Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cornwall averaging ten months for changes to homes for people with disabilities

Cornwall Council has made a huge improvement in conducting assessments for people with disabilities getting home adaptations. We are now only taking three times as long as our target.

Disabled facilities grants are made to people who need significant adaptations to their homes because of physical disabilities - either the homeowners or a member of their family. Adaptations might be downstairs bathrooms, walk in showers or wider doorways.

There are two phases to the works. The first is an assessment by an Occupational Therapist. The target here is 45 days and, in the last quarter, Cornwall Council brought their performance down from 172 days to 140 days. That's a good improvement, but the Council are still taking three times as long as they should be.

The second phase is the work itself. Here the target is 180 days and the performance for the last quarter was 135 days - significantly better than target, but more usually the performance hovers around the target. It is true that one or two very lengthy works can skew the whole performance report, but people with profound needs are still having to wait an overly long time.

If a private homeowner wanted building works costing around £25,000 in their home, would they be impressed by a builder who took ten months to carry our the works. We were told that some people are dying before the adaptations to their home are completed.

The portfolio holder - Mark Kaczmarek - made the reasonable point that this was not an issue where the former district councils had a particularly good record and he pledged that this would be a priority for Cornwall Council. I hope that it takes a higher place in the administration's agenda than some of the whiz bang schemes that they are currently plotting.

In the end the committee agreed with my proposal to send the report back to the administration and ask them for more details including a plan for how they will meet their time targets.

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