Introduction

This policy explains how Anytown Council will provide financial help to improve and adapt homes in Anytown. It also outlines the conditions and rules for who can receive this assistance. 

The Council acknowledges that property owners are primarily responsible for maintaining and repairing their homes. However, the Council also has legal obligations to protect and assist vulnerable members of the community. We aim to provide guidance to all residents to help them take care of their homes and access government funding when needed. 

Our focus is on supporting older and disabled individuals, along with their caregivers, to live independently, confidently, and safely in their own homes. Housing assistance can minimize the impact of a disabling environment and promote independence, aligning with the goals of the Care Act 2014 to prevent or delay the need for care and support. 

Our housing assistance also supports caregivers in their roles and contributes to various positive outcomes, such as improved safety, increased independence, personal resilience, and overall well-being. 

This policy does not work in isolation and should be considered together with other related documents to form a comprehensive approach to improving homes in Anytown. 

The Legislation

This policy follows the rules set out in the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002. It also aligns with the Housing Grants, Construction, and Regeneration Act 1996, which covers the mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG). This allows the council to use its discretion and funding wisely to provide adaptations for disabled individuals beyond the mandatory requirements. 

The Housing Grants, Construction, and Regeneration Act 1996, with amendments from the Disabled Facilities Grants (Maximum Amounts and Additional Purposes) (England) Order 2008, makes it the council’s legal duty to adapt homes for disabled people. 

The Housing Act 2004 introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to establish minimum standards for housing. It also obligated the council to take action if serious hazards (Category 1 hazards) are found in a dwelling. The Department for Local Government and Communities further established the standard for Decent Homes in 2006, specifying minimum requirements for housing quality, repair, facilities, and thermal comfort. Ensuring good housing standards is crucial for addressing health and wellbeing inequalities. 

The Housing Act 2004 also introduced Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licenses to ensure the safety of residents in properties rented to multiple people. Improving HMO standards through landlord incentives is essential for meeting housing needs, especially for vulnerable households. 

Under the Housing Act 1985, section 175, the local authority has the power to take over land, houses, or properties to increase available housing or improve housing quality by bringing empty properties back into use. 

The Care Act 2014 states that local authorities must provide services and facilities that help people live independently. The core purpose of adult care and support is to assist individuals in achieving their personal goals. The “wellbeing principle” is central to this act, emphasizing the importance of promoting wellbeing and independent living. 

According to the DFG Guidance 2022, if the social care authority confirms a need, they must provide assistance, even if the housing authority cannot fully approve or fund the application. 

Under section 343 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 (as amended by section 8 of the Armed Forces Act 2021), Anytown Council must consider the Armed Forces Covenant when allocating disabled facilities grants and may offer special consideration for veterans in certain situations. 

This section should describe the legal context that frames the policy and will need to link to the main elements described in the introduction section of your policy:

  • Housing Grants and Construction Act 1996
  • Regulatory Reform Order 2002
  • Care Act 2014
  • Chronically Sick and Disabled Act 1970
  • Public Sector Equalities Duties
  • Armed Forces Covenant
  • DFG Guidance

There may also be wider elements covered in your policy such as:

  • Housing Act 2004:
    • Addressing HHSRS category 1 hazards and serious disrepair
    • Supporting the delivery of the Decent Homes Standard
    • Empty Properties
  • Home Energy Conservation Act

Linking Housing with Health & Social Care

Having good quality housing is crucial for the health and wellbeing of Anytown’s residents, and this policy aims to reduce health inequalities in the area. 

Research has shown that the condition of people’s homes directly affects their health and wellbeing. Poor housing can lead to health problems for residents. 

Every year, injuries, illnesses, and mental health issues arise because of hazards in homes. Sometimes, people don’t realise that the condition of their home can negatively impact their health. The poorest housing is often found in the private sector, and some homeowners may struggle to maintain their homes, leading to hazardous conditions. 

This policy aims to address the connection between housing conditions, social care, and health. By providing adaptations for disabled people, we can help them live safely and independently in their homes. Additionally, we will work to reduce serious hazards in homes that could cause accidents and health problems, which, in turn, would increase the demand for social care services. 

The policy needs to be strategic and link to other corporate aims and objectives

Describe how the policy will contribute towards the fulfilment of the strategic aims, objectives, and priorities for the:

  • local authority – corporate plan priorities
  • relevant local social and health care strategies and plans
  • Better Care Fund Plan priorities
  • local voluntary and community sector partners (complementary formal and informal advice and advocacy services)
  • relevant national strategies – National Disability Strategy, White Papers etc

It is important to establish a joint working relationship and approach to health social care and housing support to improve outcomes for residents through your Housing Assistance Policy and enable the flexibility within it to be used in the best way.

Alignment with Key Council Strategies and Plans

The Housing Assistance Policy aligns with several key Council strategies and plans, supporting their main priorities and goals. Here are the main documents it aligns with: 

Community & Corporate Plan 20XX – 20XX 

This plan outlines Anytown’s priorities and services to meet the needs of its residents. Housing is a core theme, and this policy highlights the importance of adaptations and disabled facilities grants in promoting independence at home, in line with government funding. 

Anytown Council Housing Strategy 20XX – 20XX: 

The housing strategy aims to improve housing supply, quality, and support. This policy contributes to X of the strategic priorities and adheres to the strategy’s principles, such as focusing on customers’ needs, addressing climate change, and working in partnership with the Better Care Fund plan. 

Anytown Market Position Statement 

This statement summarises the local care provider market and emphasizes supporting people to stay healthy and independent in their homes. The Housing Assistance Policy aligns with the statement’s priorities, including enabling better health, self-care, and community resilience. 

Better Care Fund Plan 

The Better Care Fund combines health and social care budgets to enhance outcomes for residents. By providing more disabled facilities grant funding, this policy supports a joined-up approach across health, social care, and housing, benefiting disabled, older, and vulnerable residents in Anytown. 

Overall, the Housing Assistance Policy works in harmony with these strategic documents to improve housing conditions, support independent living, and create better, safer, and sustainable services for the people of Anytown. 

Describe how the policy will contribute towards the fulfilment of the strategic aims, objectives, and priorities for the:

  • local authority – corporate plan priorities,
  • relevant local social and health care strategies and plans,
  • Better Care Fund Plan priorities
  • local voluntary and community sector partners (complementary formal and informal advice and advocacy services).
  • relevant national strategies – National Disability Strategy, White Papers etc.

The Evidence

We have clear evidence showing the need for assistance in Anytown. The information presented here gives an overview of key factors that influenced the development of this policy. The figures used in this section are from Anytown Data Observatory, which provides comprehensive data and facts. 

In Anytown, there are many people employed, but the available jobs often require lower skills and pay less than the national average. This policy is designed to be accessible for households facing financial difficulties. 

The population of people over 65 is expected to increase significantly, especially for those aged 85 and over. This older population has increasing health and care needs. Homes that are not suitable for their needs can affect their independence, health, and wellbeing, increasing the risk of falls. Many older individuals suffer from dementia, and this policy includes low-cost changes to homes that can help them maintain independence and assist their caregivers. The goal is to prevent hospital stays and costly health and social care interventions. 

