Aids and adaptations policy
1.0 Introduction and scope
This Aids and Adaptations Policy aims to set out Wandle’s approach to the delivery of aids and adaptations to help our residents to continue living independently in their homes. It has been developed in line with Wandle’s values, which are:
- Think customer
- Build relationships
- Work together
- Aim high
- Own it
It will ensure that actions we undertake will be underpinned by our vision of:
“Homes to be proud of and services you can trust”.
All Wandle tenants are eligible to apply to have their home adapted where it is practical to do so, considering the age and structure of the property and practicality of the adaptation.
The Aids and Adaptations Policy has also been developed in line with Wandle’s Corporate Strategy and contributes towards the following long-term strategic objectives:
- Outcomes that make our customers proud – This policy works towards the delivery of this strategic objective by ensuring we can deliver adaptations or support their delivery effectively and efficiently.
- Providing homes, we would be happy to live in – This policy works towards the delivery of this objective by ensuring our properties are set up to allow our tenants to remain independent in their home.
1.1 Objectives and performance monitoring
Where Wandle undertakes works classed as Aids and Adaptations works these will take place in line with the timeframes set out in our Repairs and Maintenance Policy acknowledging that pre-inspection will likely be required in most instances. Where appropriate adaptations will trigger a component update on Wandle asset management system, in the case of stairlifts or similar these will additionally be added to our insurable inspection register.
1.2 Feedback and improvement
Wandle will monitor service compliments and complaints, as well as other feedback from tenants through surveys, consultations, and journey mapping to ensure any feedback we receive about our aids and adaptations service is taken onboard and can be used to provide a better customer experience and improve our policies.
2.1 Policy statement introduction
Aids and Adaptations (A&As) may cover improvements necessary in a property to help a resident remain independent. The adaptation may be due to a disability or a resident needing more help as they get older or to help them recover from a stay in hospital. The adaptation may be minor such as having a handrail fitted or it could be a major adaptation such as taking out a bath and installing a level access shower facility. All applications must be made in writing and will be subject to Wandle’s authorisation.
All Wandle tenants are eligible to apply to have their home adapted where it is practical to do so, considering the age and structure of the property and practicality of the adaptation. Major adaptations are generally those that cost more than £1000 and are usually funded through a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) which is means tested, though their Local Authority (LA). Applications for these grants and assistance with these are usually provided by the local authority. Homeowners including shared ownership and leaseholders are not eligible for Wandle contributions towards A&A’s. Wandle will, subject to eligibility:
- Endeavour to find a solution that meets the individual needs of our tenants;
- Help our residents remain as independent as possible in their daily life;
- Ensure that all tenants are treated in a fair and equitable way;
- Agree to major adaptations where it is practical to do so considering for the age, structure and practicality of the adaptation and value for money;
- Ensure that Wandle works in close partnership with LAs and other agencies to provide the best possible services;
- Fund and install minor adaptations through Wandle’s repair service;
- Pro-actively look to allocate suitable residents to empty properties that have had existing major adaptations that may be suitable; and
- Re-use or recycle mechanical aids in a property where the resident does not require them and where practical to do so.
When planning improvement programmes, conversions, new build or environmental schemes, we will consider the incorporation of adaptations as part of the works. This might include dropped kerbs, communal access issues and replacement kitchen and bathroom programmes.
Wandle will only make financial contributions towards major aids and adaptation installations that are procured and managed by Wandle staff. Where a full DFG covers the full cost of installation and the works are procured by the LA, Wandle will not be directly involved in the contract management of the installation.
Where Wandle do procure and manage major aids and adaptations our contractors will provide a customer focussed service that delivers high levels resident satisfaction which will be closely monitored by the property team. The resident will also be supported by Wandle’s support team if required. It will also be delivered with full regard to the health and safety of residents and others who could be affected by the works, including the contractors themselves.
Reasons why works are not deemed to be reasonable and practical
- Options that have been explored including suitable rehousing
- VFM alternatives and asset appraisal
Where the proposed adaptations are not deemed to be reasonable or practical, alternatives, including rehousing, will be discussed and Wandle will inform the tenant or other permanent members of the household or their appointed representative in writing detailing the reasons why we have declined the request for the adaptations.
This decision will be based on the following:
- If the adaptation does not represent value for money and enhance the long- term sustainability of the tenancy
- If the adaptation does not meet the tenants current or future needs
- If the property is unsuitable for adaptation
- There are any accessibility issues including stairs, access steps and bathing
- There are issues concerning shared access and communal buildings
- The availability of other suitable properties more appropriate for the tenants needs
- The adaptation causes issues with the long-term prospects of re-letting the property once any works are completed.
The tenant or other permanent member of the household or their appointed representative has a right of appeal in respect of any decision not to proceed with an adaptation. It should be noted that Wandle will not assume maintenance liability for adaptations installed but will maintain safety inspection.
Where a decision is made not to authorise adaptations, we will work with the relevant Occupational Therapy service and the tenant or other permanent member of the household or their appointed representative to look for alternative solutions to meet their needs; these options could be:
- Rehousing through either mutual exchange or council allocation
- Alternative adaptations
- Tenants may also have the option to request permission to make alterations themselves
An applicant who is not satisfied with the decision not to proceed with an adaptation may appeal against that decision. The appeal will be considered at a case review where a Head of Service that has not been involved with the original decision will consider the views of the applicant alongside the reasons for the decision not to proceed. The Head of Service, having gathered such information they deem necessary, may decide to uphold the original decision, in which case the reasons for doing so will be provided to the applicant in writing, or decide that the works will proceed.
