Dying for home improvement work in Wrexham

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

VULNERABLE people in Wrexham are dying before essential adaptations can be carried out in their homes.

That was the message from Cllr Mark Pritchard, lead member for housing and planning, during a meeting of Wrexham Council’s social affairs health and housing scrutiny committee yesterday.

Members were presented with an annual performance report by officer Jonathan Edwards, which outlined how quickly essential adaptations in the home for the elderly and disabled were carried out.

The average time taken to deliver a disabled facilities grant (DFG) adaptation in 2010/11 was 301 days, compared with a target of 370 days.

The time taken to deliver an adaptation for a council tenant where the DFG grant was not used was 112 days, compared with a target of 135 days and low cost adaptations in privately owned homes took 127 days against a 135-day target.

Despite beating the target, councillors said the timescale was far too long.

Cllr Pritchard said: “My concern is the timescale from the day that the assessment is carried out to when the adaptations are in the properties – I know people who have passed away in the meantime.”

He believes the problem lies with too many departments dealing with each request.

“We need to put this in one department and the buck has got to stop with housing,” he added.

“We are dealing with the most vulnerable people in society here and if we don’t sort this, it will continue and we will still be discussing it in another 12 months.”

Cllr Ron Davies, chair of the committee, said members needed to know exactly how the process worked in order to determine how to fix it.

“We want to know what adaptations are being done, how things are being done and the timescale,” he said.

The report presented to members says that a review of the adaptations process has been carried out.

It states: “In 2010/11 a full review of the adaptations process has been carried out and an action plan has been successfully completed.

“The aim of this review is to reduce the time taken to deliver adaptations that are required to allow people to remain in their own home.

“Work will be ongoing to further improve performance in this area.”

A ‘Houseproud’ scheme has also been launched for people over 60, which provides help and financial assistance for those needing adaptations in the home.

Mr Edwards said he would bring the findings of the adaptation review to members at the next meeting.

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