About X% of the Anytown population (XX,XXX people) reported having bad or very bad health, which is similar to the regional average and slightly lower/higher than the figure for England and Wales (5.6%). Almost XXX,XXX people in Anytown (XX% of the population) have long-term conditions or disabilities that limit their daily activities to some extent. Many of them are aged 16-64 (around XX% of that age group in Anytown), which is higher/lower/similar to regional and national averages. 

The region has a high proportion of energy-inefficient homes. In Anytown, one in X properties have a Category 1 Excess Cold Hazard, which is above/below/similar to the national average but above/below/similar to the regional average. This issue is particularly common in West Anytown. Poor energy efficiency and fuel poverty are linked to health problems, and this policy includes assistance to address these issues. 

Anytown Council has received XX enquiries for a Disabled Facilities Grant over the last 5 years, resulting in XX approved grants. The table below summarises activity over that period: 

Year  Enquiries  Approved  Not proceeding due to Means Test  Not proceeding due to costs over £30k  Not proceeding due to hazards 
2017/18  XX  XX  XX  XX  XX 
2018/19  XX  XX  XX  XX  XX 
2019/20  XX  XX  XX  XX  XX 
2020/12  XX  XX  XX  XX  XX 
2021/22  XX  XX  XX  XX  XX 

Over the same period, 3 formal complaints were made, with 1 upheld. The complaint was from a foster carer regarding the placing of a local land charge against adaptations for a child in their care. 

Analysis of survey data from previous applicants shows high levels of satisfaction upon completion of the work. However, some applicants reported that they would have considered moving to a more suitable property if help had been available. 

Consultation with partner agencies during the drafting of this policy revealed the potential to support people with a diagnosis of dementia to make preventative changes to their home that would allow them to live there independently for longer. 

This section should show what evidence has been used to define the priorities and the type of assistance being used to meet this need.

Details of the prevailing social and economic conditions, including fuel poverty. Data that provides income, education, employment, community safety and social support e.g., Economic Plans
Profiles of the age and health of the local population. Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA)
Data indicating demographic changes and trends. Census
Knowledge and understanding of the local housing market. Housing Market Assessments and Local Delivery Plans
Stock condition data, including energy efficiency Private Sector Stock Condition Surveys, Home Energy Conservation Act returns, JSNA
Complaint data, and customer satisfaction surveys among existing home adaptation clients Your local data
Equality data Equality data will be monitored and collected by most organisations.
Issues of concern raised by partner organisations and other stakeholders Your local intelligence

Consider the following:

  • An analysis of housing markets including any mismatch between supply and demand and questions of affordability;
  • the condition of the housing stock in relation to fitness, decent homes and energy efficiency;

the role of housing in community cohesion and the needs of particular sections of the community.

Funding Sources for the Policy

The main sources of funding available to support this policy for owner-occupiers, housing association tenants, and private rented tenants are as follows:

Annual Capital Grant from Central Government through the Better Care Fund (BCF): 

  • In 20XX-20XX, we received an allocation of £X,XXX,XXX from the government, and this grant level is not expected to decrease. 
  • The capital monies provided through the BCF will be allocated for spending in line with decisions agreed upon in the BCF spending plan through the appropriate governance structure.

Local Capital from the Council: 

  • The Council may provide capital funding for specific purposes. 

Funding from Anyshire County Council: 

  • Anyshire County Council has duties to consider funding home adaptations in certain circumstances. 

Monies from National Schemes: 

  • We may receive funding from national schemes like energy company obligations. 

Funding from Partners or Other Public Sector Organizations: 

  • We may receive financial support from partners or other public sector organisations to address specific issues.

Funding Obtained from Charitable or Other Sources: 

  • We may secure funding from charitable or other sources on behalf of our customers. 

For social housing tenants of homes in Anytown, funding for mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) comes directly from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) business plans. However, discretionary assistance and loans may vary depending on the type of tenure and may not be available to everyone. 

Our first obligation is to deliver mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants. Additionally, we offer a range of discretionary grants to help older and disabled individuals live independently and safely in their homes. The details of this additional assistance can be found in Appendix B and C of this policy. However, we would not promote this discretionary assistance at the expense of delays to the statutory function under the mandatory grant process. 

If funding allows and after meeting the requirements for mandatory and discretionary assistance, part of the funding may be allocated for specified social care capital projects. The use of this funding freedom should aim to reduce the overall demand for DFGs so that more people can receive the adaptations they need.

Decisions about these allocations will be made in accordance with the jointly agreed BCF spending plan between the Council and the Integrated Care Board. The plan will follow the appropriate BCF Policy Framework and BCF Planning Guidance for the specified year (which includes guidance on Disabled Facilities Grants) and will go through the appropriate governance structure. 

Any necessary changes to grant assistance will be approved through the appropriate governance structures and published on the Council’s website as policy revision amendments. 

Apart from this, there are other types of discretionary housing renewal loan assistance available. The Council collaborates with a socially responsible third-party loan provider to administer a fund for housing improvement loans on our behalf. The availability and accessibility of these loans are strictly administered by the Council and the loan provider. 

The main sources of funding available to support this policy for owner-occupiers, housing association tenants, and private rented tenants are as follows:

Annual Capital Grant from Central Government through the Better Care Fund (BCF): 

  • In 20XX-20XX, we received an allocation of £X,XXX,XXX from the government, and this grant level is not expected to decrease. 
  • The capital monies provided through the BCF will be allocated for spending in line with decisions agreed upon in the BCF spending plan through the appropriate governance structure.

Local Capital from the Council: 

  • The Council may provide capital funding for specific purposes. 

Funding from Anyshire County Council: 

  • Anyshire County Council has duties to consider funding home adaptations in certain circumstances. 

Monies from National Schemes: 

  • We may receive funding from national schemes like energy company obligations. 

Funding from Partners or Other Public Sector Organizations: 

  • We may receive financial support from partners or other public sector organisations to address specific issues.

Funding Obtained from Charitable or Other Sources: 

  • We may secure funding from charitable or other sources on behalf of our customers. 

For social housing tenants of homes in Anytown, funding for mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) comes directly from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) business plans. However, discretionary assistance and loans may vary depending on the type of tenure and may not be available to everyone. 

Our first obligation is to deliver mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants. Additionally, we offer a range of discretionary grants to help older and disabled individuals live independently and safely in their homes. The details of this additional assistance can be found in Appendix B and C of this policy. However, we would not promote this discretionary assistance at the expense of delays to the statutory function under the mandatory grant process. 

If funding allows and after meeting the requirements for mandatory and discretionary assistance, part of the funding may be allocated for specified social care capital projects. The use of this funding freedom should aim to reduce the overall demand for DFGs so that more people can receive the adaptations they need.

Decisions about these allocations will be made in accordance with the jointly agreed BCF spending plan between the Council and the Integrated Care Board. The plan will follow the appropriate BCF Policy Framework and BCF Planning Guidance for the specified year (which includes guidance on Disabled Facilities Grants) and will go through the appropriate governance structure. 

Any necessary changes to grant assistance will be approved through the appropriate governance structures and published on the Council’s website as policy revision amendments. 

