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Disabled Facilities Grants

Volume 494: debated on Monday 22 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much and what proportion of disabled facilities grant funding has been spent on alternative accommodation during building work in each year since the scheme was introduced; and if he will make a statement; (281164)

(2) what the average length of time between receipt of an application for a disabled facilities grant and the completion of the home improvements funded by the grant was in the latest period for which figures are available.

The information requested is not held centrally, day to day management of the disabled facilities grant programme is the responsibility of local authorities. Collection of the information requested is therefore a local matter.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the (a) implementation and (b) management of the home improvements disabled facilities grant scheme since its introduction. (281166)

The introduction of the disabled facilities grant has enabled many disabled people to continue to live independently in their own homes through the provision of adaptations. The programme helps about 38,000 households a year with a variety of adaptations to ease mobility in their homes. An independent review of the programme was carried out in 2004 and a consultation to modernise the programme followed in 2007. The Government announced their response to the consultation early in 2008-09 with a package of changes to improve the programme. This can be viewed on the following link:

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will review the operation of the disabled facilities grant scheme for the purposes of assessing (a) the effects on the operation of the scheme of changes in mechanisms for ring-fenced funding of the scheme and (b) progress towards the target of completing (i) the assessment by an occupational therapist required under the scheme within six months and (ii) adaptation work undertaken under that scheme within 12 months. (281223)

Following a review of the disabled facilities grant scheme published in 2007 a number of changes were implemented to the programme. Data collected from local authorities will give an indication as to the effect of the wider changes made to the programme such as the relaxation of the grant conditions. The effect of the removal of the grant ring fence is currently being piloted in nine local authorities; a full evaluation of the impact of the removal of the ring fence will be carried out before any decision is taken on removing the ring fence nationally.

Further work is currently being carried out to improve the delivery of the programme with an overhaul of the means test and application form. Data on the time it takes an authority to deliver a disabled facilities grant are not collected centrally as circumstances will vary from case to case.