Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration
My housing priorities revolve around three main themes - more homes, better homes and better housing services. In our Housing White Paper, we made a very clear commitment to improve the ways in which adaptations are made to people’s homes.
I am very pleased to say that the major review of our current adaptations programmes I commissioned has commenced. It has been informed by the views of our stakeholders, which has helped to focus it on what’s important in delivering adaptations to people’s houses to enable them to live independently for as long as possible.
We currently have a number of different programmes; for example, Disabled Facilities Grants, the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme, and Physical Adaptation Grants. In the past two years we have also piloted a new Independent Living Grants programme. All these play or have played a role in delivering essential adaptations from the installation of grab and hand rails to walk-in showers to additional rooms. They all have strengths and weaknesses but operate in slightly different ways and to different criteria. It can be difficult for people to find their way through the system of help that is available.
The study, which is being undertaken by a research consortium involving, amongst others, Shelter, Tai Pawb and Cardiff Metropolitan University, will address these points. It will consider potential changes to the structure and delivery mechanisms for independent living adaptations. More specifically, it will explore options for a system that can achieve my goal of consistently good quality and accessible help for people. The overall aim is to ensure that adaptations are delivered quicker to those who need them. In doing so, it will help to reduce the inequalities that are inherent in the current system by ensuring joined up solutions with a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention.
The research team will be contacting stakeholders in the coming weeks and I look forward to their input to the study. I would like to see as many as possible get involved in the work.
Adaptations to people’s homes help to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital and residential care and therefore help reduce demands on our NHS and social services. They will feature in the action that will take place in 2014-15 through the additional funding being made available through the new Intermediate Care Fund. The review will not affect this help, which will be delivered by local authorities, Local Health Boards, and third sector organisations such as Care & Repair but its report, which is due in September, will inform the future improvements to assistance that makes a real difference to the quality of people’s lives.