Apart from this, other types of discretionary housing renewal loan assistance are available. The Council collaborates with a socially responsible third-party loan provider to administer a fund for housing improvement loans on our behalf. The availability and accessibility of these loans are strictly administered by the Council and the loan provider. 

In this section describe how much capital funding is being committed to the policy, and what is the source of the funding.

At the current time, an annual government BCF (DFG) allocation is received. The policy should describe this funding. It should explain the level of money that has increased over the last 5 years based on the government knowing the vital role DFG’s play in person-centered integrated care, with housing, health and social care, and other public services enabling older and vulnerable people to live healthily, fulfilled, independent and longer lives.

  • The level of capital resources allocated
  • The source and differences by tenure that will be committed to implementing the policy:
  • Central DFG (Better Care Fund) – Explanation that it is an annual allocation with the last value of allocation received. Provide information on the levels of government funding received over the last 5 years and the on-going government commitment.
  • Detail of the council’s general fund committed to the delivery of the housing assistance
  • Detail of any other Funding Sources – specific grants from government or partners
  • Explanation that Mandatory DFGs are not reliant on funding being available.
  • Explanation that the Discretionary Funding is reliant on the funding being available.
  • Describe if a top slice of the DFG capital resource has been agreed upon, the amount, the purpose, and the intended outcome. Where long-term commitments are not known, there should be a mechanism for reviewing and amending the policy.

Equity and Diversity

We believe in treating everyone fairly and promoting equality while preventing discrimination on any basis. This policy will be applied consistently to all residents, taking into account the unique needs of individuals and communities. We will not discriminate against anyone, and we will take proactive measures to reduce discrimination and harassment. 

The Housing Assistance Policy complies with the law and addresses all the “protected characteristics” outlined in the Equalities Act 2010. Our aim is to ensure equal opportunities and fair treatment for everyone in our community. 

Summary of Assistance

The following tables provide a summary of the assistance provided through each of the schemes available under this policy. Full details of each scheme, how to apply, and conditions can be found in Appendix B. 

All assistance provided through this policy is discretionary (except for Disabled Facilities Grants) and is therefore subject to funding availability. 

The Council reserves the right to make minor amendments to the eligibility criteria, level of grant or assistance using the delegated authority of the Director of XXXXXX Services if it can be demonstrated that any such changes will help the Council better meet its strategic housing objectives and/or Better Care Fund metrics. 

Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) 

This grant is set out within legislation and outlines the local variations that Anytown Council have adopted regarding the inclusion of warranty costs and local council tax reduction as a passporting benefit. See Appendix A for full details. 

Disabled Facilities Grants 
Eligible Applicants  The owner, tenant or occupier of a dwelling where a disabled person intends to live for the next 5 years 
Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  Where the applicant is an owner-occupier and the grant value id over of £5,000, a local land charge will apply for 10 years. 
Warranty Provision  A 5-year warranty is included in the purchase cost of all lifts and wash/dry toilets. 
Maximum Value  £30,000 or as per the current statutory limit 
Means Test  Works are subject to the statutory means test as set out in legislation, with a local amendment to include Local Council Tax Reduction (not single-person reduction) as a passporting benefit. 

The means test does not apply to disabled children and young people.  

Additional Discretionary Assistance linked to a DFG Application 

Any applications and awards of the following forms of assistance need to be linked to an ongoing DFG application. No stand-alone applications for these forms of assistance will be considered. 

Discretionary Top-Up Grant 
Purpose of Grant  This is discretionary grant to top up a DFG to carry out works that are above the current mandatory limit of £30,000. 
Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for a DFG 
Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  The full value of this grant awarded would be placed as a lifetime land charge from the date of completion of works for owner-occupiers only. 

This is in addition to any Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant land charge 

Maximum Value  Up to an additional £20,000 (£50,000 in total) can be approved by the Disabled Facilities Grant Service Manager 

Amounts above £20,000 (and more than £50,000 in total) to be approved by the Director of XXXXXXX Services. 

Means Test  No additional means test applied 
Eligible works  Available towards the cost of DFG eligible works only. Not available for equipment that isn’t normally provided via the DFG. 

Anytown Council will work with Anyshire County Council, taking into consideration their powers to contribute funding towards adaptations under the Care Act and the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act. 

Limitations  One application in any 5-year period 
Client Contribution Support 
Purpose of Grant  This is a discretionary grant to support applicants who are assessed as having a means-tested contribution that is unaffordable. 

It is also available in cases where the disabled person has a rapidly progressive disorder resulting in a life expectancy of under 2 years. 

Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for Mandatory DFG 
Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  The full value of any grant awarded other than the initial £1,500 contribution reduction would be placed as a lifetime land charge from the date of completion of works 
Maximum Value  £10,000 
Means Test  DFG means test 
Eligible works  Available towards the cost of DFG-eligible works only. 
Limitations  Funding will be reviewed on an individual case basis 
Eligible Applicants  Eligibility for funding will be assessed based on a banded basis: 
Assessed Contribution  Under £1,500  Over £1,501 
   Contributions will be reduced in full and funded by this grant  Funding of up to £1,500 will be automatically available 

Funding for contributions above this level, (up to the maximum award of £10,000) will be subject to the applicant being able to prove they have insufficient funds available to pay their assessed contribution (i.e. less than £10,000 in savings) 

  
Professional Fees Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  To pay incurred professional fees which were necessary as part of a mandatory DFG application that was unable to proceed through no fault of the applicant or the DFG Service. To ensure applicants are not left liable for fees that might place them in financial hardship. 
Eligible Applicants  Those determined as eligible for Mandatory DFG 

  

Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  No 
Maximum Value  £2,500 
Means Test  No additional means test 
Eligible works  Fees approved by the service Manager where the DFG does not proceed 

Fees are paid directly to the Professional providing the service 

Limitations  Fees will not be eligible for payment under this scheme unless the application cannot proceed due to circumstances beyond the control of either the applicant or the Council’s DFG Service. 
Safe & Secure Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  A grant of up to £5,000 for emergency works, which can be administered quickly to remedy an urgent situation that has arisen through adaptation being undertaken. 
Eligible Applicants  Owner-Occupiers who have owned and lived in the property for a period of at least 5 years prior to application and have made an application for a DFG 
Property Tenure  Owner occupiers only 
Land Charge  The full value of any grant awarded will be placed as a lifetime land charge from the date of completion of works 
Maximum Value  £5,000 
Means Test  Applicants must be in receipt of a DFG ‘Passporting’ Benefit 
Eligible works  Repair works that are required to support or facilitate the completion of works under a DFG. 
Limitations  Only 1 application in any 5-year period 
Help to Move Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  Where it is not possible, necessary, appropriate, practical, or reasonable to adapt someone’s current home, a loan of up to £5,000 can be obtained to assist with the costs of relocating to a more suitable property. 
Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for Mandatory DFG. 

Any applications for this assistance will be supported by a social care occupational therapist and options regarding adaptations to the current home will already have been explored. 

Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  None 
Maximum Value  £5,000 
Means Test  No additional means test to the Mandatory DFG 
Eligible works  The specific eligible relocation expenses are: 

  •  Estate agent fees 
  •  Solicitor costs 
  •  Survey costs 
  •  Stamp duty 
  •  Removal expenses 
  •  Disconnection/reconnection of appliances 
  •  Occupational therapy assessment costs for assessing properties 
Limitations 
  •  Applicants must be moving from a property which is their main residence and is within the Anytown Council area to another property which will become their main residence. 
  • Assistance will not be given towards the purchase price of a property. 
  •  Applications must be supported by a Social Care Occupational Therapist who must confirm that the new property will meet the needs of the disabled person or be suitable for adaptation at a reasonable cost. 
  • If the move is aborted at the fault or choice of the applicant, costs will not be paid. 
Think Ahead Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  Works to make the home ‘dementia’ friendly or to meet sensory needs and to help the individual to live safely, manage their own surroundings, and retain/develop their independence. 
Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for Mandatory DFG. 

Any applications for this assistance will be supported by a social care occupational therapist. 

Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  None 
Maximum Value  £2,500 
Means Test  No means test 
Eligible works   

To give personal choice to a person about how and where to meet their future care needs and focusing on being able to remain living safely, independently, and well at home for as long as possible 

 

Limitations   

Must remain in the property as only or main residence for 5 years 

 

 

This section should include a summary of the different types of grant types, and an outline of the aims and outcomes provided through each of the schemes. If you have a number of different grant types it is good to split them into defined sections within the policy e.g.

  • Mandatory DFG
  • Discretionary Assistance linked to and/or aiding the delivery of the mandatory DFG
  • Additional Discretionary Assistance supporting the delivery of the Better Care Fund Plan and health and social care outcomes
  • Other types of discretionary assistance not funded through the Better Care Fund DFG allocation
  • Loans

Remember this is a summary and does not need to cover all the detailed elements of each grant type. You can let the reader know where to find all this information within your policy.

You should also use this section to cover the point that all assistance within the policy is discretionary, except for the Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant, and is subject to the council having sufficient resources.

This section is a summary of the Mandatory DFG grant and the other types of assistance available fulfilling one of the RRO conditions. This can be included as a list of the grant types and a link to an appendix to your policy and formatted within a table. It is also good practice to develop an easy-read and accessible format for your customers. It should provide a description of the:

  • types of assistance available
  • Preliminary information and advice/triage process
  • Minor Adaptations if applicable,
  • Mandatory Adaptations,
  • Discretionary,
  • Loans
  • Other
  • the circumstances in which people will be eligible for assistance
  • what the assistance will be used for:
  • purchase a new home (whether within or outside their area) where the authority either purchases their existing home or is satisfied that purchasing a new home would provide a similar benefit to adapting to their current home.
  • adapt or improve their home (including by alteration, conversion, enlargement, or installation of equipment or insulation).
  • repair their home.
  • demolish their home and build a replacement.
  • Consider the approach used to install the adaptation recommended in the National DFG
Nine guiding principles for installing adaptations
Need to retain or restore dignity Need for good communication as part of giving choice
Need to have values recognised Need for light
Need for relief from pain, discomfort and danger Needs of children: to provide for growth and change; need for space
Need to minimize barriers to independence Needs of other family members and of the family as a whole
Need for some element of choice  
  • what key outcomes will be achieved by each form of assistance fulfilling corporate and the Better Care Fund outcome measures?

Delivery of Assistance

The following tables provide a summary of the assistance provided through each of the schemes available under this policy. Full details of each scheme, how to apply, and conditions can be found in Appendix B. 

All assistance provided through this policy is discretionary (except for Disabled Facilities Grants) and is therefore subject to funding availability. 

The Council reserves the right to make minor amendments to the eligibility criteria, level of grant or assistance using the delegated authority of the Director of XXXXXX Services if it can be demonstrated that any such changes will help the Council better meet its strategic housing objectives and/or Better Care Fund metrics. 

Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) 

This grant is set out within legislation and outlines the local variations that Anytown Council have adopted regarding the inclusion of warranty costs and local council tax reduction as a passporting benefit. See Appendix A for full details. 

Disabled Facilities Grants 
Eligible Applicants  The owner, tenant or occupier of a dwelling where a disabled person intends to live for the next 5 years 
Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  Where the applicant is an owner-occupier and the grant value id over of £5,000, a local land charge will apply for 10 years. 
Warranty Provision  A 5-year warranty is included in the purchase cost of all lifts and wash/dry toilets. 
Maximum Value  £30,000 or as per the current statutory limit 
Means Test  Works are subject to the statutory means test as set out in legislation, with a local amendment to include Local Council Tax Reduction (not single-person reduction) as a passporting benefit.
The means test does not apply to disabled children and young people.  

Additional Discretionary Assistance linked to a DFG Application 

Any applications and awards of the following forms of assistance need to be linked to an ongoing DFG application. No stand-alone applications for these forms of assistance will be considered. 

Discretionary Top-Up Grant 
Purpose of Grant  This is discretionary grant to top up a DFG to carry out works that are above the current mandatory limit of £30,000. 
Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for a DFG 
Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  The full value of this grant awarded would be placed as a lifetime land charge from the date of completion of works for owner-occupiers only.
This is in addition to any Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant land charge 
Maximum Value  Up to an additional £20,000 (£50,000 in total) can be approved by the Disabled Facilities Grant Service Manager
Amounts above £20,000 (and more than £50,000 in total) to be approved by the Director of XXXXXXX Services. 
Means Test  No additional means test applied 
Eligible works  Available towards the cost of DFG eligible works only. Not available for equipment that isn’t normally provided via the DFG.
Anytown Council will work with Anyshire County Council, taking into consideration their powers to contribute funding towards adaptations under the Care Act and the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act. 
Limitations  One application in any 5-year period 
Client Contribution Support 
Purpose of Grant  This is a discretionary grant to support applicants who are assessed as having a means tested contribution that is unaffordable.
It is also available in cases where the disabled person has rapidly progressive disorder resulting in a life expectancy of under 2 years. 
Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for Mandatory DFG 
Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  The full value of any grant awarded other than the initial £1,500 contribution reduction would be placed as a lifetime land charge from the date of completion of works 
Maximum Value  £10,000 
Means Test  DFG means test 
Eligible works  Available towards the cost of DFG eligible works only. 
Limitations  Funding will be reviewed on an individual case basis 
Eligible Applicants  Eligibility for funding will be assessed based on a banded basis: 
Assessed Contribution  Under £1,500  Over £1,501 
   Contributions will be reduced in full and funded by this grant  Funding of up to £1,500 will be automatically available.
Funding for contributions above this level, (up to the maximum award of £10,000) will be subject to the applicant being able to prove they have insufficient funds available to pay their assessed contribution (i.e. less than £10,000 in savings) 
  
