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Craven District Council

Disabled facilities grants service helps residents improve their properties

A review of the Disabled Facilities Grants Service, taken in-house by Craven District Council in April 2018, has found the service has improved.

The service processes applications, and gives advice and assistance to residents throughout the design, tendering and building work.

The contract was previously fulfilled by Yorkshire Housing but is now managed by Craven District Council.

The review found that the service is performing “significantly better” under the in-house model, with residents receiving a quicker service.

Councillor Linda Brockbank, lead member for Resilient Communities, said: “I’m delighted with the results of this review, which are very positive.

“This is such a crucial service and it’s really important that it works well for residents. We have an ageing population nationally and here in Craven, and the number of older people with disabilities is also predicted to rise.

“Through this grants process, more residents can receive help to get the work carried out to their homes, which enables them to continue living independently for longer.”

The budget for disabled facilities grants is calculated by central government and distributed by North Yorkshire County Council. Grants totalling around £200,000 have been processed since April 2018.

The number of referrals has increased in 2018-19 and the service has already exceeded the number of completed grants when compared to the same period in 2017-18. The average value of the grants given out is £7,524.

The review found that from receipt of referral to the initial visit the number of days taken was averaging seven, compared to 13 days in 2017-18, and of the limited number of cases completed to date involving grants of less than £6,000, the average number of days was 70, compared to 177 in 2017-18.

Communication between officers and the County Council’s Occupational Therapists has also been greatly enhanced.

The Council’s Policy Committee received the report and approved the recommendations of the Select Committee to continue with an in-house service, along with a technical services partnership.

The Leader of the Council will also write to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, seeking clarification of the funding formula for Disabled Facilities Grants, suggesting that future funding should reflect demographic projections and highlighting the implications if the allocated budget was insufficient to meet increased demand.