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Disabled people face delays in home adaptations from councils

Disabled people risk being left in unsuitable accommodation because of delays with grants from councils meant to help them adapt their homes, a new report from the Local Government Ombudsman warns.

Research from Leonard Cheshire Disability, quoted in the report, found that 62% of councils are not funding agreed adaptations with disabled facility grants within set timescales.

Common reasons for delays included failure to complete an occupational therapy assessment, lack of communication between housing authorities and adult social services, poor workmanship, delays in completing works and councils wrongly refusing to provide accommodation to residents in private rented accommodation.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said:  “Housing adaptations are not just about providing the simple ‘bricks and mortar’ changes, but about giving independence and dignity to people with disabilities. Relatively simple changes, like accessible showers or doorways, can make a huge difference to peoples’ quality of life.

“These adaptations must be provided by housing services departments, but my experience shows many people are being let down. The stories in my report are typical of problems we see with housing adaptation complaints, and we want authorities to learn from our findings.”

Cllr Neil Clarke, chair of the District Councils’ Network (DCN), said: “This latest report rightly urges councils to review their procedures, processes and working practices to ensure that all residents receive the level of service being achieved by the authorities who have adopted new integrated models of working.

“While recognising disabled facility grants are a statutory duty, district councils are keen to ensure that all the improvements they make to people’s health and wellbeing across the range of their services effectively contribute to the wider Health and Wellbeing agenda and the outcomes required by the Better Care Fund.”

He added that the DCN want to work with government and county councils to ensure that the grant goes directly to districts.

It is currently paid to councils as part of the Better Care Fund, which Cllr Clarke said causes “needless bureaucracy”.

Research from home improvement agency Foundations shows that adaptations funded by the grant can help elderly people stay in their homes for an average of four years longer.

The Local Government Association warned recently that implementing personalised social care budgets is becoming harder for local authorities because of cuts.


Clara King   17/01/2017 at 10:20

A good friend of mine recently went through Gainsborough and had a walk-in bath fitted in her home. would really recommend

Niall Lazenby   02/10/2017 at 14:06

Helping out my grandparents in finding a good walk-in bath, and just want to know which is the best sort for elderly people? There are a view different types from a company local to them called Gainsborough, any comments would be a great help!

Lily Williams   26/01/2018 at 11:08

This is so bad on the council! We were in a position where a bunch of family members chipped in to get an assisted bath fitted for my grandmother. We got an Aquanova Aries 1700 from Abacus Healthcare for her and it was either that place her in a care home, which no-one wanted. Advice checking the company out as they were very helpful in choosing a bath for her that was good for now and any potential deteriorations in her health in the future

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