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Annual Report 2002/03
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Our Purpose

To provide financial assistance, under the terms of the Trust Deeds, in an efficient, cost effective way that respects a disabled person's requirements for personal care and domestic assistance which enables independent living.


Maressa McKeith ILF User


Having direct payments through the ILF has enabled me to have a control of my life that was just not possible before. I have chosen the people to assist me and I am now expanding my team of assistants to help me with the variety of activities I am involved with.

Maressa McKeith ILF User (pictured above and front cover).


Background Information

The Independent Living Funds were originally established in 1988 as a UK wide resource, dedicated to the financial support of disabled people, to enable them to choose to live in the community rather than in residential care.

The Funds are constituted as publicly financed discretionary trusts, and are funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Great Britain and the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland. For both Funds, awards are made in the form of regular four-weekly payments to individual, which are used to buy personal care and/or domestic assistance. Recipients may use care agencies, or employ personal assistants but may not employ relatives who live in the same house.

There are two Funds: the Extension Fund and the 1993 Fund (93 Fund). The Extension fund was closed to new applications in March 1993 and now continues to assist those people who were ILF users between 1988 and 1993. The 1993 Fund accepts new users and works in partnership with Local Authorities. The 1993 Fund is able to pay up to a maximum of 395 a week, the Extension Fund is able to pay up to a maximum of 665 per week. (Click here to view 1993 Fund Eligibility Criteria).

A combined administration operates for the two Funds, with 150 staff based in Nottingham and 85 self employed Social Workers who carry out visits and assessments throughout the UK.

At 31 March 2003 the Independent Living Funds were helping to support 15,883 people.

Ten Years of Change
Introduction by Chairman Sydney Shore CBE

The last twelve months have been very significant in the life of the Independent Living Funds for two main reasons. In November 2001 the Trustees decided to introduce a programme to revisit all our users every two years, the main purpose of which was to ensure that they were receiving the appropriate level of support. The work to achieve this has been substantial, but I am pleased to say that the fund is now on target. I know that very many of our users have appreciated the additional help that we have been able to give.

The second big event was that in January 2003, the Funds relocated to new offices close to Nottingham city centre. The move marked a significant point in the history of the ILF and was celebrated by staff, Trustees and members of our User Group in March, when the building was opened by the Hon Maria Eagle MP Minister for Disabled People. The relocation has enabled the Fund to increase staffing levels to 150 people in order that we can continue to make improvements in the services we provide.

Much has been achieved over the past twelve months and I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the staff and the Directors of the fund for their commitment and hard work. We are all very much indebted to Elaine Morton, the Chief Executive, for her outstanding energy and dedication to the organisation. I have also been very grateful to our User Group who have continued to help the fund and I would like to thank the Chairman and the group for their efforts and ideas.

I have had the privilege of serving as Chairman of the Trustees for just over ten years. During this time I have overseen the reorganisation of the Funds and the introduction and growth of the 93 Fund, which now has over 9000 users and continues to grow steadily. In addition we support nearly 7000 users in the Extension Fund.

Some of our Trustees have also served the Funds for the whole of those ten years and are now retiring. During the year Adrian Stokes and William Morrison left us. They had both given outstanding service to the Funds. Adrian gave us valuable insights into a range of subjects, which substantially aided our discussions. William used his professional expertise to set up our Audit Committee in 1995 and served as its chairman for 7 years.

Ann Goodborn and Rachel Chiu joined us as Trustees during the year but sadly Ann had to resign in April 2003. We were grateful for her sound advise whilst she was a Trustee.

It has been a very busy ten years, and I have been very grateful for the support of the three Chief Executives, Directors and staff with whom I have worked. I would also like to thank officials from DWP who have always been unfailingly helpful. The Ministers who have had responsibility for the Funds have always been approachable and supportive and I have particularly valued the interest and encouragement of the present Minister, Maria Eagle. Finally I wish to pay a tribute to my fellow Trustees. I could not have had a better team to work with. They have seldom missed any meetings and have been unstinting in their support to me. I am to be succeeded by Margaret Cooper, who has been a Trustee since 1997. The Funds will be in very good hands and I know the organisation is in a strong position to continue its valuable work.

