Adaptations Policy

Aim of Policy

The Policy sets out the Group’s approach to carrying out adaptations and aims to support customers ensuring they experience a good quality of life within their homes. The policy and associated service will strike a balance between continuously improving levels of provision and customer service, making best use of housing stock and the need to achieve value for money.

The Equality Act 2010 states that “…landlords will be obliged to make certain reasonable adjustments if requested by the customer. Reasonable adjustments do not include the removal or alteration of a physical feature but do include providing auxiliary aids or services, changing practices, policies and procedures and/or changing the term of the letting.”

While there is no statutory responsibility upon individual housing providers to provide adaptations for their customers, the Homes and Communities Agency expects them to make provision to assist in the delivery of adaptations to their customers.

For the purpose of this policy, an adaptation is an alteration or addition to any aspect of a property which is provided in order to make it easier or safer for use by an older person or a disabled person. This may be the customer or a member of their family or household and throughout this policy references to the customer will include their family or household. The assessment of the specific needs of the customer and recommendations of what adaptation work is required would usually result from an assessment fom an Occupational Therapist.

Policy

We will work closely with partners to access, on behalf of our customers, the services of qualified Occupational Therapists and a range of funding and advisory options including:

Disabled Facilities Grants - Under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, there is a specific duty upon the local authority to provide Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) to eligible applicants to meet the cost of fixed equipment and adaptations to dwellings to meet a disabled person’s needs. Available on a tenure-neutral basis, the Mandatory element of DFG is subject to a maximum grant of £30,000, and is dependant upon a means test of the applicant’s resources. This may result in the applicant being required to make a contribution towards the cost.

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) – These offer assistance with adaptations or special equipment to families who have relatives who have been in the forces for at least 18 months at any time.

WPWS (War Pensioners’ Welfare Service) – provides War Disablement Pensioners, War Widows and War Widowers with assistance obtaining adaptations.

Royal British Legion; RAF; Royal National Benevolent Association – Offer advice and assistance on aids and adaptations.

British Red Cross – Medical Loans Service provides equipment to disabled persons, often available free of charge.

We will comply with legislative and regulatory requirements and work within the spirit of the Homes and Communities Agency guide: “Minor Adaptations without Delay”.

As far as practicably possible, we will support customers and enable them to continue to live independently within their home and community, ensuring that their home remains safe and convenient to use, whilst ensuring efficient management of resources.

We will work within the framework of our Asset Management Strategy, having regard to investment and maintaining the long term sustainability of our properties.

We will set aside a specific budget to assist customers to attain adaptation work and any adaptations that are deemed necessary and affordable will be provided to customers using a range of funding mechanisms.

We will develop a register of adapted properties so that, where possible, re-lets can be matched with customers’ individual needs.

The relevant Group Members will publish information on their website to provide detail on how customers can access adaptations.

We will make the best use of our housing stock in an attempt to ensure that disabled customers are enabled to access and live in housing that is appropriate to their needs.

Maintenance of adaptations

Once adaptations have been installed, the Group will maintain and repair these through its repairs and maintenance service to ensure they remain effective and in good working order. These works will be raised and delivered in accordance with the appropriate standard repair timescales (See ForViva Repairs Policy). Appliances provided at time of initial works will not be maintained by the Group, i.e. a cooker installed at the time of a rise and fall kitchen will be the responsibility of the customer.

Assessment of adaptation requests

The assessment of an individuals need for adaptations remains the statutory duty of the local authority through its Community Occupational Therapy service. The Group will continue to use this service when appropriate.

Following an adaptation request by a customer, where an Occupational Therapist assessment is considered to be necessary, the Group will arrange for an Occupational Therapist to visit, discuss individual needs and assess whether or not adaptation works may be necessary and appropriate to meet the long term needs of the individual.

The Group accept that on occasions, specialist advice following assessment may differ. In circumstances where there is no agreement between the parties involved about the nature and/or scope and scale of the adaptation work required, the Group’s Maintenance Manager will make a final decision in consultation with all involved based on reasonableness.

Following an adaptation request by a customer, where an Occupational Therapist assessment is not considered to be necessary, we will visit and assess the works that may be required. This visit will take place within 10 working days from request.

Delivery

Where we have assessed the adaptation works or following an Occupational Therapist assessment, the works are estimated to be less than £1000 in value (Low Cost/Minor Adaptations); the works will be completed within 3 months from the date of assessment.

Where, following an Occupational Therapist assessment, any necessary works are estimated to be more than £1000 (Major Adaptations), the works will be completed within a maximum of 9 months, from the date of the assessment, either through the adaptations service or through a planned works scheme.

Refusal of Adaptation Requests

The Group are unlikely to invest in the provision of adaptations where the benefit achieved for the resident is short term, it is not reasonable or practicable or where strategically, it makes no sense to do so. Such circumstances may include:

• When the applicant occupies a property that is scheduled for modification or major refurbishment within the next two years;

• Where the customer is actively seeking rehousing;

• Where the tenancy is less than 12 months old;

• When the adaptation requested is not structurally practicable;

• Where a property is under-occupied or over crowded and major adaptations are requested;

• Where a request is made to provide a level access shower above ground floor level. Future lettability becomes an issue as many disabled people with mobility problems who could benefit from such a shower may have problems negotiating stairs.

• Where provision is requested for use of a motorised scooter;

• Where a Long Ramp is required in order to provide access to the front door.

Where it is not reasonably practical to carry out the necessary adaptations to enable the customer to live independently in their own home, Group Members will support the customer to find alternative accommodation which matches their housing requirement and need, making best use of existing stock. (Please see Allocations Policy).

The Group will subsidise the cost of moving to a suitable property as follows:

• A moving in voucher of up to £150 to assist with decoration costs;• Payment of up to £300 to cover removal costs.ill work closely with partners to access, on behalf of our customers, the services of qualified Occupational Therapists and a range of funding and advisory options including:

How the Policy will be Delivered

The implementation and management of this policy will be carried out by the Maintenance Team.

If staff become aware that there are problems with effective operation of the policy or the associated procedures, they should report this to the policy owner. This feedback will be incorporated into the policy / procedural review process.

Monitoring Arrangements

ForViva will monitor and report performance in compliance with this policy in the following ways:

• KPI reporting;

• Service Standard Reporting;

• Customer Satisfaction.