Blog by Sue Adams, CEO of Care & Repair England
Cutting services has sadly become the ‘norm’ for local councils, and so receiving more money for specific provision requires a shift in mindset.
This is particularly so when that money is for a ‘Cinderella service’ that crosses the boundaries of housing, care and health, as is the case for home adaptations grants for disabled people.
In the grand scheme of things this year’s national government budget of £505 million towards Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) isn’t large e.g. compared with the additional £10 billion for the Help to Buy scheme, announced in the Autumn 18 Budget or the £25 billion spent on social care.
Nevertheless, this DFG funding can help to transform the lives of around 60,000 disabled people, c.60% of whom will be older people, enabled to live more independently, safely and well in their own homes.
As the recent letter to local councils setting out the DFG Allocation for each individual authority shows, there are very wide variations which aren’t all related to population size. Neither is the national government funding intended to be the only source of money for DFG (in the past there was a mandatory requirement to match fund from local sources).
However, as the research into good practice in providing help with home adaptations clearly shows, it isn’t only about money. Fast tracking systems, outreach and innovative approaches to collaboration between health, care and housing can all result in greatly improved use of the home adaptations funding that is available.
The recent review of the future provision of DFG, highlights a range of potential changes that could be adopted sooner rather than later (others will require legislative change/ regulations).
So let’s not overlook good news when it comes along. This year’s DFG funding provides an opportunity to change lives and do things differently, as well as contributing to achieving the NHS Plan’s stated intentions of preventing health decline and delivering more care at or closer to home.