Have your say on Central Bedfordshire Council's plans for adult social care charges Have your say on Central Bedfordshire Council's plans for adult social care charges Image by Pixel-Shot AdobeStock_274417506

£174 annual admin fee for self-funders is one of the proposals

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) is urging residents to have their say on changes to how the Council charges for adult social care. If you or a loved one accesses social care, or you’re planning for the future, then these changes could affect you.

What and how customers need to pay for adult social care is set out in CBC’s Adult Social Care Charging Policy. This sets out the guidelines for how CBC customers are charged for their care and support. The policy defines an adult as someone aged 18 or over.

The current policy was set out ten years ago. Since then funding for council services has changed. Ten years ago, a quarter of CBC’s funding came from Central Government. Now councils are expected to fund services through the council tax they collect.

CBC says that the Adult Social Care Charging Policy, which is based on national legislation, needs to be fundamentally reviewed and updated to take into account the changes. 

Cllr Richard Wenham, deputy leader and executive member for Corporate Resources, said:

“We’re in a very different financial landscape to ten years ago when the last Policy was created, so it is right that we look at it again.

“We have more limited resources – mainly funded by Council Tax – but a much higher demand for adult social care services.”

Summary of key proposals

  • To introduce an annual fee of £174 for managing ongoing care and support services for self-funders
  • To financially assess people who receive one-off direct payments. When the Council pays a person directly so they can choose and arrange their care and support themselves. Everyone, regardless of whether they receive regular direct payments or one-off direct payments, will be financially assessed
  • To recover the actual cost of pet care service when it happens
  • To reduce the minimum income guarantee in line with the amount set by Central Government. People receiving council arranged care and support other than in a care home need to keep a certain amount of money to cover their living costs
  • To be consistent to how the council assesses Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment. Introducing this change could increase charges for people currently receiving the higher rate of Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance
  • To increase the amount of disability related expenditure that is considered for people who receive the higher rate Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance or the enhanced rate of Personal Independence Payment. The new limit would increase from £15 to £29 per week
  • To introduce an interim funding arrangement for those people who are in the process of arranging a deferred payment agreement but for whatever reason have not yet been able to make one. This will include a set up charge, an annual fee and interest charges
  • That if a self-funder permanently lives at a care home but then they no longer have enough money to pay the full cost of their care from their income and savings, they will no longer be eligible for the 12-week disregard period*
  • That individuals who have additional properties that are not their main residence will not be entitled to a 12-week disregard for the additional properties

Cllr Carole Hegley, executive member for Adults, Social Care, Housing Operations (HRA) and Customer Services, said:

“As more people are living longer and often with complex needs, the demand is increasing along with the cost of providing these services.

“So, these are tough decisions but we believe the proposals we’ve put forward are fair and we’d really like to hear people’s thoughts on them.”

To have your say online or pick up a paper copy of the consultation summary and questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands or at one of CBC’s libraries. The consultation closes on 30 April 2020.

CBC will also be writing to current customers who could be affected if the changes are approved.

*12-week disregard period
If someone moves into a care home permanently and has less than £23,250 in savings, the Council must not include the value of their home in their financial assessment for 12 weeks. During this time the Council will pay towards care home fees unless the property sells within that time.