This month looking at assessments and feeding back from the DFG Assessment Summit.
Annual DFG Data Returns
Every year the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities asks Housing Authorities to submit data on their DFG programme – the DELTA return.
Foundations support authorities to submit their returns and then carries out high level analysis of the data – publishing an annual snapshot of delivery.
This page now includes a range of interactive charts showing trends in delivery over the last few years. At the end of the page are our links to our reports from previous years.
The £573 million allocated for DFG in 2022-23 represents a 61% increase in
funding for home adaptations since 2015, and Government remains committed to helping older and disabled people to live as independently as possible in their own homes.
DFG is capital funding for the provision of home adaptations to help older and disabled people to live as independently and safely as possible in their homes. Where agreed locally (and in two-tier areas with the express agreement of district councils), a portion of the grant may also be used for wider social care capital projects.
This chart shows the breakdown of DFG by tenure. For comparison we have also included the national tenure split.
Most DFGs continue to be awarded to owner-occupiers. For tenants, there is a significant difference in the numbers receiving help in the private sector compared to those living in social housing.
Please note that this chart does not include any DFGs awarded to local authority tenants (i.e. those living in council housing). Although they are eligible for DFG, their adaptations are funded through the Housing Revenue Account and counted separately.
Amount of grant
From 2009/10 to 2018/19 the average cost of DFGs stayed remarkably stable, with most grants awarded at less than £5,000.
However over the last several years the value of grants has started to increase. The percentage of grants below £5,000 has been steadily falling with grants less than £5,000 no longer accounting for the majority of completions for the second successive year.
The Covid pandemic saw a sharp increase in the proportion of grants exceeding £15,000 (14% in in 2019/20) which returned to 8% the following year. The more significant change after 2020 has been the number of £5,000-£15,000 grants which now account for 45% of completions, having fluctuated around the 35% mark between 2009 and 2020. This seems to indicate an increase in the number of larger complex cases.
The most common adaptations continue to be level access showers and stairlifts.
The maximum amount for a DFG is £30,000. Grants at this value typically fund home extensions to create a ground floor bedroom and shower room for a disabled person who can no longer get safely upstairs.
Increases in funding and the use of housing assistance policies has led to a rise in the number of £30,000+ grants completed in 2021/22, with 174 more of these maximum value grants completed than in 2020/21.
This chart represents the number of Occupational Therapists and Trusted Assessors being used to support DFG delivery in non-metropolitan district councils. It shows that a growing number of trusted assessors are being used to assess less complex cases, in line with the guidance in Adaptations Without Delay.
The growth in the number of trusted assessors is a positive shift. This data however does not include OTs who are working at County Councils, unitary authorities or metropolitan boroughs. By only including the districts, this analysis does not consider if applicants have been assessed previously, nor if they are directly contacting the district council.
Prior to 2018 the return asked about the number of awards for people under 20; people between 20 and 60; and people over 60. Since 2018 the age ranges have been revised to show DFGs awarded to children under 18, people of working age and people over the state retirement age.
Consequently, the number of working age grants has been slightly inflated as it now represents ages 18-65 rather than ages 20-60. Nevertheless, there continues to be a slight downward trend in the proportion of DFGs awarded to older people with very little change from 2020/21 to 2021/22.
For the second time this year’s return asked local authorities whether they collect data on the number of grants completed for individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds. 114 local authorities have records systems that enable them to collect and provide data on the number of grants completed for BAME applicants, up from 106 in 2020/21.
In 2020/21 we looked at the population of the 106 authorities collecting data on BAME applicants to see how the overall demographics compare.
28 of these authorities reported no DFGs being done for people from ethnic minority backgrounds. For these areas, on average 95% of the population is White British.
36 authorities had an ethnic minority population higher than the national average. Of these, 19 reported completing a higher proportion of DFGs for ethnic minorities than the proportion of their local ethnic minority population.
10 report proportions of DFG completions for disabled people from ethnic minority backgrounds 10% greater than their local demographic. These were: 5 London boroughs (Barnet, Kensington & Chelsea, Merton, Lambeth & Southwark), 4 unitary authorities (Bradford, Bedford, Preston & Slough) ; and 1 district council (Oxford).
Local authorities are allowed to place a local land charge where a DFG exceeds £5,000. The amount of the land charge cannot exceed £10,000.
2021/22 saw a large increase in the prevalence of land charges with 81.4% of authorities now placing land charges, up from 53.5% in 2020/21.
The amount of money reclaimed through these charges equates to £5.98m nationally (representing just over 1% of the annual allocation), up from £4.07m in 2020/21.
The amount of money reclaimed through these charges in 2021/22 equates to £23,190 per authority placing a charge, down slightly from £24,203 in 2020/21. This shows that the overall increase in the value of land charges is down to the higher number of local authorities placing them, not through an increase in the value of land charges placed per authority.
Approval and completion times
From the date of submission, local authorities have a maximum period of 6 months (130 working days) to approve or decline a valid application. All but 10 authorities meet this target, with an average of 29 working days. This is an improvement on 2020/21 where 20 authorities failed to meet the target and the average approval time was 37 days.
From the date of approval, adaptation works should be completed within 12 months (260 working days), with the good practice guidance recommending within 80 working days. The average in 2021/22 was 88 working days, down one day from 89 working days in 2020/21.
For anyone over the age of 18 the DFG is means tested. The test is based on the Housing Benefit calculation and compares actual income with an assumed figure based on the household composition.
Several local authorities no longer means test for some or all applicants as part of their Housing Assistance Policy.
Government has announced a consultation on revising the means test in 2022.
While a Local Authority must approve a valid application within 6 months, it does have the option to defer making a payment by up to 12 months from the date of application.
This usually only happens where a Local Authority has a fully committed budget and should only be used as a short-term measure.
In 2021/22 only 8 Local Authorities deferred the payment of grants. This is down from 9 in 2020/21.
Previous DFG Performance Reports
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