Leeds City Council’s executive board has given the go ahead for a public consultation to take place regarding proposals to changes in charging for non-residential adult social care services, at their meeting today.
The consultation will take place from August to October 2012 involving around 20000 customers, as well as carers, customer and carer led groups, voluntary, community and faith sector organisations, partners, staff and elected members.
Leeds has always been a low charging authority for its adult social care services. However, in the context of government funding cuts and the council having to make savings of £145million over the last two years, inconsistencies in the charging structure now need to be addressed.
Bringing charges closer to those of other authorities will put Leeds on a more level playing field with other councils across the country, who are also struggling with increasing demand for care packages for older people and people with learning disabilities. Charges for people in Leeds whose social care support needs are substantial or critical would still be means tested and the majority of people currently using services at this level would see no change in their payments.
In July 2011, senior councillors agreed to the removal of subsidies that were previously applied to charges for non-residential adult social care services such as home care, supported living, day care and transport services.
Despite this, the level of customer contributions being generated in Leeds is still below average when compared to other core cities. The reasons for this are inconsistencies with the current charging structure, some services are not charged for at all, and the financial assessment in Leeds takes a lower amount of people’s income and savings into account than other local authorities.
The views collected during the consultation will feed in to a report to be presented to executive board later this financial year for a final decision.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“Leeds, the same as many other local authorities, continues to face a huge financial challenge as the number of older people in our communities continues to grow, at the same time that council budgets are being cut.
“We need to have sustainable services in place for our most vulnerable adults. This public consultation will allow us to talk directly to our customers and other interested parties about what we need to do to address inequalities and ensure that our charging policy is robust and fair.
"The council has looked closely at how it delivers adult social care services over the past 18 months, and is committed to creating better lives for the people that depend on them.
“However, demand for our non-residential services continues to grow and we simply do not have the resources available to support people to live independently in their own homes without addressing this shortfall in funding.”
For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578