SOCIAL CARE CHARGING POLICY REVIEW
Decision Maker: Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Council has a current Adult Social Care charging and financial assessment policy which came into effect on 1 April 2015. It covers charging information for both residential care and non-residential care. This report sets out the result of an officer review of the provisions of the current policy. Following the review, it has been proposed that Adult Social Care should operation with two key charging policies.
The current policy has been split in two and strengthened to include more information which allows for a clear and transparent approach to charging, the two key policies drafted are:
Residential Charging Policy – Appendix 1
Community Services Charging Policy (previously referred to as Non-Residential) – Appendix 2
The adoption by the Council of a revision to current policy is recommended. Both charging policies will be subject to public consultation, therefore this is an in-principal decision, pending feedback from the consultation process (please see recommendations below). The new policies do not fundamentally change existing policy, they do however provide significantly more detail to enable people to make decisions regarding charging. Examples are provided to help the policy to be more understandable by people that contribute towards their social care costs. The new policy will not directly impact current charging arrangements.
Resolved – That
1. the draft charging policies, as set out in Appendix 1 and 2 of the report be approved and the Director of Care and Health be authorised to undertake public consultation on both policies.
2. the Director of Care and Health be authorised, in consultation with the Chair and Spokespersons to finalise both policies following receipt of any feedback from the public consultation.
Reasons for the decision:
Wirral Council has a duty to arrange care and support for those with eligible needs. This applies to adults, aged 18 or over, who are unable to perform some of their dayto-day tasks as a result of age, illness, disability or any significant change in their life. The Care Act 2014 provides a single legal framework for charging and enables a Local Authority to charge a person when it is arranging to meet a person’s care and support. This is set out in Sections 14 and 17 of the Care Act 2014.
Following the review, it has been proposed that Adult Social Care should operate with two key charging policies. The previous policy has been split in two and strengthened to include more information which allows for a clear and transparent approach to charging. The two key policies which have been drafted are:
Residential Charging Policy
Community Services Charging Policy (previously referred to as Non-Residential) 1
The Annual Complaints Report for Adult Social Care has highlighted an increase in complaints about charging over a number of years. In addition to this, several complaints have been escalated to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about the Council’s financial processes and practice. Learning from both complaints and Ombudsman decisions have been embedded into the new policies.
Alternative options considered:
The Council could not update the charging policies; however, this would not mitigate the risks which can arise from both complaints and Ombudsman decisions/reports, particularly those identifying faults in Council financial processes and practice and may lead to the Council being in breach of its statutory duties.
The recommendation detailed in this report, is to strengthen the current policy. These improvements will ensure:
1. people using Adult Social Care services have access to clear information which will allow for a full understanding of their care and support charges
2. the Council is fully compliant with statutory guidance in respect of charging
Publication date: 06/03/2023
Date of decision: 06/03/2023
Decided at meeting: 06/03/2023 - Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee
Effective from: 11/03/2023