Professional Fees Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  To pay incurred professional fess which were necessary as part of a mandatory DFG application that was unable to proceed through no fault of the applicant or the DFG Service. To ensure applicants are not left liable for fees that might place them in financial hardship. 
Eligible Applicants  Those determined as eligible for Mandatory DFG 
Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  No 
Maximum Value  £2,500 
Means Test  No additional means test 
Eligible works  Fees approved by the service Manager where the DFG does not proceed. Fees are paid directly to the Professional providing the service 
Limitations  Fees will not be eligible for payment under this scheme unless the application cannot proceed due to circumstances beyond the control of either the applicant or the Council’s DFG Service. 
Safe & Secure Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  A grant of up to £5,000 for emergency works, which can be administered quickly to remedy an urgent situation that has arisen through adaptation being undertaken. 
Eligible Applicants  Owner-Occupiers who have owned and lived in the property for a period of at least 5 years prior to application and have made an application for a DFG 
Property Tenure  Owner occupiers only 
Land Charge  The full value of any grant awarded will be placed as a lifetime land charge from the date of completion of works 
Maximum Value  £5,000 
Means Test  Applicants must be in receipt of a DFG ‘Passporting’ Benefit 
Eligible works  Repair works that are required to support or facilitate the completion of works under a DFG. 
Limitations  Only 1 application in any 5-year period 
Help to Move Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  Where it is not possible, necessary, appropriate, practical, or reasonable to adapt someone’s current home, a loan of up to £5,000 can be obtained to assist with costs of relocating to a more suitable property. 
Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for Mandatory DFG. Any applications for this assistance will be supported by a social care occupational therapist and that options regarding adaptations to the current home will already have been explored. 
Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  None 
Maximum Value  £5,000 
Means Test  No additional means test to the Mandatory DFG 
Eligible works  The specific eligible relocation expenses are: 

  •  Estate agent fees 
  •  Solicitor costs 
  •  Survey costs 
  •  Stamp duty 
  •  Removal expenses 
  •  Disconnection/reconnection of appliances 
  •  Occupational therapy assessment costs for assessing properties 
Limitations 
  •  Applicants must be moving from a property which is their main residence and is within the Anytown Council area to another property which will become their main residence. 
  • Assistance will not be given towards the purchase price of a property. 
  •  Applications must be supported by a Social Care Occupational Therapist who must confirm that the new property will meet the needs of the disabled person or be suitable for adaptation at a reasonable cost. 
  • If the move is aborted at the fault or choice of the applicant, costs will not be paid. 
Think Ahead Grant 
Purpose of Assistance  Works to make the home ‘dementia’ friendly or to meet sensory needs and to help the individual to live safely, manage their own surroundings, and retain/develop their independence. 
Eligible Applicants  Those eligible for Mandatory DFG. Any applications for this assistance will be supported by a social care occupational therapist. 
Property Tenure  All tenures 
Land Charge  None 
Maximum Value  £2,500 
Means Test  No means test 
Eligible works  To give personal choice to a person about how and where to meet their future care needs and focusing on being able to remain living safely, independently, and well at home for as long as possible  
Limitations   Must remain in the property as only or main residence for 5 years 

 

 

 

 

The policy should describe the method of applying for mandatory assistance. An application must be made in writing and it is permissible to create your own user-friendly application form. It should be clearly set out, including:

  • Describing if there is an online and hardcopy application form – the process should not restrict applicants with no internet access or reduced literacy skills.
  • Is there advice and assistance for those who may struggle to apply and how is this accessed or who have questions about the policy or processes?
  • Give a detailed explanation of the means test that will be undertaken and any passporting arrangements.
  • Explain the two eligibility elements necessary and appropriate and reasonable and practicable that must be satisfied to apply for a DFG (Disabled Facilities Grant):

Necessary and Appropriate

Remember the DFG legislation does not specify that an Occupational Therapist needs to be used in every DFG case to assess if the adaptation is necessary and appropriate. Consider how to make the best use of the staff resource, deal with any waiting list issues and provide timely service to applicants.

The OT/Trusted Assessor need to consider whether adaptations:​

  • Are needed for a care plan that will enable the disabled occupant to remain living at home as independently as possible​
  • Would meet, as far as practicable, the assessed needs of the disabled person​
  • Distinguish between what is desirable and what is actually needed​

Housing authorities themselves must decide what action to take on the basis of that advice and therefore the type of adaptations, if any, for which grant is approved (2015 Guidance​). This is where effective joined-up working processes are needed and/or an integrated team to support the delivery of a seamless process to the applicant.

“Needed” can be funded by the DFG. Desirable should also be discussed and may be possible using a discretionary grant or other funding sources.

Reasonable and Practicable

If the therapist/trusted assessor/other nominated person can demonstrate that it is necessary and appropriate for a customer to apply for a DFG, a referral is made to the Adaptations Team.  The Adaptations Team will then determine whether it is reasonable and practicable to proceed with the application.

There are situations where these two conditions cannot be met, and therefore the provisions of the RRO may be used to provide the needed flexibility to the traditional DFG arrangements.

  • Give any relevant timescales for the return of the application should be stated, and consequences if the application is not made in time or with the correct information

Describe the list of documentation that is required

Fees and Other Charges

The Council will consider reasonable fees for financial assistance. 

The following fees can be covered by financial assistance if they are incurred during the application process for mandatory disabled facilities grant funding: 

  • Confirmation, if required by the Council, of the applicant’s relevant ownership interest. 
  • Relevant legal fees. 
  • Technical and structural surveys. 
  • Design and preparation of plans and drawings. 
  • Preparation of schedules of relevant works. 
  • Assistance in completing forms. 
  • Applications for building regulations approval (including application fee and related documents), planning permission, listed building consent, and conservation area consent (and similar). 
  • Obtaining estimates. 
  • Consideration of tenders. 
  • Supervision of the relevant works. 
  • Disconnection and reconnection of utilities if needed due to the works. 
  • Payment to contractors. 
  • In cases where the application is for adaptations support, reasonable services, and charges of a (private) Occupational Therapist in relation to the relevant works. 

Please note that if a private occupational therapist is used, the Council will still consult with the Council’s Occupational Therapy Service to determine which works are eligible for Disabled Facilities Grant funding. 

Making Payments

The assistance will only be paid under the following conditions: 

  • The assisted works must be completed within 12 months of approval, unless the delay was caused by the Council or an extension due to exceptional circumstances is agreed upon. Requests for extensions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 
  • The assisted works must be carried out according to the specifications outlined in the formal approval or with prior agreement from the Council. 
  • The Council and the applicant must be satisfied with the completed works. 
  • The Council must receive an invoice, demand, or receipt for payment in an acceptable format. The invoice should be addressed to the applicant c/o the Council and include sufficient detail for the Council to identify the works carried out, the charges, and any agreed-upon variations. Applicants or family members should not produce the invoice. 

The payment of assistance to the contractor can be made via the applicant or, if requested in the original application, directly to the contractor engaged by the applicant. 

The assistance may be paid in one lump sum upon satisfactory completion of the works or in staged payments as the work progresses. Interim payments will only be made if the Council is satisfied that the value of work completed exceeds the claimed value to date. A maximum of three stage payments and a final payment will be considered. 

The contract for works funded by Disabled Facilities Grants, along with associated assistance, will be between the applicant and the contractor, as specified in the legislation. While the Council’s Standing Orders regarding Procurement do not directly apply since the Council is not entering into a contract, Anytown Home Improvement Agency will still follow the same principles when obtaining quotes on behalf of supported applicants to ensure appropriate services are provided. 

