Councillors have agreed to continue to protect the incomes of vulnerable adults by not going ahead with plans to increase charges for social care packages. 

The decision was made at Cambridgeshire County Council’s Adults Committee after they carefully listened to the feedback and views of those affected in a 12 week consultation.

The four proposals were including the enhanced level of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in financial assessments; changing the charging rules for people going into a care home for respite care; charging people for appointeeships (for help with running their finances); and that direct debits should be the default method of people paying their contribution.

Although these proposals replicate practice in some other local authorities across the country and the Care Act allows these approaches, the decision not to implement the first three proposals means that in Cambridgeshire people who receive the enhanced level of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), those going into a care home for respite care or those needing support to run their finances, will not be asked to contribute more.

However, the Committee agreed to go ahead with the proposal to make direct debits the default method of payment.

The proposals were being considered as the Adult Social Care system continues to be one that is working under huge pressure financially, with the contributions seen as a way to make savings of around £282K. However, this will now be treated as an in year pressure, which means the Council will look to make savings elsewhere.

The Council is implementing new approaches in its transformation of Adult Social Care, such as the use of Early Help and Assistive Technology, as well as the more radical Neighbourhood Cares pilot, to keep people independent in their own homes, reducing their need for expensive care.    

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Anna Bailey, Chairwoman of the Council’s Adults Committee, said: “We have carefully listened to feedback from the consultation and decided not go forward with the three main proposals as we are concerned about their impacts on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“Although we face big budget pressures around Adult Social Care, we are very reluctant to ask for further contributions from people who may already be facing their own financial challenges, although other councils across the country do and the Care Act gives us the provision to do so. We will continue to work on our transformative plans to make greater savings and meet the demands of increasing numbers of people needing support.”

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