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Agenda Item No. 6

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Audit Committee: 21 September 2015

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Wales Audit Office Report: Is the Disabled Facilities Grant Service (DFG) Providing an Effective Response to User Needs?

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise Members of the results of the review of DFGs undertaken by the Wales Audit Office (WAO) during 2014/15.

Recommendation

That Audit Committee note the contents of the report and refer to Housing & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet for their consideration.

Reason for the Recommendation

To keep the Audit Committee informed and to ensure Members are fully aware of the findings and conclusions of this review.

Background

  1. The Auditor General Wales is required to carry out an audit which discharges its statutory duties and fulfils its obligations under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004, the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Local Government Act 1999 and the Code of Audit Practice. As part of this audit bespoke pieces of work are undertaken as part of an agreed annual Regulatory work programme aimed at enabling the Council to make improvements in economy, efficiency and effectiveness or financial or other management practices.
  2. The review of the Disabled Facilities Grant service forms part of the Vale's Regulatory work programme for 2014/15.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The review focused on whether the Council's Disabled Facilities Grant service was providing an effective response to user needs. A copy of the full report is attached at Appendix 1 detailing the review findings and proposals for improvement.
  2. The WAO concluded that, ' the Council has met its original objective of improving the speed of delivery of DFGs but evaluation focuses on a narrow range of information and service planning is not sufficiently strategic because:
  • the focus on time targets for key stages in the process has improved delivery times and there appears scope for further refinement of processes;
  • performance evaluation has been based upon a narrow range of indicators and there is scope to utilise other service related data to provide a better picture of performance;
  • the Council lacks a strategic plan for the service and data review suggests a probable future reduction in the number of disabled facilities grants at a time when the Council forecasts increasing demand.'
  1. The report makes four proposals for improvement:
  • P1: Implement a process review that assesses arrangements from the service user perspective and has regard to the implementation of change by other councils.
  • P2: Establish a broader range of measures that enable the effectiveness of the DFG service to be evaluated in terms of meeting user needs and the efficiency of resources being deployed as well as monitoring the speed of delivery.
  • P3: Adopt 'plain English' principles to assess revisions necessary to current guidance documents and future publications/advice for service users.
  • P4: Introduce measures that can be used to establish a corporate understanding of the way in which the service and others contribute to supporting independent living.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. None directly from this report although the improvement proposals outlined in the report may have some financial and staff resource implications for the DFG service.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None directly from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Council has a duty to improve under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None directly from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None directly from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Assisting people to live independently in their homes by reducing the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants and delivering the Accessible Homes Policy is a key priority for the Council as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Not applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. The Disabled Facilities Grant service falls within the remit of the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee.

Background Papers

Appendix 1- WAO Report: Is the Disabled Facilities Grant service providing an effective response to user needs? August 2015

Contact Officer

Rob Thomas, Managing Director

Officers Consulted

All relevant Officers have been consulted on the contents of this report:

Head of Performance & Development

Head of Public Protection

Head of Adult Services

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director