The proposals seek to make sure those eligible are financially assessed to contribute fairly towards their respite care and sitting service, based on their ability to pay – and ensuring enough money is retained to meet their everyday living costs.
The consultation is seeking the views of current and potential service users, stakeholders and other interested parties. As well as an online consultation (via iwight.com), paper and easy read copies of the questionnaire will be made available. Letters are also being sent out over the next few days to all who receive the service.
The proposals have been generated in response to new requirements placed on the council under the Care Act 2014.
Executive member for adult social care, Councillor Steve Stubbings said:
“This consultation allows us to take full account of the views and feedback before bringing finalised proposals to the council for consideration.
“Under the proposals all who are in need of these services will continue to receive them and following an assessment they will only be charged if they are able to pay.
“The proposed changes are set against the backdrop of new legislation under the Care Act – as well as the well documented financial pressures placed upon the council by reduced government grants and rising costs.”
The new duties under the Care Act 2014 include supporting carers on an equal basis to other adult service users and supporting self-funding people to access care through the council.
It means from April 2016 an increase is envisaged in the number of people approaching the council for help with their care and support. This is because the upper limit starting point from which a person will be required to meet the full cost of their care fees without financial support from the council is increasing. The new upper capital limit is expected to be different dependent upon whether the care will be required at home or in a residential care setting and is due to be subject to further national consultation.
To help meet the expected increased costs, the council is seeking to amend its current charging policy by removing the flat rate weekly charge for respite care (that is applied for up to eight weeks in a year) and introduce a charge that is based on a financial assessment of the cared for person.
In addition, the council proposes to introduce an assessed charge for its sitting service based on a financial assessment of the cared for person, to replace the existing two hours of free sitting provided each week.
Under the proposed new arrangements the council has no intention of removing or reducing the provision of respite care and sitting services.
Currently 512 people receive either respite or sitting services – and 726 receive a personal budget that may include a need for these services as part of their support plan.