2.4 Fit for the future
Where possible we will look to install, either from design stage or when adaptations are required fixtures in our homes that a suitable for the duration of the component life and enhance the experience of customer not only in the short term needs but throughout the life of the tenure.
Aids and adaptations
Aids and adaptations are alterations carried out to the home of a tenant with disabilities to enable them to continue to carry out their usual day to day activities.
Minor adaptations are alterations that should be carried out without delay to make a resident’s home more accessible and generally cost less than major adaptations to carry out. These can include:
- flashing doorbells,
- grab rails,
- internal door threshold ramps,
- kitchen/bathroom lever taps, window opening equipment etc.
Minor adaptations are carried out by the Wandle repairs service and do not always need an Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment. However, Wandle may require proof of requirement such as a doctor’s letter or details of measurements or OT assessment. Guidance on minor adaptations is given by the College of Occupational Therapists in their document “Minor adaptations without delay,” a copy of which can be found in the attached documents.
Major adaptations relate to adaptation works that are not included in the definition of a Minor Adaptation. They will be works that generally cost more than a minor adaptation, are of a more complex nature and should always be based upon an assessment and upon recommendation of a qualified Occupational Therapist. Examples of these include:
- Fitting a stairlift or through floor lift
- Ceiling hoists
- Level access showers or wet rooms
- Adapted kitchens
- Complex outdoor ramps
A disability is defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as: “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on (a person’s) ability to carry out usual day to day activities.”
Disabled Facilities Grant
A Disabled Facilities Grant is means tested funding provided by the Local Authority for works to allow the tenant with disabilities to continue living within their home. A DFG application will be assessed if the works are “necessary and appropriate‟ and “reasonable and practical‟ in consideration of the age and condition of the home.
Value for Money (VFM)
Represents a balance of expenditure and output for the customer and Wandle in the sustainability of the tenancy within the current home.
|Aids & Adaptations
|Disabled Facilities Grant
|Equalities Impact Assessment
4.0 Roles and responsibilities
Head of Property
Manages delivery of works
Head of Customer Service Delivery
Manages customer relationships
Head of Asset
Approve major works where consideration to property type and investment levels are required in line with asset management processes.
Planned Investment Manager & Surveyors
Handling initial requests for adaptations and where appropriate extend advice to the customer and signpost to the Local authority where appropriate
Customer Service Team
Manage contacts and requests for Aids and Adaptations in line with this Policy and to effectively manage customer expectations.
5.0 Related internal documents
|Asset Management Strategy
|Repairs and Maintenance Policy
|To be developed during implementation phase
|Other internal documents
|Repair and Maintenance Policy
6.0 Relevant legislation
|Main powers and relevance to policy subject
|Care Act 2014
|Replaces pre-existing legislation, including the NHS & Community Act 1990, changing many aspects of how support is arranged and giving greater control and influence to those in need of support.
|Equality Act 2010
|Outlines how landlords may have to make reasonable adjustments in response to a request from a disabled tenants. Disabled tenants of residential properties can also apply for their landlord’s consent to make their own improvements to their property.
|The Disabled Persons Service, Consultation and Representation Act 1986
|Places a statutory duty on LA’s to assess the needs of disabled persons when requested to do so by the person or their carer. This means that LA’s are obliged to provide Occupation Health assessments.
|The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (Sections 1 and 2)
|Places a duty on social services to arrange practical assistance in the home and any adaptations, or the provision of additional facilities designed to secure greater safety, comfort or convenience (section 2).
|Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended by the Regulatory Reform Order 2002)
|Covers obligations on local authorities to provide a range of aids and adaptations through a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).
|The Community Care (Delayed Discharges) Act 2003
|Places a duty on local authorities to provide minor aids and adaptations for the purposes of assisting people nursing at home or aiding daily living which a person has been assessed to need, for free, if the cost is less than £1000.
This section outlines how Wandle will ensure that our approach to Aids and Adaptations and this policy comply with the relevant Regulatory Standards. The standards that apply to this policy are outlined below.
2.2 Repairs and Maintenance
2.2.2 Registered providers shall co-operate with relevant organisations to provide an adaptations service that meets tenants’ needs.
Wandle work with the Local Authority Home Improvement Agencies and have taken an approach of contributing £2500 per adaptation on a first come first served basis, with the remainder being funded through Disabled Facilities Grants.
This Policy also outlines our approach to how we use the above funding to ensure we meet the needs of our tenants.
8.0 Equality and diversity
Equality & Diversity is central to our business; promoting fairness and opportunity for customers and staff; helping provide the best services shaped by and for customers; and right for recruiting and developing our staff.
We are committed to celebrating diversity. To ensure equal access to our services is available, Wandle will comply with the Equality Act 2010 and all other legislative requirements relating to equality. We will work to avoid exclusions or restrictions that are not appropriate to the housing and support needs of our tenants and that may lead to discrimination. We will endeavour to ensure that all tenants receive a consistent level of quality service.
Under the Equality Act 2010 Wandle must consider whether our policies adversely affect our customers and/or staff.
The following table identifies whether this policy disproportionately impacts upon any individuals regarding the key protected characteristics, as identified in the Act:
|Any impact? (Yes or No)
|marriage and civil partnership
|pregnancy and maternity
|religion or belief