Report of the Director of Children and Adults Services
The Leader of the Council introduced the report of the Director of Children and Adults Services (previously circulated) informing Members of the outcome of a consultation undertaken regarding the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) for Non-Residential Services Policy, aspects of which had been consulted upon with service users and members of the public over a period of four weeks. A copy of the Proposed Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) for Non-Residential Services Policy, Consultation Paper, Equality Impact Assessment and examples of consultation responses were all appended to the submitted report.
The submitted report stated that, following a complaint made to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSO) the Council had completed a public consultation on its charging policy relating to non-residential services in respect of the treatment of income from benefits; although the treatment of income from benefits was discretionary, this Council were seeking approval to treat income from benefits as part of any financial assessment made under the policy; and that it was a requirement of the LGSO judgement that Cabinet were aware that there was a choice on how it considered the treatment of income from benefits in the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) for Non-Residential Services Policy.
Members of the public in attendance at the meeting addressed Cabinet in respect of the discretion that was available to them, on whether the income from eligible benefits would be considered and taken into account, as part of the financial assessment under the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) for Non-Residential Services Policy. In addressing Cabinet, reference was made to the transfer from the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) payment to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP); the extra amount paid to the Council by service users for the same level of service; the fact that PIP does not distinguish between day and night time services; the view that this causes some service users to experience hardship; and requesting that consideration be given to allowing the night time disregard, provided to people when in receipt of DLA, to be applied when they are in receipt of PIP.
The Leader of the Council responded thereon, and in doing so, stated that the review of the Policy had been undertaken as a result of the judgement from the LGSO which stated that Cabined should be aware that there was a choice on how the Council considered the treatment of income from benefits.
In reaching its decision Members considered the Equality Impact Assessment, as appended to the submitted report.
RESOLVED - That all eligible benefits that the Council has the discretion to include in the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) for Non-Residential Services Policy, as part of a financial assessment for those individuals being assessed for non-residential services under the Care Act 2014, its guidance and associated regulations, be included within such assessments.
REASON - The Care Act 2014 indicates that members have a choice of which benefits to take into consideration when assessing someone’s ability to contribute towards their care and support needs. The Council seeks for members to exercise their discretion and to take benefits into account during a financial assessment. Such a policy would ensure that assessments are fair and consistently applied to all. The previous policy in relation to non-residential care services, namely the Fairer Contributions Policy, took into account income from benefits and this adoption of the proposed policy would see a continuation of that methodology. The financial impact on the Council in not adopting the proposed policy would be significant and could impact on the services provided by the Council as a whole. The consultation responses provided are specific to individual needs and circumstances and should members agree with the recommendation then the application of the proposed policy can be addressed on a case by case basis addressing those issues or concerns directly.