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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 15 December, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

Disabled Facilities Grants Performance Report for Quarter 1 and 2 2014-15

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To set out the Council's performance delivering Disabled Facilities Grants during the first 2 quarters of 2014-15 and progress made on process changes. 

Recommendations

1.         That the report on performance for delivering Disabled Facilities Grant during quarters 1 and 2 of 2014-15 be noted.

2.         That the progress made on process changes to improve the delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants be noted.

3.         That the report be forwarded to Housing and Public Protection and Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committees for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To apprise Cabinet on the Council's performance delivering Disabled Facilities Grants during quarter 1 and 2 of 2014-15.

2.         To apprise Cabinet of the progress made to improve the Council's delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants.

3.         In order for Housing and Public Protection, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committees to review the performance of the service.

Background

2.         The Council has a statutory duty to consider and approve applications for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) where there is an identified need and the property can be reasonably adapted. Disabled Facilities Grants fund the adaptation of privately owned homes to allow residents to live as independently as possible in their own home for as long as possible.

3.         The delivery time of Disabled Facilities Grant is a national performance indicator. The Council has previously acknowledged its performance in delivering Disabled Facilities Grants had to be improved, but despite this improvement in 2013/14, the Council remained in the bottom quartile of performance for local authorities in Wales. 

4.         The graph below shows the trend in the Council with regard to reducing the time to deliver DFGs over the past 6 years.

DFG-graph

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         The Disabled Facilities Grant Performance Indicator is measured across all Welsh Local Authorities and reported as a national performance indicator.  The performance indicator seeks to measure the customer's experience of waiting for home adaptations and how it is measured is prescribed within national guidance.  The indicator seeks to measure the time between a resident asking a Council for help to adapt their home to the time their home is adapted.

6.         The indicator only measures the time adaptation takes for works funded by a Disabled Facilities Grant.  There are no equivalent nationally measured performance indicators for adaptations requested and completed within the Council's or Registered Social Landlord housing stock.

7.         The guidance on measuring the DFG delivery time, states the time starts at the point a resident contacts the local authority requesting help with adapting their home, or at the point the Council becomes aware that an adaptation is required for a resident.  This second starting point occurs where the resident is already accessing Council services and through that support the need to adapt their home is identified. The clock stops on a case when the adaptation is completed and safe to use.

8.         Once the clock starts 'ticking', the guidance is clear that the clock cannot be stopped and restarted during the processing of a DFG application.  For example, if a client goes into hospital, on holiday or delays the process for personal circumstances, this time delay is included in the performance time.  Therefore, while we seek to improve the delivery time to improve the applicant's experience, this needs to be balanced with an applicant's choice and circumstances.  If a delay occurs that impacts the delivery time significantly, this will be reported through these performance reports.

9.         Performance of the DFG Service continues to improve during quarter 1 and 2 2014-15. During this period the average time to deliver a DFG has reduced to 217 days.  This improvement is due to the changes made to the service during December 2013 and January 2014.

10.      Compared to the published DFG performance figures for 2013-14 for Welsh Authorities, this performance would have ranked the Council 8th.  If the trend of improvement across all local authorities continues into these 2 quarters, this performance will be close to the Welsh Average.

11.      Paragraph 8 above details the definition of the DFG performance indicator.  This Council measures the delivery time in line with this definition and in the spirit in which the indicator was developed.  However, there is an alternative definition being used by some Councils.  In this alternative, enquiries for assistance to the Council by people wanting help to access their homes and bath are not considered a DFG enquiry until the Occupational Therapist has visited the person and completed an assessment even though they may have specifically asked for a disability adaptation.  If this OT assessment identifies the need for physical adaptation, i.e. a DFG, and not equipment or minor works, this is the point at which the time to deliver a DFG is started when measuring the DFG performance indicator.  If this starting point for the delivery time was used in the Vale of Glamorgan to measure our performance, our delivery time during quarter 1 and 2 would be 161 days. In relation to 2013/14 performance figures, from the information available, this would have placed the authority 2nd using this alternative definition.

12.      A detailed breakdown of the DFG service performance at the half year is attached in the DFG Performance Review in Appendix 1.  This also includes a summary of the customer satisfaction survey results which include client's feedback.

13.      Applicants who have been through the DFG process this year will in due course be invited to a consultation event in early 2015.  This will provide the service with an opportunity to obtain qualitative feedback and help the service understand where further changes can be made to enhance the customer's experience.  Results of this event will be included in the end of year report.

14.      Since November 2014, the Business Improvement Team has also been working with the DFG service using the Business Improvement Toolkit to identify improvements in the administrative process of the DFG service that will assist in improving the service.

15.      In quarter 3, 2014, amended Council DFG customer satisfaction forms will be introduced.  These have generic questions that all local authorities across Wales will be using to enable benchmarking of service quality in addition to service delivery times.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16.      There are no direct resource implications as a result of this report.

17.      There is an identified capital budget for the approval and payment of Disabled Facilities Grants.

18.      Public Protection and Adult Service have identified revenue budgets to deliver the service.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

19.      Adaptations to property to allow owners and occupiers to remain at home to contribute to a sustainable community.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

20.      Housing Authorities in meeting their responsibilities under The 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

21.      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

22.      There are no crime and disorder  implications as a result of this report

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

23.      There are no specific equal opportunities implications as a result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

24.      Corporate Outcome - Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality, suitable housing and housing advice and support.

25.      Development Services Outcome 1 - Residents of the Vale feel safe in their communities, are healthy and have a good quality of life.

26.      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

27.      This report is for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

28.      This report is not ward specific and as a result no ward member consultation has been undertaken

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

29.      Social Care and Health

30.      Housing and Public Protection

31.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Elen Probert, Principal Housing and Pollution Officer 01446 709833

 

Officers Consulted

Legal Services - Irene Thornton, Senior Lawyer

Financial Services - Laura Davis, Finance Support Manager

Social Services - Lance Carver Head of Adult Service/ Locality Manager

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services.

 

 

 

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