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Council consults on adult social care charges

The way adult services are charged for comes under the spotlight this month as Herefordshire Council launches a consultation into how adult care services should be paid for in the future. 

In June last year the council agreed a number of charging principles, one of which was to recover the full cost of services wherever possible. The adult care services consultation embraces this principle and is likely to affect around 2,000 people.  Residential care is not included in the consultation.

There are a wide range of services available to help adults in Herefordshire: these include community meals, day care, supported employment and personal or home care. In addition, there are services available to help carers such as short breaks and sitting services. 

More adults are receiving personal budgets to help them decide how their needs should be met.  The council needs to be clear about the full cost of services, and in line with council policy, charge the full cost of these services unless there is a clear reason not to do so.

As a result, the council is proposing to reduce subsidies and charge the full cost of services, however, those services are provided.  In putting together proposals, the council’s priorities have been to make sure that the proposed changes are fair and equitable.  Under the proposals, everyone will be offered a financial assessment and those who cannot afford to pay will receive assistance.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:  “We need to encourage independent living as much as possible and to make sure those who are vulnerable and cannot afford to pay are protected. Reductions in budgets mean we have to prioritise how we spend our money, but the proposed changes will only affect those who can afford to pay.

“We are keen to hear from all the people who currently use these services and have written to them personally.  We want to know what they think about our planned changes, and, more importantly, how it will affect them.

“But we also want to hear from carers, families and other members of the community and are encouraging them to have a look at our proposals and let us know what they think.”

The consultation documents will be available from Friday 25 May at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/adultcare

Deadline for responses is 20 August 2012.  The responses will be gathered and referred to the council’s cabinet for consideration.