HL Deb 18 January 2005 vol 668 c95WA
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What backlog there is in the number of applications from ill or elderly and infirm householders who have applied to the Housing Executive for adaption grants and dealt with by occupational therapists (a) in terms of average time to complete their enquiries; and (b) in respect of the number of current applications over three months old in the following areas—

  1. (i) Cookstown;
  2. (ii) Dungannon;
  3. (iii) Fermanagh; and
  4. (iv) Omagh Council. [HL474]

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos)

Fermanagh council area is covered by the Housing Executive's Fermanagh Grants Office. Cookstown, Dungannon and Omagh council areas are covered by the Omagh Grants Office.

All applications to the Housing Executive for disabled facilities grants must be supported by a recommendation from an occupational therapist (OT).

Once a recommendation has been received, the grants office can issue the schedule of works, listing those items of work for which grant aid may be available. The applicant then has six months to complete a statutory application, which includes obtaining any necessary statutory approvals, getting estimates from builders and getting working drawings prepared. Once the statutory application has been completed, the Housing Executive is required to issue the formal approval within six months.

The Fermanagh and Omagh Grants Offices are currently issuing approvals for disabled facilities grant within the six month timescale. In the Fermanagh office area, approvals for disabled facilities grant are being issued, on average, within 25 weeks and in the Omagh office area the average time is 22 weeks.

At the end of November 2004, the Fermanagh office had 74 OT requests outstanding for more than three months and the Omagh office had 137 OT requests outstanding for more than three months.

The Housing Executive is currently carrying out a review of the disabled facilities grant process and hopes to speed up the process during 2005.