The Local Government Ombudsman published a report on 21 March 2016 called “Making a house a home: local authorities and disabled adaptations” which stated that people with disabilities were being left too long in unsuitable homes because of problems with councils’ Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) processes.
The report details that in 2015, Leonard Cheshire Disability found that every year almost 2,500 disabled people wait longer than they should to receive their DFG. The charity’s research found that 62% of councils surveyed were not funding agreed adaptations within set timescales. It further set out research from Foundations which oversees the national network of Home Improvement Agencies which found that older people were able to stay in their own homes and postpone moving into a care home by an average of four years following adaptations. The Foundations research suggested that the average cost of a placement in residential care is around £29,000 per year whereas the average cost of providing adaptation is less than £7,000 (although the editors note that making adaptations does not rule out the need for further in-home support).
The report sets out common issues and complaints by means of individuals complaints to the LGO: delay in making a referral, failure to complete an OT assessment and make clear recommendations; failure to consult other professionals; delay in provision of disabled adaptations etc and provides a useful summary of the DFG process in Appendix 1.