Cllr Neil Nerva, Brent Cabinet Member for Public Health and Adult Social Care
Brent Council opened consultation on changes in Adult Social Care charges on Thursday that propose a reduction in the minimum income guarantee support and increased charges for service users. This will reduce Brent Council spending on Adult Social Care overall. Adult Social Care is the biggest area of Council spending.
Attempting to put a positive gloss on the proposals, Councillor Neil Nerva, Cabinet Member for Public Health & Adult Social Care, said:
These proposals for the charging policy are essential to ensure that we can continue to deliver a high-quality Adult Social Care service for years to come. If adopted Brent’s Adult Social Care charging policy would still be one of the most generous in London but it would be more consistent and sustainable for future years.
The Council said:
The proposed changes to the charging policy are essential to ensure the council can continue to provide the Adult Social Care services thousands of residents rely on in a sustainable way for years to come.
The proposals include:
- Changes to the minimum income guarantee – There is a minimum level of income which a person must be left with after charges are taken. This changes according to a person’s circumstances. Currently, Brent tops this up by 25%. It is proposed to reduce this to 10%. This change only affects the half of service users that contribute towards the cost of their homecare and these people will still receive 10% more than the minimum level of income they need to live, which would be one of the most generous schemes in London. The consultation will ask whether this should be implemented in full in April 2024, or phased over time.
- Increasing the amount charged to service users if they do not participate or cooperate with their financial assessment – The vast majority of service users take part in the financial assessment process, but if after four weeks they do not, it is proposed they are charged the full cost of their care. The average care cost will also be raised for financial assessments that take longer than expected to complete. The consultation will ask whether residents agree with this proposal.
- Increasing the hourly rate charged for homecare from £12.97, which will increase annually – This will impact self-funders (people who pay the total cost of their care) and some people on low incomes who have a small care package, however everyone will be re-assessed to ensure they can afford to pay. The consultation will ask what steps the council should take to support those affected.
- Charges during admissions to hospital – Proposals include not reimbursing service users for the cost of their adult social care while they are in hospital, for up to seven days if they receive homecare, or 28 days if they are in a residential or nursing home
In only the second proposal are residents given the opportunity to reject it outright. Public consultation meetings will be arranged to discuss the proposals.
More information is available on the Consultation website LINK . This includes a Powerpoint presentation from which I have extracted some case studies below:
The Council seek to reassure service users:
Share your thoughts on the consultation by Sunday 17 December. The council will then review all feedback and present the final proposals to Brent’s Cabinet in January. The earliest that any changes will take effect is April 2024.