Bridgend County Borough Council will now invite contractors to deliver required works under the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) following approval by Cabinet in its last meeting.
A framework will now be used to appoint contractors to carry out works under the DFG, which provides grants to individuals who need to make changes to their home and will be an opportunity for local businesses and local contractors to work in collaboration with the council.
DFG grants apply to adults and children’s cases, and the framework will be divided into ‘lots’ to cover the wide range of work that will be expected including the installation of ramps, low-level showers and bathrooms, stairlifts and full extensions.
Other changes to the grant approved by Cabinet include removing the means test for small and medium grants across Wales as proposed by Welsh Government.
It was previously a requirement of the grant to undertake a means test to determine whether a contribution is required towards the works – the grant has a maximum limit of £36,000.
Welsh Government defines small works as minor home modifications such as small ramps, while medium works are defined as major home modifications which do not require planning permission such as shower conversions and large ramps.
Large works – major home modification needing specialist solutions such as extensions or structural modifications – will still be subject to means testing.
The grant is currently available to homeowners, tenants in the private sector and tenants of Valleys to Coast Housing.
Its purpose is to allow people to remain within their own home and works must be ‘reasonable’ and ‘practicable’ and meet the needs of the individual as set out by an occupational therapist assessment.
The cost to local authorities of withdrawing the means test for small and medium grants across Wales is estimated by Welsh Government to be £238,000. Welsh Government has increased grant funding for the next three years to support this change.
Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “This is a huge step in the right direction and this framework is an example of what we’ve been championing about getting local businesses involved in delivering on contracts for the local authority.
“With the support of Employability Bridgend, we engaged with possible future contractors, and they were able to share their experience so we can improve the information we put out.
“We had 30 local contractors who showed an interest and, of those, 20 took part in a work shop to share information and experience with us.”
Cabinet also discussed an amendment to the Private Sector Housing Renewal and Disabled Adaptations Policy which will see a one-track process for all DFG applications that follow the current established processes.