Trustees of the Funds
Trustees of  the Funds

Pictured back row from left: Sydney Shore CBE Chairman, Margaret Cooper, Thomas Begg, John Shepherd OBE Vice Chairman and Treasurer, Rachel Chiu. Front row: Ann Goodborn, Anne Davies OBE. Not pictured: Dr Adrian Stokes OBE and William Morrison CBE (both retired June 2002).

User Thoughts A Day in the Life of Claire

Ten years ago I was involved in a car accident leaving me Tetraplegic with a C6/7 spinal injury. At the time I thought I would have to 'down size' my ambitions and aspirations, and for the first few years this was certainly the case. I felt like I was always behind the pace, 'chasing my tail' and I was constantly ill and exhausted through not getting the amount of help that I needed. I was also heavily reliant on the care provided by my mother, despite not living with her. Then in 2001 I began receiving payments from the ILF, in addition to Direct Payments I received from my local council, and since September 2002 the ILF has assisted me with attending college where I am studying for an MA in On-Line Broadcast Journalism.

A typical day for me begins the night before, when Sarah, one of my four Personal Assistants, arrives to help me prepare for the day ahead by assisting me to cook an evening meal, take my tablets, get undressed and into bed. This help enables me to feel up to date and organised so I can focus on what I want to achieve the following day. Sarah stays overnight twice a week and also assists with my morning routine, which begins at 7.00 am, preparing food, drinks and tablets for the day ahead. She also brushes my 'luggy' (tangled) hair, and helps me into the car.

I drive to college with Sarah, usually arriving at around 9.30 am, when she departs and Liz joins me for a busy day: attending newsroom briefings, filming, interviewing people and writing new stories. Liz also helps me with shopping, going to the bank, getting lunch and general fetching and carrying.

At 5.30 pm college finishes and I usually have about two hours unwinding time before preparation for the next day begins.

At first, becoming an employer and purchasing my own care was very difficult, now, I wouldn't have it any other way. Payments from the ILF give me the freedom and flexibility I need, to do what I want, when I want to do it. Relationships with my mother and friends are now on a level and I suffer less pain, illness and stress.

I have a far better quality of life now, and I am able to look forward and achieve an awful lot more, because of the support I get.

Mrs Gwen Leighton ILF User


"The care I am now receiving is far superior to what I was receiving whilst I was away from home. I now have my independence back once more which has always been very important to me. Without the ILFs continuing support I know the regained 'quality of life' would not be possible "

Ms J L Dillon ILF User

Focused on Improvement A review of the year 2002/03

A year of new beginnings

In January, following many months of planning, we relocated to new premises in the centre of Nottingham. The move reflected our expanding activities and provided us with the much-needed space to recruit and train new staff. By increasing staffing levels to 150 people we will be able to provide a more efficient and effective service to our users.

The new building has provided us with much needed training rooms, and in March, a professional trainer was recruited to provide technical training for new recruits and ongoing training course for existing staff. A great deal of work went into developing a Training and Developments strategy which focuses on the business needs of the organisation to ensure that all staff have the right skills for the work we do.

New staff undergoing training
New staff undergoing training

The move also enabled us to review our telephone network and we introduced an '0845' low rate telephone number to save money for those calling us. We also introduced a Text Phone facility to expand the options for communication with our users.

Revising and Redefining

The quality of our literature is, of course, extremely important and during the year we carried out a full review of the information leaflets we provide for users. This resulted in the production of 14 separate leaflets, guiding users through all they need to know about how the Fund operates, in a clear, concise and straightforward way. It is intended that, the new use guides will be distributed to users at the revisit or new application stage.

The year also saw the launch of our new application form, which is aimed at being more user friendly, as well as providing us with more detailed information on which to base our decisions.

We have developed a programme to continue the process of reviewing all or our policies, and are pleased that almost all of the policy changes recommended by the five yearly review, completed by DWP in November 2001, have now been introduced. Many existing policies have also been redefined to ensure consistency of application throughout the fund.

Hon.Maria Eagle M.P. opening the new building
Hon.Maria Eagle M.P. officially opening the new building with Chairman Sydney Shore CBE.

"The move of the Independent Living Funds to new premises will enable them to continue to improve their service to people with high support needs, assisting disabled people in gaining independence and contributing actively to the wide community."

Hon Maria Eagle MP Minister of Disabled People speaking at the official opening of our new building 12 March 2003.


