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26 July 2018

CHC responds to Public Accounts Committee report on housing adaptations

A report has been published today by the National Assembly for Wales’ Public Accounts Committee looking at housing adaptations in Wales.

It follows a report by the Wales Audit Office earlier this year which reported high satisfaction levels from those who received adaptations, but concerns over the consistency and effectiveness of the current approach.

In today’s report, the Public Accounts Committee found that the current system is hugely complicated and that public bodies aren’t taking the opportunities to improve cost efficiency. It also highlights that the current system for delivering adaptations reinforces inequalities for some disabled and older people, and addressing need is complicated by the different sources of funding. Crucially, these differences are resulting in people with similar needs receiving different standards of service because of the policy choices of public bodies.

The report concluded that the system is not delivering to those who need it and that public bodies are not taking opportunities to provide value for money. Six recommendations to improve the system were put forward, including prioritising the establishment of national minimum standards for all adaptations to ensure disabled and older people receive the same standard of service irrespective of where they live, who their landlord is and whether they own their own home.

It also called for the Welsh Government to set clear standards for means testing DFGs and to provide support and guidance for delivery organisations to improve integration of services.

Will Atkinson, Policy and Programmes Manager at Community Housing Cymru said: "Housing adaptations are a vital lifeline for older and disabled people to live independently in their home, and housing associations play a vital role in delivering these adaptations to thousands of people each year in Wales.

“Where housing associations provide these adaptations, we know that the satisfaction levels of those who received them is high. However, today’s report looks to address systemic issues to ensure minimum standards and greater consistency of delivery across Wales, and we welcome the recommendations put forward by the Public Accounts Committee.

“An adaptations system that is responsive to the needs of Wales’ ageing population is key to ensuring housing associations can deliver our vision of a Wales where good housing is a basic right for all. We will now work closely with Welsh Government and other partners to look at how we can respond quickly and effectively to the changes recommended by the Committee."