Foundations

Foundations has launched a new portal that’s designed to speed up vital home adaptations that allow vulnerable people to live independently.

The DFG Tenders – Home Adaptation Portal uses an advanced customer relationship management platform to bring home adaptation surveyors and local builders together and significantly reduces the time taken from the award of a disabled facilities grant (DFG) to the work being carried out.

Foundations – the national body for England’s 200 home improvement agencies (HIAs) – has completed a pilot phase of the portal with 20 HIAs and it is now fully operational.

DFGs are awarded by local authorities and are predominantly delivered by home improvement agencies based in local authorities, housing associations or run as standalone charities.

The online portal is free for both local authorities and HIAs and allows them to add customers to the system who want to apply for a DFG. For the first time, surveyors will be able to award projects by price, speed of delivery and – in time – client satisfaction.

The average time taken from assessment to completion of works is 34 weeks and the portal immediately cuts that by 4 weeks. But it will reduce the duration even further by bringing greater efficiency to the process and freeing up time for surveyors to handle more DFG projects.

The prototype was first developed by Foundations’ director Paul Smith while he was working at Cannock Chase District Council, when it won a Home Improvements Innovations and Achievement Award.

He said: “We know that in many areas of the country, there are complaints about the amount of time it takes to process DFG applications. A speedy adaptation can be the difference between living independently at home in a safe environment and hospitalisation. Launching this portal on a national basis has long been a personal ambition. I know it will bring greater clarity to the process for clients, surveyors and local builders.”

Some 40,000 people a year receive DFGs to pay for a wide range of adaptations, from ramps and stairlifts to wet floor rooms and extensions. The figure is set to rise to 85,000 by the end of the decade thanks to increases in government funding.

Research published last year by Foundations found those who have had adaptations and later move into care do so some four years later than those who have not had adaptations carried out via a DFG.

How the portal works: a step-by-step guide

1. Schedule of standard works items is produced for standard adaptations
2. Local builders submit prices for each item
3. Surveyor inputs quantities for each job
4. System generates instant quote from every contractor
5. Surveyor chooses successful quote, creating instant email to contractor
6. Contractor goes out & completes job and can take photos of the work and upload them to the portal for the surveyor to view

A video has been produced that describes how the DFG Tenders – Home Adaptation Portal works.

You can see that HERE