Council to join national approach on adult social care charging

Watch Cambridgeshire County Councillor Anna Bailey’s video message

A consultation has launched on plans to change adult social care charging, bringing Cambridgeshire County Council in line with the majority of other local authorities.

The council’s Adults Committee carefully considered the plans before voting to consult on the proposed changes.

The alternative would be a reduction in the overall budget available to meet care needs or a reduction in prevention and services that help keep people living as independently as possible.

Many people who receive social care from Cambridgeshire County Council receive disability benefits which are paid specifically by the Government to help meet the costs of their care and support. Since the introduction of the Care Act 2014, Councils have been allowed to charge for certain non-statutory adult social care services and take into account some disability benefits when charging. The majority of Councils across the country have subsequently introduced such cha​nges.

Cambridgeshire County Council reviewed its charging policy two years ago and made no changes at that time. However, since then the financial situation has changed, other Councils have made further changes and the pressure on the adult social care budget has significantly increased.

If the policy changes were to be adopted after the consultation the Council would ensure that any changes include protections to reduce the impact on the most vulnerable. The Council would also retain discretion to review the impact on an individual case by case basis and make appropriate adjustments.

The proposals come at a time when adult social care in Cambridgeshire, like many other areas of the country, is under pressure. This is compounded by Cambridgeshire being the sixth worst funded County Council in the country and also the fastest growing area of the country, including a growth in the population of people aged 80 plus expected to grow by 30% by 2024.

The Council is holding a 12 week consultation on five proposed changes and will launch shortly. Full consultation details will be available via the ‘Consultations’ page on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.

The intention is to give everyone who wants to be involved the opportunity to find out about the proposed changes and to give their views.

People will be able to give their views by a variety of methods, including: an online survey, paper survey (which is also available in Easy Read and large print versions), at community events and at meetings run by other interested groups.

Those people who may be directly affected by the proposed changes will receive a letter from the Council with a paper survey and a pre-paid envelope enclosed for a reply.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Anna Bailey, Chairwoman of the Adults Committee said: “The Adults Committee has held a wide ranging debate regarding the review of the adult social care charging policy and has voted to consult on the proposals. We have thought long and hard about this and we are one of the last councils to explore this option. However, due to the significant budget pressures and the temporary nature of government funding for adult social care, means we are now having to make difficult decisions.

“If we don’t explore this, the other options we would need to pursue would be to reduce those free preventative services we provide that help keep people safe, well and living independently as possible.

“There would also be the danger that we would not have enough budget for care packages. We will make sure that if introduced, the new charges are individually affordable for each person affected and we will be consulting fully with those that are affected and with voluntary organisations. We want to hear their views to understand the impacts and to help shape these proposals further.”

To read the read the report, including the five proposals view here.

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