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Non-residential care charges to be considered by cabinet

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet will discuss a review of non-residential care charges at its meeting on Thursday 9 November.

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.

A consultation giving people the opportunity to share their views about the proposed changes will begin in early December subject to cabinet approval. These changes would be introduced from April 2018.

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% will 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 would 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 would 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 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 let us know what they think. If the policy is approved, an eight-week consultation will begin.

“This is an important issue and we will consider it along with other key decisions at our next cabinet meeting.”

To view the cabinet report, visit: council.lancashire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=6704&Ver=4

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