Need to harmonise disabled grant process – Newport council

LOCAL authorities are not using the same criteria when totting up statistics on grants for disabled people who need improvements in their homes, a Newport cabinet meeting heard.

It was recently reported that Newport council took 638 days to pay disability facilities grants (DFGs) compared to 175 in Merthyr Tydfil, prompting the Older Person's Commissioner to say that was unacceptable.

But the way that other local authorities calculate that figure for the grants, which are used to pay for upgrades like handrails, was questioned at a cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile cabinet approved £436,000 in cash to be spent on DFGs this year to reduce the current backlog of applicants, assessed by occupational therapists as needing adaptations. The cash will be borrowed.

Paul Cockeram, cabinet member for social care and well-being, said the last administration “took their eyes off the ball with this one.”

He said statistics for DFGs had previously been good in the city, “and now we are the worst in Wales.”

But he said that he didn't think some authorities were using the same criteria for their statistics.

“I'm not defending ours but the others need to be more truthful in their statistics as well,” he said.

He later said that the 600 days figure will “never come in front of this cabinet again”.

The meeting heard that authorities were starting counting for the statistics at different points, and that Newport starts counting when the referral comes in.

Leader of Newport council Bob Bright said it was up to the Welsh Audit Office to ensure consistency on such indicators, and suggested that the matter should be looked at by a Welsh government minister.

Matthew Evans, Tory leader and former leader of Newport council, said he recognised the council's performance on DFGs was not good enough and the administration took action to address the situation in February.

But he added: “I accept that it was too long but it was unfair to single out Newport. We were punished for being too honest.”

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1:18pm Sun 21 Oct 12

Mervyn James says...

The whole issue of giving funds to charities needs addressing. In most part it is subsidising cuts to real services on the cheap, in many respects funds are STILL being given to unproven areas of support. Anyone can start a charity, there is no real criteria,and the Charity Commission is useless at determine IF a charity is viable, if it is already duplicating something else, or if the people operating a charity have any accredited to make it operational. I saw one charity in Newport 5 years ago get £17k and absolutely from day one it was dubious and had NO CHANCE of any success. It failed to OPEN for 8 months, Newport gave them a free or next to room, and 6 months after it folded completely. ****, no-one from Newport even ran it.
The whole issue of giving funds to charities needs addressing. In most part it is subsidising cuts to real services on the cheap, in many respects funds are STILL being given to unproven areas of support. Anyone can start a charity, there is no real criteria,and the Charity Commission is useless at determine IF a charity is viable, if it is already duplicating something else, or if the people operating a charity have any accredited to make it operational. I saw one charity in Newport 5 years ago get £17k and absolutely from day one it was dubious and had NO CHANCE of any success. It failed to OPEN for 8 months, Newport gave them a free or next to room, and 6 months after it folded completely. ****, no-one from Newport even ran it. Mervyn James

6:02pm Sun 21 Oct 12

Independentvoter says...

Paul Cockeram shouldn't blame the last administration for the mess of DFGs he should take a good look at his own present administration.... What a total shambles. Non exsistant social care and well being again. I had spinal surgery in feb this year. I needed urgent building work done to convert my garage into a disabled bedroom ,bathroom before I was discharged from hospital. I applied for a provisional disabled grant stating the work had to done urgently. A family member paid for the work to be done until the grant was received from the council. When I phoned the DGF department they said that they had not received my application. Well done Labour Administration.. You saved some money there !!! And to think I had a leaflet through my door before the last local election asking if this tory council were making cuts to care in the community. Gaer councillors should be ashamed of themselves.
Paul Cockeram shouldn't blame the last administration for the mess of DFGs he should take a good look at his own present administration.... What a total shambles. Non exsistant social care and well being again. I had spinal surgery in feb this year. I needed urgent building work done to convert my garage into a disabled bedroom ,bathroom before I was discharged from hospital. I applied for a provisional disabled grant stating the work had to done urgently. A family member paid for the work to be done until the grant was received from the council. When I phoned the DGF department they said that they had not received my application. Well done Labour Administration.. You saved some money there !!! And to think I had a leaflet through my door before the last local election asking if this tory council were making cuts to care in the community. Gaer councillors should be ashamed of themselves. Independentvoter

9:09am Mon 22 Oct 12

pinpong says...

Independentvoter wrote:
Paul Cockeram shouldn't blame the last administration for the mess of DFGs he should take a good look at his own present administration.... What a total shambles. Non exsistant social care and well being again. I had spinal surgery in feb this year. I needed urgent building work done to convert my garage into a disabled bedroom ,bathroom before I was discharged from hospital. I applied for a provisional disabled grant stating the work had to done urgently. A family member paid for the work to be done until the grant was received from the council. When I phoned the DGF department they said that they had not received my application. Well done Labour Administration.. You saved some money there !!! And to think I had a leaflet through my door before the last local election asking if this tory council were making cuts to care in the community. Gaer councillors should be ashamed of themselves.
Well said. This labour council are very keen to pass the buck for everything onto the last council.They will ahve to make some difficult decisions soon. God help newport. labour destroyed the country now they have the council back.
[quote][p][bold]Independentvoter[/bold] wrote: Paul Cockeram shouldn't blame the last administration for the mess of DFGs he should take a good look at his own present administration.... What a total shambles. Non exsistant social care and well being again. I had spinal surgery in feb this year. I needed urgent building work done to convert my garage into a disabled bedroom ,bathroom before I was discharged from hospital. I applied for a provisional disabled grant stating the work had to done urgently. A family member paid for the work to be done until the grant was received from the council. When I phoned the DGF department they said that they had not received my application. Well done Labour Administration.. You saved some money there !!! And to think I had a leaflet through my door before the last local election asking if this tory council were making cuts to care in the community. Gaer councillors should be ashamed of themselves.[/p][/quote]Well said. This labour council are very keen to pass the buck for everything onto the last council.They will ahve to make some difficult decisions soon. God help newport. labour destroyed the country now they have the council back. pinpong

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