A review of charging for non-residential care services was approved by Lancashire County Council’s cabinet today (Thursday 9 November).
An eight-week consultation giving people the opportunity to share their views about the proposed changes will be announced soon. Once completed, the results of the consultation will be considered before the new way of charging is introduced in April 2018.
These charges were last reviewed in 2011, some six years ago.
Non-residential care services support people with disabilities and elderly people to live as independently as possible in their community.
These county council run services include: home care, outreach services, day care, direct payment and personal budget services, supported living, and the Shared Lives Scheme.
The proposed charging policy calculates how much people may need to pay towards their non-residential care based on a comprehensive financial assessment.
In line with legislation and with the current policy, people will only be charged for non-residential care according to their assessed ability to pay. Currently over 51% of people receiving non-residential adult care services are either assessed as not having to pay, are funded by the NHS or are exempt under the Mental Health Act.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “The rates we currently charge people are based on 2011 figures and since that time costs have risen by over 14%. Given the county council’s current financial position this situation can’t continue.
“Under these proposals, as with our current policy, people would only be charged according to their ability to pay for their non-residential care.
“Inevitably some people would have to pay more, but most people would not see a significant increase in care costs.
“Of the 5,694 people paying for non-residential care services, 92% would see an increase in care charges of less than £20 per week. For more than 4,000 people, this increase would be less than £10 a week.
“It’s crucial that the system is fair and as part of the ongoing financial assessment process, we already include a free check to ensure people are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to. This will continue under the revised scheme.
“The proposed charging policy is consistent with those introduced by other councils across the country and is in line with the guidelines set out by central government in The Care Act 2014.”
Revising the charging policy for all non-residential care services will help to ensure the county council can cover the costs of providing them in the future by generating an extra £2.9m per year.
County Councillor Gooch added: “Non-residential care covers a range of crucial services which enable people to get the care and support they need to live in their home or community for as long as possible.
“We need to change the way we charge for these services, so that we can continue to provide them in the future.
“This needs to be done fairly with the people who use the services being given every opportunity to share their views. Now the review has been approved, a consultation giving people the chance to let us know what they think will begin.
“We’ll provide further details once the consultation dates have been finalised.”
To view the cabinet report, visit: council.lancashire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=6704&Ver=4