The provision of assistance other than mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants is subject to the availability of funding. All applications will be evaluated based on the identified needs and circumstances of the applicant or household. 

Any associated costs incurred during the application process, such as Architects’ fees or Land Registry charges, will be included in the value of any awarded funding and will not be paid separately, except for exceptional circumstances where works cannot proceed, and such costs may be eligible for discretionary assistance. 

The provision of mandatory grants and discretionary financial assistance will be subject to internal and external auditing to ensure proper procedures are in place and followed, and that public funds are appropriately utilised. 

Restrictions

There are certain cases where we may not be able to provide assistance or where the funding may be reduced or reclaimed. These situations are outlined below: 

  1. Assistance cannot be provided when there is a dispute over property ownership. 
  2. If the property owner(s) have a legal obligation to carry out the necessary works and it is reasonable for them to do so, we may not offer assistance. 
  3. Assistance is not typically provided for temporary residences. 
  4. Normally, we cannot give assistance for works that were started before formal approval of the application. However, in exceptional circumstances, we may exempt an application from this condition, such as when a defect poses serious risks to health and safety. 
  5. We do not provide grant assistance for works covered by insurance. If an applicant can make an insurance claim, the assistance amount will be reduced by the insurance company’s liability. We will require the applicant to pursue relevant insurance claims and repay the assistance provided if applicable. 
  6. We will only offer assistance if the property’s age, condition, and structural layout make it feasible to achieve the required scope of works. 
  7. The Council will assess the prices provided by contractors to ensure value for money, comparing them with similar jobs priced within the last year.
  8. If we find that the price quoted by contractors is too high, we may advise the client that the total eligible assistance will be the lower amount.
  9. If the client chooses a different or enhanced scheme of works, we will only provide financial assistance for the primary requirements identified by the Occupational Therapy Service or a similar service.
  10. We may refuse an application lacking required information or documentation. 
  11. Deviating from the approved scheme of works without prior agreement may lead to the approval being rescinded or further payments of assistance being refused. 
  12. If the applicant ceases to be the owner of the property before the works are completed, they must repay the total amount of assistance received. 
  13. A grant condition imposing a liability to repay assistance may be registered as a Local Land Charge, payable upon the property’s sale. 
  14. Works must be completed within 12 months of approval, with a possible extension of up to 6 months if agreed by the Council. 
  15. For common parts of a dwelling, assistance will only cover the applicant’s reasonable share of the liability. 
  16. In exceptional cases, the Council may defer payment of a Disabled Facilities Grant for up to 12 months. 
  17. Assistance may be provided for caravans and houseboats used as main residences, subject to eligibility requirements. Holiday residences, caravans on holiday sites, second homes, and sheds or outbuildings do not qualify for assistance. 
  18. If there are unique situations where individuals genuinely need urgent support but are precluded from accessing assistance due to specific aspects, the Council may consider offering assistance in exceptional circumstances, especially if it helps meet strategic objectives. Such decisions will be made by the relevant officer. 

Other Requirements

When granting approval for assistance, the Council may impose additional conditions. Some examples of these conditions are: 

  1. The applicant may be required to contribute towards the cost of the works. 
  2. The Council may have the right to nominate tenants for available rental housing. 
  3. The applicant must commit to maintaining the property in good repair after the assisted works are completed. 
  4. If specialised equipment is provided as part of the assistance, the Council or its appointed agent may reclaim the equipment when it is no longer needed. 

Decisions, Notifications and Changes

Once the Council reviews the application, they will inform the applicant in writing about the decision, whether it’s approved or refused. The notification will be sent as soon as practically possible, within six months of receiving a complete and valid application. 

If the application is approved, the notification will specify the eligible works, the amount of assistance provided, and the builder/contractor assigned to carry out the works. In some cases, for a Disabled Facilities Grant, the council may defer payment for up to 12 months due to financial or operational reasons. This will be clearly stated in the approval notice. 

If the application for assistance is declined, the Council will provide reasons for the refusal and explain the process for appealing the decision. 

In certain situations where circumstances beyond the applicant’s control cause the cost of the works to increase or decrease unexpectedly, the Council may review the financial assistance given. If deemed appropriate, they will issue a re-approval notice reflecting the changes. 

This section will need to describe how the service or appointed agent notifies an applicant when their application has been approved or refused and the timeframe for this.

For a mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant this is prescribed in the Housing, Grants and Construction Act 1996:

  • It must be in writing
  • The decision will be notified as soon as reasonably practical and, in any event, no later than six months after receipt of a full and valid application.
  • If the application is approved, the notification will specify the eligible works, the value of the assistance and the builder/contractor who will execute the works.
  • In the case of a Disabled Facilities Grant the council may, where financial or operational demands dictate, defer payment of the assistance for a period not exceeding 12 months. Any deferment will be detailed within the grant approval notice.
  • If the application for Assistance is refused, the council or its Appointed Agent will give the reasons for the refusal and confirm the procedure for appealing the decision.
  • Where Assistance has been approved and the council or following consultation with its appointed Agent are satisfied that through circumstances beyond the control of the applicant which could not have reasonably been foreseen, the cost of the assisted works has either increased or decreased, the council may, at their discretion re-determine the assistance given and notify the applicant accordingly by the issue of a reapproval notice.
  • Additional works or deviations from the approved works carried out without prior approval of the council or its appointed Agent will not be considered for any increased financial assistance and would remain the responsibility of the applicant to fund.

Appeals

If you’ve applied for assistance and your application was not considered or refused, you have the right to request a review of the decision. To do this, you must submit a written request to the Council within 28 days of receiving the decision letter. We will then conduct a review and inform you of the outcome in writing. 

If you remain dissatisfied with the review decision, you have two options:  

  1. You can go through the council’s Corporate Complaints procedure to address your concerns. 
  2. Alternatively, you can approach the Local Government Ombudsman for further assistance. 

Exceptions to the policy may be considered only in cases of exceptional circumstances where you cannot reasonably fund or carry out the necessary work. 

If you have complaints related to the service delivery rather than the policy itself, you should direct those to the Council. We will investigate your complaint following our Complaints Procedure [add link].. 

Any additional works or alterations carried out without prior approval from the council will not be considered for increased financial assistance. The responsibility for funding such changes will remain with the applicant. 

Service Standards

There are no national standard for the services provided through this policy except a statutory requirement for Councils to determine valid and fully made applications for mandatory disabled facilities grant within six months. This does not account for pre-application activities such as the screening process and the ‘application support’ and administration including occupational therapy assessment, means testing, producing specifications, finding contractors, etc.  

In accordance with government guidance, Anytown Council is aiming to reduce the timescales for the delivery stages of home adaptations funded by a disabled facilities grant. The timescales for moving through these stages will depend upon the urgency and complexity of the adaptations required. More urgent cases will be prioritised for action, but larger and more complex schemes will take longer to complete. The following table sets out best practice targets, which we aim to meet in 95% of cases.

