Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 7 April, 2014
Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety
Disabled Facilities Grant Performance 2013-14 Quarters 2 and 3
Purpose of the Report
1. To advise Members of the Council's performance delivering Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) in quarters 2 and 3 of 2013-14.
1. That the report on performance for delivering Disabled Facilities Grant in quarters 2 and 3 of 2013-14 be noted.
2. That the report be forwarded for information to Housing and Public Protection, Health and Social Care and Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committees.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To advise Cabinet of the Council's performance delivering Disabled Facilities Grant in quarter 2 and 3 of 2013-14.
2. In order for Housing and Public Protection, Health and Social Care and Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committees for information on performance.
2. Since 2008, the Council has acknowledged the time to deliver a DFG, from the first point of contact when clients requested an adaptation through to the delivery of the works, had to be improved. Officer time and financial resources have been invested in the service to secure improvements and this has been reflected in the Council’s subsequent improvement in performance.
3. On the 15th July 2013, Cabinet was presented with a further report on delivery improvements for DFGs to improve the grant delivery time, and detailing further planned improvements for 2013-14 performance. Cabinet resolved that a detailed report on Disabled Facilities Grants be brought to Cabinet on a quarterly basis (C1415).
Relevant Issues and Options
4. The quarterly report for the DFG service performance for quarter 2, 2013-14 is attached in Appendix 1. The quarterly report for the DFG service performance for Quarter 3 2013-14 is provided in Appendix 2
5. The overall DFG performance is within the local targets set, but as can be seen in Appendix 1 the total time to delivery a DFG for children, and therefore the total time to deliver all DFG's, increased in Quarter 2.
6. This decrease in performance is down to two DFG applications in respect of children exceeding 700 days in their delivery from first point of contact to completion. Officers were aware of the presence of these cases in the system and were aware that these long-standing cases would affect performance and this was reflected in the 2013/14 target for children.
7. Below is summary of events in respect of these two cases and why the delivery time was so long.
Case 1 - Total delivery time 700 days
· Issue 1: The client first contacted the Council requesting assistance on the 25/10/2011. The Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment was carried on the 28/08/2012, and the DFG team did not receive the initial OT’s recommendation until the 20/12/2012. This equates to 422 days of the total delivery time.
Action –Adaptations for children to be prioritised. If the child is not already a client of the OT service, the request for an assessment is passed to the OT within the DFG service without delay.
· Issue 2: On the 09/01/13 a survey was carried out and the applicant requested additional work which lay outside the original OT assessment. On the 11/01/13 the surveyor requested additional information from the OT with regards to the applicant's request. It was not until the 28/03/13 that the OT response was received following their investigation into the extra work request. This investigation by the OT involved obtaining further information from Health Colleagues about the need for the work. The request for the extra work was not supported and no amendment was made to the original assessment. Schedule of works and plans for the grant could not be finalised until this request for additional work was confirmed or refused.
Action: The OT employed within the DFG team will reduce the time delay in seeking clarification over assessments. However, in some cases the OT who carried out the original assessment will still be required to be consulted.
· Issue 3: Once on site the builder did not complete work to the correct standard required. The builder was required to carry out remedial work at his cost. In addition, the applicant requested further work which on this occasion was supported by the OT. This required a specialist company to be used. As this work had not been undertaken previously this resulted in a delay whilst suppliers were identified. This equates to 209 days in the total delivery time.
Action: The DFG team are now aware of specialist contractors providing specific services and products so delays can be avoided in sourcing for future cases.
Case 2 - Total delivery time 741 days
· Issue 1: The client first contacted the Council requesting assistance on the 24/08/2011. The OT assessment was carried out on the 13/06/2012, and the DFG team received the initial OT’s recommendation on the 8/08/2012, once research into appropriate adaptations had been carried out by the OT. This equates to 350 days in the total delivery time.
Action – Again, as above the children’s OT assessments for adaptations are now prioritised and forwarded to the DFG Team OT without delay.
· Issue 2: Following the survey of the property plans and a specification were developed before an asbestos survey was requested. This extended the application process.
