A consultation giving people the opportunity to have their say about non-residential care charges begins this week.
The eight-week consultation, which begins on Friday 15 December, will give people who use the service the opportunity to share their views by filling in a form that has been posted to them or visiting the county council’s website.
The county council’s cabinet approved a review of charging for non-residential care at its meeting on 9 November.
These charges were last reviewed in 2011, some six years ago. Since then, costs have risen by more than 14%.
Non-residential care services support people with disabilities and older people to live as independently as possible in their own homes and community.
These county council funded services include home care, outreach services, day care, direct payment and personal budget services, supported living, and the Shared Lives Scheme.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “The way we currently charge for non-residential care services is based on 2011 figures, when care was much cheaper. Since then costs have risen by over 14%.
“Given the county council’s current financial position this situation can’t continue. 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.
“Under these proposals, as with our current policy, people would only be charged according to their ability to pay for their non-residential care. Currently more than 51% of people receiving non-residential adult care services do not have to pay.
“Inevitably some people would have to pay more, but most people would not see a significant increase in care costs.
“It’s crucial that that everyone using these services has the opportunity to tell us what they think about the new charges we’re proposing.
“If you’re receiving non-residential care, I’d encourage you to return the forms we’ve sent out or visit our website to let us know what you think.”
Under the proposed new system, only 8% of the 5,694 people using the services would see an increase in care charges of more than £20 per week. For more than 4,000 people, this increase would be less than £10 a week.
Councillor Gooch added: “We want to ensure the new system is fair and affordable for individuals who need care and support. We already include a free check to ensure people are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to and this will continue under the revised scheme.
“Most councils across the country who have responsibility for social care have already introduced charges similar to the ones we’re proposing following the introduction of the Care Act in 2014.”
As well as consulting people who use the services, the county council will also be considering the views of others, including carers or family members, statutory agencies and voluntary and private sector organisations. Their views will be considered through a separate consultation on the county council’s website.
Anyone wanting to share their views should visit the county council’s website: www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay.