Council chiefs will be asked to approve changes to charging for adult social care services at their executive board meeting next week (Wednesday).
A new charging policy is being recommended for approval following an extensive consultation with customers, carers and other stakeholders, which took place from September to December 2012. Some of the original proposals that were consulted on have changed significantly in light of the feedback received.
Despite changes to the adult social care services charging policy in 2009 and 2011, income from customer contributions in Leeds remains lower than in most other local authorities. This has a big impact on the amount of money available to the council to fund adult social care services at a time when demand for them is increasing and government funding to councils is reducing.
The recommendations will generate additional income for reinvestment into adult social care services and also address anomalies in the current charging arrangements in order to create a more equal system across the board.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for adult social care services said:
“Like many other local authorities, Leeds faces a huge financial challenge in being able to provide services to the growing number of older people and people with profound disabilities in our communities, who understandably want to remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
“We are committed to creating better lives for the people that depend on our services, but due to the savings we have to make because of government cuts to council budgets, we have had to look closely at what we do and how we do it.
“We have consulted with our customers, their families and carers, elected members and other stakeholders, and we have listened to what they have said. These final recommendations have changed from the original proposals as a result of what people told us.
“We understand that people may feel anxious about their services costing more, but I can assure them that their concerns will be dealt with very sensitively.”
The proposals that were consulted on were:
• Changing the way that the council calculates how much customers will be asked to pay towards the services they receive; and
• Introducing charges for some services that are currently free.
All customers will be financially assessed, except those only using the Care Ring Service, to make sure that they only pay what they can afford. The assessment will include a benefits check to ensure that people are claiming their full entitlement and officers will complete claim forms on customers’ behalf if they wish. 43% of people who have already been financially assessed do not make any contribution towards their services. Customers who only use Care Ring services will not have a financial assessment, so we have reduced the proposed new charge by 35% to £2.50 a week to make it more affordable.
The new charges will not be introduced for existing customers until January 2014, and a 50% reduction will apply for the first six months to allow people to get accustomed to them gradually. For people already paying for services there will be a transitional cap on any increased charges of £35 per week for the first six months, with the cap going up in two more stages over the next year.
New charges will be phased in for the following services:
• Care Ring
• Mobile response service
• Mental health day services
• Shared Lives sitting service
For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578