(Title Image: MND Association)
Public Accounts Committee
Home Adaptations (pdf)
Published: 26th July 2018
“More than a decade and four separate reports later we believe the strategic leadership, ambition and drive to eradicate the inconsistencies in housing adaptations is sadly missing.
“Older and disabled people are still struggling to get the support and facilities they need to stay in their own homes and we are not convinced by the latest assurances from the Welsh Government and other public bodies that they are working to improve things.”
– Committee Chair, Nick Ramsay AM (Con, Monmouth)
This inquiry was in response to a report from the Wales Audit Office, which you can read here (pdf).
1. A single set of national standards for home adaptations should be introduced by July 2019
One of the key criticisms from the Auditor General was a difference in the levels and types of funding older people and the disabled can access to get their home adapted. Many witnesses said the system to access funding was complicated, with geographic, tenancy and agency differences.
A national set of standards was said to be “relatively easy to do” and would go some way to address the issue.
Both the Committee and Welsh Government Director for Education & Public Services, Tracey Burke, couldn’t understand why this hasn’t been resolved sooner. The Committee called on the Welsh Government do complete work on this by July 2019.
2. The application process should be more efficient
90% of home adaptations were said to cost less than £500, but applicants often had to supply excessive details such as proof of title and detailed financial information – causing delays and putting some disabled people off from applying.
Welsh Government approval processes for more expensive adaptations also cause delays; the system is entirely paper-based and hasn’t been digitised. Further delays are caused by getting permission from utility suppliers and planning authorities in the case of larger adaptations.
3. Performance isn’t properly monitored
Surprise, surprise. Yet again, one of the main issues is a lack of monitoring and oversight. There are only a small number of nationally-reported performance statistics for home adaptations and there are no performance statistics for housing associations.
While home adaptations are acknowledged as a way to ensure the elderly and disabled can maintain a level of independence, there’s no long-term monitoring to determine the actual effect (i.e. a reduction in accidents and falls).