Urgency and complexity  Compiling the application  Grant approvals  Carrying out the works  Total 
Urgent & Simple  25  5  20  50 working days 
Non-urgent & Simple  50  20  40  110 workings days 
Urgent & Complex  45  5  60  110 working days 
Non-urgent & Complex  55  20  80  155 working days 

 

Local Performance

This section should show the local performance indicators and targets that will be used to measure the progress made by policy implementation towards meeting the authority’s strategic aims, objectives and priorities and the fulfilment of corporate strategies.

Consultation and Implementation

This policy has been developed through extensive consultation with various partners. We conducted one-to-one interviews, and workshops, and shared early drafts and options of the policy with stakeholders. Additionally, we conducted a survey and telephone interviews with past and current customers of the service. To involve a broader audience, we made the draft policy available for online comments. The feedback we received was valuable in shaping the final policy. 

The formal endorsement of the policy took place at the Anytown Council cabinet meeting on XX XXXX 20XX. This policy will come into effect from XX XXXX 20xx, and it will apply only to full applications received after this date. Please note that applications for discretionary assistance outlined in this policy cannot be made for past works; they must be applied for after the policy takes effect. 

To ensure the policy remains effective and up-to-date, we will review it bi-annually or as needed based on available funding for assistance and any changes in legislation or identified best practices.

This policy has been developed through extensive consultation with various partners. We conducted one-to-one interviews, and workshops, and shared early drafts and options of the policy with stakeholders. Additionally, we conducted a survey and telephone interviews with past and current customers of the service. To involve a broader audience, we made the draft policy available for online comments. The feedback we received was valuable in shaping the final policy. 

The formal endorsement of the policy took place at the Anytown Council cabinet meeting on XX XXXX 20XX. This policy will come into effect from XX XXXX 20xx, and it will apply only to full applications received after this date. Please note that applications for discretionary assistance outlined in this policy cannot be made for past works; they must be applied for after the policy takes effect. 

To ensure the policy remains effective and up-to-date, we will review it bi-annually or as needed based on available funding for assistance and any changes in legislation or identified best practices.

The final section should describe the policy’s implementation plan:

  • How has the policy been consulted with partners and the public?
  • The formal mechanism for endorsement and date of policy commencement,
  • The methodology for monitoring the policy performance and targets and how this will be reported publicised,
  • The frequency the policy will be reviewed and the circumstances that might necessitate an earlier review of the policy document.

Appendix A: Disabled Facilities Grants

This section is provided for context and information purposes and contains a means test amendment specific to Anytown. 

The Council will grant mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) in accordance with the relevant legislation, mainly the 1996 Act, as well as subordinate Regulations and Orders (including any amendments) and non-statutory guidance issued by central Government. 

This section sets out how Anytown Council will make decisions on applications for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs). The four main elements of a decision are: 

  • The Disabled Occupant 
  • The Eligible Works 
  • The Amount of Grant 
  • The Grant Conditions 

Once a formal application has been properly submitted, the Council is under a duty to consider it. 

The Disabled Occupant 

A “disabled occupant” is a “disabled person” who needs adaptations to a dwelling, houseboat or caravan where they intend to live as their only or main residence for the next 5 years. 

A disabled person 

To be eligible for a DFG a person is disabled if: 

  • their sight, hearing or speech is substantially impaired, 
  • they have a mental disorder or impairment of any kind, or 
  • they have a substantial physical disability by illness, injury or impairment. 

AND that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities 

A substantial effect on day-to-day activities means one that’s ‘more than minor or trivial’. The effect on their normal day-to-day activities might be substantial if the disabled person has more than one impairment. The effects might only be ‘minor or trivial’ if they have very little effect on their daily life like if the only effect on them is that they have to stop for a few minutes rest after walking for a mile at a normal pace. 

A long-term effect means something that has affected them or is likely to affect them for at least a year. The impairment will also still be considered to be long-term if it’s likely to affect the disabled person for the rest of your life even if that’s going to be less than a year. 

Where they intend to live 

A DFG is available to fund facilities for a disabled person in:  

  • dwellings,  
  • qualifying houseboats and caravans, and 
  • in the common parts of buildings containing one or more flats where they live. 

A “dwelling” is defined as a building (or part of a building, e.g. a flat) occupied as separate premises. This includes dwellings where someone lives as part of their employment, like a farm cottage or a flat over a shop. 

Where more than one disabled person lives at the same address, the Council can consider multiple applications based on individual needs. 

The applicant 

A valid application can only be made by the owner, tenant or occupant of the property where the disabled person is going to live – so in many cases, this will not be the disabled person themself. 

An applications CAN NOT be made by: 

  • Anyone under 18 years of age 
  • Any public body like a Local Authority or Clinical Commissioning Group 
  • A “person from abroad”. 

 A valid application can be made by: 

  • someone who has an owner’s interest in the property (either an owner-occupier or a landlord); 
  • a tenant of a dwelling; or 
  • the occupant of a caravan or houseboat.

An owner’s application must be accompanied by a certificate which confirms that they: 

  • already have or propose to acquire an owner’s interest; and 
  • intend that the disabled person will live in the dwelling as their only or main residence for the grant condition period (5 years). 

A tenant’s application must be accompanied by a certificate which confirms that they: 

  • are making a tenant’s application; and 
  • intend that the disabled person will live in the dwelling as their only or main residence for the grant condition period (5 years). 

All tenant applications should also be accompanied by an owner’s certificate signed by the landlord unless the Council thinks it is unreasonable to do so in the circumstances. 

An occupant’s application must be accompanied by a certificate which confirms that they: 

  • are making an occupant’s application; and 
  • intend that the disabled person will live in the dwelling as their only or main residence for the grant condition period (5 years). 

Unless the local authority thinks it is unreasonable to do so in the circumstances, all occupant’s applications should also be accompanied by a consent certificate signed by owners of the houseboat and mooring or the caravan and caravan park. 

Each certificate confirms the intention of the applicant at the time of the application and so long as that was genuinely their intention, no repayment of grant is required if circumstances change and the disabled person can no longer occupy it as intended. 

The grant condition period starts when the works are completed to the satisfaction of the Council. 

The Eligible Works

The “relevant works” are those adaptations which may meet certain “purposes” and are included within an application as being “necessary and appropriate” and “reasonable and practicable” to meet the needs of the disabled occupant. 

The purposes for which a grant can be are approved are: 

  1. Making it easier for the disabled person to access and leave the dwelling, houseboat, or park home. 
  2. Ensuring the dwelling, houseboat, or park home is safe for the disabled person and others living with them.
  3. Improving access to a room used as the main family area.
  4. Improving access to a room used for sleeping.
  5. Improving access to a room with a lavatory or facilitating the use of such a facility for the disabled person.
  6. Improving access to a room with a bath or shower, or facilitating the use of such a facility for the disabled person. 
  7. Improving access to a room with a wash hand basin, or facilitating the use of such a facility for the disabled person. 
  8. Making it easier for the disabled person to prepare and cook food. 
  9. Upgrading the heating system to meet the needs of the disabled person or providing a suitable heating system if none exists or the existing one is not suitable. 
  10. Making it easier for the disabled person to access and control sources of power, light, or heat. 
  11. Enhancing access and mobility around the dwelling, houseboat, or park home to enable the disabled person to care for another resident in need of assistance. 
  12. Improving access to and from a garden for the disabled person or making the garden accessible and safe for them. 

