Agenda item

Draft Disabled Adaptions Policy


The Service Manager (Housing Operations) presented the draft Aids and Adaptations Policy for Council Tenants.  The purpose of the report was to inform the Committee of the proposed Aids & Adaptation Policy for Council Tenants and seek comments prior to the policy being agreed by the Cabinet Member for Housing Services.


The Service Manager (Housing Operations) informed the Committee that the policy, replaced the Housing Policy for Discretionary Disabled Adaptations which previously sat outside of the Housing Operations Service and under the previous Housing Partnership Manager. Responsibility for the policy transferred to the Service Manager (Housing Operations) last year.  The previous policy was up for renewal in 2022 so creating the proposed policy, gave the opportunity to improve information for both staff and tenants.


The policy outlined how the Council will support tenants to remain, as long as possible, independently in their current home and also in carrying out essential daily activities which may be hampered by long-term health issues or disability, or, if this was not possible or practical, to assist them in finding suitable alternative accommodation. The policy also confirmed the Council’s commitment to meeting the needs of tenants, as well as effectively using the Council’s existing housing stock and ensuring a fair distribution of aids and adaptations within finite resources. Whilst the needs of tenants will be given proper consideration, it was inevitable that the use of the Council’s housing stock must additionally be considered in parallel to ensure that all residents were being treated fairly, particularly where the nature of the adaptation was substantial.


The proposed new policy:


  • stated clearly how new aids and adaptation requests would be assessed, considered, prioritised, approved or rejected;
  • made better use of existing adaptation in Council properties through the reallocation of those properties to those with needs most closely meeting the property attributes;
  • specified threshold indicators and limits related to types of adaptations;
  • indicated what support could be offered in terms of re-housing to more suitable accommodation when an option appraisal made the application nonviable for the existing dwelling or its occupants; and
  • stated clearly which adaptations would not be funded.


The Service Manager (Housing Operations) advised that the policy covers two areas, adapting existing homes and allocation of and best use of existing stock currently part or fully adapted to meet housing demand. The policy also introduced a change in the application process for adaptations. Previously a tenant would contact the Occupational Therapist directly and the majority of the time without the Council being notified, until the report and recommendations was sent through. Going forward, in order to enquire or apply for an assessment for a disabled adaptation to a Council property, tenants should contact their Housing Officer in the first instance, who will discuss with the tenant their current circumstances and will arrange an initial visit to ensure there aren’t any safeguarding concerns, discuss whether a referral to the Occupational Therapy Service was required and if they need any support undertaking the referral. The new improved policy and change in process will ensure that tenants have better support in accessing the service, clearer guidance as to what the Council will and won’t do and ensure the Council uses its assets in the best way.


The Committee commended the Service Manager (Housing Operations) for a comprehensive policy. 


Members expressed concern that if a property was no longer suitable for the occupant and with the current higher demand for housing, residents would feel under pressure to move.  The Service Manager (Housing Operations) assured the Committee, that no one would be under any pressure or forced to move.  Members were advised that the Holding Hands Policy (downsizing scheme) would also be reviewed, to be more bespoke to the individual.  The Service Manager (Housing Operations) also highlighted that as part of the Holding Hands Policy, there was discretionary financial assistance for downsizing.  This was to assist with the cost of moving if it was deemed appropriate for the individual.


The Committee noted the report and accompanying policy.


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