The University of West of England has been appointed by the Government to carry out an independent review of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) that England has to offer.
The University will be working with Foundations, the Building Research Establishment (BRE), Ferret Information Systems and an experienced occupational therapist to look at both the operation of the grant and the wider delivery of home adaptations to support the independence of disabled people living in their own homes.
The review, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care, will include a series of workshops this month.
Despite increases to the annual DFG budget, demand for adaptations has always outstripped supply and this is set to continue as the population ages.
The review will seek to ensure that home adaptation policy remains fit for purpose and that funds are being allocated as effectively as possible.
Topics to be explored include:
- How the DFG is used currently – who gets what and how it’s delivered
- How the DFG could change in the future – focusing on the means test, the £30,000 upper limit, the allocation formula and methods of delivery
- The link between adaptations and health and social care services, including timely discharge from hospital
- The changing aids and adaptations market – considering new innovations and technology, market development and supporting people who are not eligible for a DFG
- The impact of Section 36 of the Equality Act 2010 on adaptations to communal areas.
The review will report back at the end of May with evidence-based recommendations on how the grant could operate in the future.
A series of consultation workshops will be held during March in London, Leeds and Wolverhampton to debate the issues and draw conclusions for the final report. The events are free to attend, but places are limited. For details visit www.fixthedfg.co.uk. A short online consultation will follow based on the outcome of the workshops.
Sheila Mackintosh, Research Fellow at the University of West of England, said:
“We have an ageing population and a high proportion of people of all ages with disabilities, including families with disabled children. To help as many people as possible live in suitable homes and remain independent the services that deliver adaptations need to be reviewed and updated.”
Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, the national body for home improvement agencies and DFG, said:
“The Disabled Facilities Grant is 30 years old next year and was set-up under housing legislation that still sits apart from health. The review gives us an opportunity to consider the strengths of the current approach while thinking about how we can deliver a more person-centred service and have a positive impact on health and social care.”