Expanding Consultation

During the year, our User Group has continued to flourish and provide an opportunity for some of our users to comment on the service we provide. We have expanded membership, by inviting users from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, which has brought fresh views and new experiences to the group.

The User Group made important contributions to he redesign of our literature and application form and, more generally, to way in which we have made our information more accessible. The group has also advised on other way that we communicate with users, such as by telephone, email and newsletters. The group's views on our review process and issues about employing personal assistants have also been valuable contributions to the improvements we are making to our service.

The enthusiasm and commitment of the group has confirmed our intention to extend consultation with users of the Funds to other parts of the country, and eventually to provide opportunities for involvement by users throughout the UK. During the year we began this expansion by holding a meeting of users in London and a User Liaison Officer has been appointed to co-ordinate and take forward our aims for improved consultation.

"As members of the Client User Group, we use our unique expertise, skills and experience to consult and advise on future developments of the service. This includes the provision of appropriate information, in an accessible format, which will benefit ILF users, now and in the future."

Joan Yarnell Chair of ILF User Group

Focused on Improvement

Improving our performance has been an overriding aim for 2002/03 and although we are proud of our achievements we are far from complacent and continue to maintain focus on ensuring improvements for all areas of the organisation.

We have worked hard to develop a Performance Management System that measures our work output and efficiency in key areas. The results have been useful in highlighting areas for improvement for us, and have been used to restructure the way we wok in order to achieve the optimum productivity and service levels.

We have continued to develop the processes used to identify the key risks we face as an organisation that might prevent us from achieving our aims an objectives. We have implemented plans to control these risks to ensure performance is maintained and we have introduced a system of internal control checks aimed at reducing these risks and providing assurance to our auditors. We were very pleased to receive a substantial assurance from DWP on the first operation of these checks and have continued to develop and redefine them where necessary.

We have also focused efforts on the programme to revisit our users every two years, to ensure that we are providing the appropriate levels of assistance and that we are holding the most up to date information possible. We have carried out visits to over 10,000 of our users to ate, and of those completed 63% have received an increased award, which has provided further assurance of the benefits of such a programme.

We have also developed systems to provide us with assurance about the quality of our work, including the work of our Visiting Social Workers, and we have commended work to review or processes to eliminate inefficiency.

2002/03 has been an important year in the history of the Fund creating a turning point in the way in which we operate and setting the direction in which we will continue to move forward.

Making a Difference
The Year Ahead
by Chief Executive Elaine Morton

We have achieved a great deal over the past twelve months and our main focus during the next year will be to consolidate these achievements and ensure that we maintain our progress.  Chief Executive Elaine Morton

We have commenced the current year's work with a business plan defining our objectives as an organisation and setting out key performance targets for us to achieve. Performance improvement plans have also been established for each department that centre on, further improving our service to users and ensuring we operate as efficiently as we can. In particular, we intend to focus on reducing the time it takes us to process new applications and improve the average time it take us to complete a review visit.

ILF website Home Page The improvement of our IT will play a key role in our development as an organisation, and a detailed IT Strategy has been created to guide our actions throughout the year. We will work to integrate our two operating systems, enabling all staff to access Email, which will make it possible for our users to communicate directly in this way with their caseworker.

The move will also enable us to revise the way in which we currently produce letters, to ensure that no unnecessary delays are caused. The development of our web site will also be very important and we intend to undertake a project to investigate the possibility of using electronic forms.

We will continue to focus proactively on changes in legislation. We have developed a Race Equality scheme in line with Race Relations Amendment Act, and will put this into action during the year to ensure accessibility to an increasingly diverse community. We also intend to provide our staff with training in diversity and disability related issues. We have created the post of an Information Manager, to work on the production of our publication scheme in line with the Freedom of Information Act, which will enable members of the public access information about the organisation. We also intend to implement plans to meet the full requirements of the Data Protection Act.

We have created the post of Policy Development Manager to increase efforts to review our policies relating to users and we also intend to produce a Professional User Guide to provide Local Authorities with detailed information about the Funds policies and processes.

With regard to Local Authorities, we aim to refocus our programme of presentations and further develop our network of contact officers to enable us to build more effective partnerships.

Work will also be undertaken to ensure that our processes are secure and accurate, which will include the introduction of a system we have developed alongside DWP that will check the accuracy of the users information we hold on regular basis.