These purposes cover a wide range of potential adaptations to cover most circumstances and to meet the adaptation needs of disabled people whose needs are less obvious, such as those with a sight or hearing impairment or a learning disability. 

If one or more purposes have been identified, the Council will consider the “relevant works” to meet those purposes. For example: 

  • A ramp could be the relevant work to meet the purpose of improving access to the home 
  • A stairlift could be the relevant work to meet the purpose of accessing a room used for sleeping. 

For each of the “relevant works” the Council consider whether they are needed and if a grant should be awarded by deciding if they are “necessary & appropriate” and “reasonable & practicable”. 

The Council must also be mindful of achieving the best value for money. Where there are potential alternative options for the relevant works that could meet the required purposes, then the authority would usually choose the lower-cost option. For example, where the purpose is to provide access to a room suitable for sleeping, then a stairlift or utilising an existing ground floor room are likely to be preferred over building a new bedroom. 

There will be some cases where the disabled person and the applicant elect for a higher-cost option. The housing authority will still need to ensure that the works meet the required purposes and are necessary and appropriate, but the grant amount will still be based on the lower-cost option. 

Amount of Grant 

The Council will consider the following when determining the amount of grant: 

  • The reasonable cost of carrying out the eligible works along with the cost of associated services and charges – the “estimated expense”; and 
  • The amount of grant they will pay, taking into account the estimated expense, the means test and the maximum amount of grant. 

Grant applications are normally required to include at least two estimates from different contractors for the costs of the relevant works. 

The contract for carrying out the works will be between the applicant and the contractor which means that public procurement rules do not apply. 

Other services and charges 

The Act allows the cost of certain services and charges to be included with the grant application. These are set out in The Housing Renewal Grants (Services and Charges) Order 1996 and include costs associated with preparing the application and the carrying out of works: 

  1. confirming that the applicant has an owner’s interest; 
  2. technical and structural surveys;
  3. the design and preparation of plans and drawings; 
  4. the preparation of specifications ot schedules of relevant works; 
  5. assistance in completing forms; 
  6. advice on financing the costs of the relevant works which are not met by grant; 
  7. making applications for building regulations approval (including any application fee and the preparation of related documents); 
  8. making applications for planning permission (including any application fee and the preparation of related documents); 
  9. making applications for listed building consent (including any application fee and the preparation of related documents); 
  10. making applications for conservation area consent (including any application fee and the preparation of related documents); 
  11. obtaining tenders/estimates; 
  12. providing advice on building contracts; 
  13. considering tenders; 
  14. supervising the relevant works; disconnecting and reconnecting electricity, gas, water or drainage utilities where this is necessitated by the relevant works; and paying contractors. 

 The services and charges of a private occupational therapist in relation to the relevant works can also be included.  

The Council will cover the cost of a maintenance agreement for a period of five years (where available) from the certified installation date for certain equipment such as stair lifts, through-floor lifts, wash/dry toilets, step-lifts, and similar items that were installed with the assistance of a Disabled Facilities Grant. 

In cases where a maintenance agreement of 5 years is not available from the manufacturer, the Council will fund the maximum warranty period that is available. If a reconditioned stair lift is being installed, any remaining warranty will be extended to the full 5 years if possible. The aim is to ensure that essential equipment remains in good working condition and well-maintained for an extended period after installation. 

The means test 

An application for a  Disabled Facilities Grant will be subject to a means test in accordance with the regulations made under the 1996 Act, including any local amendments within this policy. The maximum mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant award at the time of policy publication is £30,000 minus any contribution required by a ‘means test’ (test of financial resources.  

If the maximum grant limit is changed by statute, then the maximum available Disabled Facilities Grant award by Anytown Council will reflect this. 

If an applicant receives multiple grant awards over time, their assessed contribution to the first grant will be taken into account if it falls within the original contribution period (10 years for owner-occupiers and 5 years for tenants). 

NOTE: where an applicant is in receipt of a recognised, qualifying, means-tested benefit they will not be further means-tested and they will have no calculated contribution to make. Where works are for the benefit of a child or young person up until their 19th birthday or younger at the date of application – they too will be exempt from a means test. 

Anytown Council has also made a decision to reintroduce Local Council Tax Reduction (LCTR) as a qualifying benefit for applicants applying for Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants. Applicants who receive LCTR will now be able to apply for a mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant without having to undergo the means test. This enhancement aims to support more individuals in accessing the grants they need for home adaptations. 

Grant conditions 

The following conditions may apply to an award of a Disabled Facilities Grant: 

Future occupation of the dwelling  

It is a condition that for 5 years from the date of completion of the works, the dwelling is occupied in accordance with the intention stated in the certificate submitted as part of the application.   

Local Land Charge 

Anytown Council will impose a local land charge on a dwelling, if it is sold or otherwise disposed of within ten years of the certified date. 

The charge will only be placed on owner’s applications where the amount of grant exceeds £5,000. The maximum charge is £10,000. 

Where the applicant is a foster carer and the application is associated with a long-term placement, a charge will not usually be placed. 

If a dwelling is sold or disposed of within ten years, the Council will consider whether or not it is reasonable to demand repayment or part repayment of the charge taking into account: 

  • the financial hardship it would cause; 
  • whether the sale is due to an employment-related relocation; 
  • whether the sale is connected with the physical or mental health or well-being of the grant recipient or of a disabled occupant of the premises; and  
  • whether the sale will enable the recipient of the grant to provide care to another disabled person. 

If a grant is initially awarded for an amount of less than £5,000, an applicant will be consulted before the grant is revised if it would result in a charge being placed. 

Deferred payment 

In exceptional circumstances, we reserve the right to defer payment of a grant for up to 12 months after the date of approval. 

Recovery of equipment 

Anytown Council will include a condition that specialist equipment, such as a stairlift, may be recovered where it is no longer required. Where it is clear that the equipment will not be reused because of age or condition the Council may decide to waive this right to recovery. 

Use of contractors 

The works must be performed by the contractor(s) whose estimate was submitted as part of the application. If a different contractor is to carry out the works, the Council’s consent must be obtained beforehand, and a new estimate from the new contractor must be submitted. However, any additional costs resulting from the change in contractor must be covered separately by the applicant. 

The Council will not accept an invoice, demand, or receipt if it is issued by the applicant or a family member. If the applicant or a family member carries out the work, only the cost of materials used will be eligible for financial assistance. 

Completion of the works 

Payment of the grant is conditional on the eligible works being completed within 12 months from the date of approval of the grant. The Council may extend this period if there is a valid reason, and such requests must be made in writing before the 12-month period ends. 

The payment of the grant depends on the works being done to the Council’s satisfaction and upon receiving a satisfactory invoice, demand, or receipt for the works and any related services or changes. 

Usually, the Council will make payments directly to the contractor on behalf of the applicant, not to the applicant themselves. If there is any disagreement about a payment made to the contractor, no payment will be made until the dispute is resolved. However, the Council may make payment directly to the applicant if they have provided the necessary information before grant approval. 

Appendix B: Other Discretionary Grants

This section will include details of the discretionary assistance included within your policy