Action – Asbestos surveys are now commissioned earlier in the process and are undertaken while the schedule of works and plans are produced to reduce the delivery time.
· Issue 3: Once on site there were delays in the main contractor completing their work. This had the knock on-effect of delaying the specialist flooring contractor completing their work, who in turn requested renegotiation of the tender price and the contract period. This request was refused and resulted in the specialist contractor withdrawing from the grant which triggered the need to source another specialist contractor for the specialist play flooring. This equates to 246 days in the total delivery time.
Action: As with case 1, additional specialist contractors have been identified to avoid future delays.
8. In the two cases detailed above, a significant time was occurred while the client waited for the OT assessment. To address this delay in the process Public Protection and Social Services have been working together as follows:
· Requests for assistance for adaptations for children have now been prioritised and are being forwarded to the DFG Team OT without delay.
· In November 2013, a permanent OT employed directly by Public Protection started in post. Working with the agency OT, also employed by Public Protection, the waiting times for an OT assessment is reducing from 3 months in August 2013 to 7 weeks as at the end of February 2014
· The Social Service OT service has amended the method by which clients are recorded for assessments. This has resulted in a separate database being created for clients requesting assistance to adapt their home. This enables the Public Protection OT to clearly indentify their case load, it has also enabled the DFG service to review its processes
· During 2013 it was noted that there was a significant cancellation rate after the OT assessment had been completed and DFG applicants were means tested. To improve customer service and reduce the resource need on the OT service, from January 2014 all new enquiries for adaptations from residents in the private sector are first visited by the DFG Liaison Officer. Clients who do not wish to proceed due to the means test process now withdraw earlier in the process and do not have a DFG OT assessment. However, if the client would still like the advice of an OT, this service is completed by Social Service's OT team.
As a result of bringing the means test forward, in the first two months of this new process 30% of enquires have withdrawn at this early stage helping to address the time clients wait for an OT assessment and to further reduce the DFG process delivery time.
9. The adaptations detailed within this report are for private sector residents that either own their properties or are renting from private landlords. Adaptations required by Council tenants are delivered by Housing Services, while adaptations for housing association tenants are delivered by their housing association supported by Property Adaptation Grants funded directly by Welsh Government.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
10. There are no direct resource implications as a result of this report.
11. There is an identified capital budget for the approval and payment of Disabled Facilities Grants.
12. The Council's Public Protection and Occupational Therapy Service have identified revenue budgets to deliver the service.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
13. The provision of improvements to property will meet current sustainability criteria in terms of building and adaptation methods. The provision of adaptations to allow independent living can also promote sustainable communities.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
14. Housing Authorities in meeting their responsibilities under Housing Act 1985 (To consider housing conditions and provision in their area) are required by the Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act 1970 (CSDP) to have specific regard to the special needs of chronically sick and disabled persons.
15. Social Services have duties and powers under a range of legislation including under the CSDP to disabled adults and children to assist in carrying out adaptation work or provision of additional facilities and in relation to children in Need under the Children Act 1989 to provide services which may include accommodation.
Crime and Disorder Implications
16. There are no implications as a result of this report
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
17. There are no implications as a result of this report
18. Corporate Outcome - Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality, suitable housing and housing advice and support.
19. Development Services Outcome 1 - Residents of the Vale feel safe in their communities, are healthy and have a good quality of life.
20. Development Services Objective 1 - To improve the health and wellbeing of the residents and visitors by delivering a range of targeted and accessible services.
Policy Framework and Budget
21. This report is for executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
22. This report is not ward specific and as a result, Member consultation has not been undertaken.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
23. Social Care and Health
24. Housing and Public Protection
25. Corporate Resources
Cabinet Report 15th July 2013 - Disabled Facilities Grants Delivery Improvements (ML No C1415)
Elen Probert, Principal Housing and Pollution Officer 01446 709833
Legal Services - Mike Walsh, Principal Lawyer
Financial Services - Laura Davies, Finance Officer
Social Services - Suzanne Clifton Operational Manager Adult Locality Services
Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services.