We rely on hard work and commitment of staff in Nottingham and our Visiting Social Workers across the UK. It has been a demanding year, and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts during a time of significant change. Staff at Work
Staff at work

We continue to receive positive feed-back from our users on the service we provide. We will continue to work hard to make further improvements, to ensure that our service is even better in the next 12 months.

Statistics Adding Value

It is important for us to know as much as possible about the profile of our users, in order to make informed decisions on policy and identify key issues to target. In addition to our Performance Management System, a quarterly User Profile Analysis is produced, providing a range of statistics about our users. A summary of this is provided below. If you would like the full version which also contains details of our users by Local Authority, this is available by contacting Lee Howard on 0845 6018815.

During the past 12 months the Funds' staff received over 91,000 items of incoming post, over 178,00 incoming telephone calls and faxes Andover 6,500 Emails. In the same period we received only 44 registered complaints and answered 21 letters from MPs.

Over the past year a total to 193,188 individual payments were made to disabled people.

1993 Fund

By the 31 March 2003 the 93 Fund was assisting 9,006 disabled people, an increase of 946 users of 11% since 31 March 2002.

Over the whole of the UK 93 Fund users represented 2.4% of Higher Rate DLA care component recipients.

The average 93 Fund award in payment was 242.30 per week. This had increased by 15.30 or 6.7% since 31 March 2002.

82.1% of users receive Income Support.

29.1% of users have carers receiving Carers Allowance (formerly Invalid Care Allowance).

50.9% of users are female and 49.1% male.

Status of applications received since 1 April 2002

                         93 FUND
Awaiting decision  963  30.1%
In payment 898  28.0%
Outstanding offers 678 21.2%
Refused (see below) 375  11.7%
Disallowed (see below) 235  7.3%
Suspended  28 0.9%
Cancelled (see below)  26 0.8%
Total 3,203 100%

Cancelled = award cancelled after payment
Disallowed = application rejected before VSW visit
Refused = application rejected or closed before going into payment

Extension Fund

By the 31 March 2003 the Extension Fund was assisting 6,877 disabled people, a decrease of 921 or 11.8% since March 2002.

Over the whole of the UK, Extension Fund users represent 1.8% of Higher Rate DLA care component recipients.

The average award in payment was 204.31 per week. This has increased by 25.31 or 14% since 31 March 2002.

89.9% of users receive Income Support.

30.3% of users have carers receiving Carers Allowance (formerly Invalid Care Allowance).

56% of users are female and 44% male.

Regional Distributions of users:







Accounting for public moneys 2002-03

The main source of income is in the form of Government grants from the Department for Work and Pensions (Great Britain), and the Department for Social Development (Northern Ireland); other income is mostly bank interest.

The majority of expenditure consists of discretionary grants to individual users of the Funds: administration costs account for just 3.2% of total expenditure.

A printed full copy of the audited Accounts for each Fund for the year ending 31 March 2003 is available on written application to Lee Howard, Independent Living Funds, PO Box 7525, Nottingham, NG2 4ZT.

Want to know more about the Fund?

Thank you for taking time to read our Annual Report. If you would like any further information please contact:

James Sanderson for information concerning this report;

Ian Lawrence for general information concerning the ILF;

Lesley Berry for information on our work with Local Authorities; and

Kate Blekinsop for information concerning ILF User Groups.

For all other enquiries please contact our Customer Services Team.

By Telephone: 0845 6018815

By Text Phone: 0845 6018816

By Email:

In Writing: Independent Living Funds
PO Box 7525

If you would like a copy of one of our publications in an alternative format or language, please contact Lee Howard on 0845 6018815.

1993 Fund Eligibility Criteria

A successful applicant to the 1993 Fund must meet the following criteria:-

Be living in the UK;

Be at least 16 and under 66 years of age;

Receive the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (or the equivalent Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance) and be able to live independently in the community for at least six months.

Have savings/capital of less than 18,500, which includes savings/capital of partner, and an income which is insufficient to cover the cost of care needed;

Be assessed by the Local Authority as being at risk of entering residential care, or capable of leaving it to live in the community; and

Receive at least 200 worth of services/funding per week from the Local Authority, net of any charge and be assessed as needing additional care.


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