Fairer charges for Council care services

Calderdale Council is reviewing the way some adults are charged for the social care they receive, either in their own home or within the community.

Proposed changes to the ‘Fairer Charging Policy’ will be discussed by Cabinet on Monday 8 April, before going to full Council for approval on Wednesday 24 April.

The review has been made necessary by the implementation of personal budgets, the need to address inequalities in the way charges are calculated and by the requirement to deliver a budget saving.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Social Care, Cllr Bob Metcalfe said:

“The present policy is too complex. Our new proposals will bring Calderdale more into line with neighbouring authorities – but still with the second lowest charges.

“We are completely committed to providing quality services for local people. Income from charges is vital to help meet that aspiration in this very tough financial climate.”

Recent Government spending cuts have impacted on the Council’s social care budget at a time of rising demand, caused by the rapidly growing number of older people and the increasingly complex requirements of adults with a learning disability.

Currently, in Calderdale, almost 40 per cent of people pay no charge at all because their financial resources are too low. Although some would now have to make a charge, no one would be charged more than they can afford, based on an individual financial assessment.

Under national guidance, councils can decide who is eligible for social care support. Calderdale is one of only a very tiny number of local authorities which still sets its access criteria at the level of ‘moderate’ need.

Cllr Metcalfe continued:

“Most councils now put their access-to-care threshold at a substantial or even critical level. We believe this can deny people with real needs the support they deserve.

“Realistically, however, Calderdale can only sustain this approach by ensuring we continue to generate the necessary funding resources.”

Consultation on the proposed changes has already been carried out, firstly during discussions on the Councils latest budget proposals, then directly with service users, through questionnaires and special meetings. A full equality impact assessment has also been conducted.

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