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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION): 19TH JUNE, 2013

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES): 4TH JUNE, 2013

 

 

"           DELIVERY OF CHILDREN'S DISABLED FACILITIES GRANTS (DDS) -

 

At the last meeting the Committee had requested that a report in relation to the concerns expressed regarding the ongoing underperformance in the delivery of disabled facilities grants be presented to this meeting. However,

Members considered that the report before them did not reflect the minutes of the last meeting or the concerns that had been raised previously. 

 

The Principal Housing and Pollution Officer in referring to the report stated that following the implementation of Wales Audit findings to monitor the stages of DFGs (Disabled facilities Grants) during quarter 3 of 2012/13 it had been noted the time taken for occupational therapy to assess a child for a DFG was increasing significantly in comparison to adults as detailed in the table below.  This table detailed the time taken from first contact with the Council to the DFG team receiving the Occupational Therapist assessment of need across each quarter during 2012/13.

 

 

2012/13

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

ALL

85

126

115

115

ADULTS

71

92

89

98

CHILDREN

177

303

256

267

 

Although noting that performance had improved year on year from 2009/10, 2012/13 Members considered that the report did not address suggestions for  radical measures that needed to be put in place in order to reduce the figures further.  The target level for Performance Indicator PSR009A of 510 days was in their view not suitable and that further staffing arrangements should be considered.

 

In response the officer advised that for Children's Services 9 cases were noted at the time the report had been written. These cases had now been allocated and fast-tracked through the DFG system following the decision that all applications for children were to be dealt with as soon as they were received.

 

In explaining certain issues contained within the report the officer also advised that Children's Disabled Facilities Grants were often more complex although the Planning Department did recognise the need for the urgency required in respect of such applications in order to avoid delays. These would be addressed on a case by case basis.

 

Reference was made to the fact that the Public Protection Department was financing an OT to support the OT Team with a closing date for applications for the post due shortly. The officer was hopeful that the appointment could be made within the next couple of months.  An additional OT had also been funded on a temporary basis to address the backlog for adults.  With regard to the PI’s Members were made aware that an immediate improvement would not be seen as reports were presented on a quarterly basis and it would take 12 months for the impact to take effect.  Furthermore although the appointment of extra staff would see an improvement in the PI there was currently 260 days already in the system for current cases which the authority could not do much about.

 

With regard to why one vacancy had been subject to a long delay the officer advised that this had been due to the Social Services team being restructured, some maternity issues within the Occupational team and discussions ongoing with the Health Authority for a rotational scheme to be established. In response to a query regarding as to the point at which a DFG process commences, the officer advised that it was when the first contact was made with the local authority was made and the client is waiting for an assessment.

 

Some Members in referring to the vacancy factor were aware that a number of reasons would contribute to delays but were still of the view that radical measures needed to be considered to address the backlog. Members also felt that other local authorities seemed to be responding more favourably to such applications and suggested that collaborative working may be a way forward.  All agreed that the filling of vacancies should be seen as a priority.

 

Following suggestions that contracts and frameworks could be streamlined the officer advised that she was currently looking into these aspects but that there were obstacles such as VAT, ownership of the grant and implications on the Council's RSG and capital funding settlement from Welsh Government. 

 

Having considered the report and the concerns raised above Members also agreed that a further report to identify all the issues and delays should be presented to the Committee following which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be advised of the concerns of the Committee in that the report had not addressed the concerns raised at the last meeting on 23rd April 2013, in particular the concerns regarding the waiting list and the urgent need for more innovative solutions to the problems to bring down the number of days via a step change reduction in the number of days.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee on the issues referred to above, the delays involved and the stages of the processes in the delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants for children and adults.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be noted and referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(4)       T H A T the report and the minutes of the meeting be referred to the Scrutiny Committees (Housing and Public Protection and Social Care and Health) for information and to advise of the concerns that had been raised.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That the Committee's concerns are forwarded to Cabinet and radical solutions to reduce the number of days explored.

 

(2)       In order to consider the matter further.

 

(3)       To refer the report to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(4)       In order that the views of the Committee are forwarded together with the report to the Scrutiny Committees (Housing and Public Protection and Social Care and Health) for information / consideration.

 

 

 

Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 4th June, 2013 

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