A new report has identified poor monitoring of contractors by local authorities during adaptations works as a frequent source of complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Foundations, the Government-funded national body for home improvement agencies, looked at how local authorities supported contractors to deliver Disable Facilities Grant-funded adaptations between 2018 and 2020 inclusive.
In a study of 27 cases referred to the Local Government Ombudsperson (LGO), local authorities were found to be responsible for poor communication and record keeping more frequently than any other party (52%), with the next most frequent element being the client at 37% and contractor at 22%.
The LGO identified inadequate monitoring of contractors by local authorities during progress works in 33% of cases, and in 19% of cases, local authorities were found to be responsible for communication issues that contributed to failure.
Foundations notes in its report that while a sample size of 27 cases extracted from a two-year period is small compared to the number of DFG-funded adaptations completed in the same period, it is hoped that the study will prompt more detailed research in the future.
The national body has recommended that local authorities should keep their contractors engaged by providing them with skills and development support.
It also recommends utilising better data systems for routine monitoring and tracking of works progress, and exploring the customer experience from the service-user perspective.
Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, said: The national body for Home Improvement Agencies and DFG, said: “Contractors are an essential part of the DFG process as without them there would be no adaptations. They need to be nurtured to deliver great customer service and excellent workmanship.”