Industry news

Experts to carry out review of Disabled Facilities Grant

The University of West of England has been appointed by the Government to carry out an independent review of Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) in England, some 30 years after its introduction. The University will be working with

Foundations, the Building Research Establishment, Ferret Information Systems and an occupational therapist to look at the operation of the grant and the wider delivery of adaptations to support the independence of disabled people living in their own

homes. Despite increases in the DFG budget, demand for

adaptations regularly outstrips supply and this is set to continue as the population ages. The review will seek to ensure that home adaptation policy remains fit for purpose and that funds are being allocated as effectively as possible. Topics to be explored include:

• How the DFG is used currently – who gets what and how it’s delivered;

• How the DFG could change in the future – focusing on the means test, the £30,000 upper limit, the allocation formula and methods of delivery;

• The link between adaptations and health and social care services, including timely discharge from hospital;

• The changing aids and adaptations market – considering new innovations and technology,

market development and supporting people who are not eligible for a DFG; and

• The impact of Section 36 of the Equality Act 2010 on adaptations to communal areas.

The review will report back at the end of May with recommendations on how the grant could operate in the future. A series of consultation workshops are being held during March to debate the issues and draw conclusions for the final report. A short online consultation will follow based on the outcome of the workshops. Sheila Mackintosh, Research Fellow at the

University of West of England, said: “We have an ageing population and a high proportion of people of all ages with disabilities, including families with disabled children. To help as many people as possible live in suitable homes and remain independent the services that deliver adaptations need to be reviewed and updated.”

HA clashes with Mayor over minimum space standards

A London housing association is lobbying for an exemption from minimum housing space standards, to allow it to make use of new modular homes being built at L&G’s new housing factory. The draft London Plan imposes a blanket

requirement that all new one-bedroom properties be built with at least 37 square metres of floor space. It excludes an exception in the previous plan, which

allowed new housing of an exemplary design and contributed to other objectives. West London based RHP, formerly known

as Richmond Housing Partnership, is planning to use a new prototype called Launch Pod, to provide intermediate accommodation for young people and key workers at relatively low rents of £140 per week, significantly below the local market rate of around £250 per week.

However, each new property would only measure 26 square metres. RHP is expecting to take delivery of the new

modular homes in the summer. By then it hopes to have persuaded the Mayor and Greater London Assembly to have put the exception back. Failing that, RHP says it will adapt its scheme into a ‘co-living’ development, which falls outside the new requirements.

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18 | HMM March 2018 |

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