Resource website Community Care has published an analysis of 55 local authorities adult social care budgets for 2014-2015.
Given ongoing cuts to public funding , local authorities are under pressure to continue to cut their budgets. In the Community Care report, ten of the most dramatic ways in which local authorities are seeking to cut funding are highlighted along with the ways this may adversely affect for service users.
These include areas such as restricting personal budgets to personal care needs rather than including daily activities in the community. In addition to restricting the ability of service users to integrate into the community this also has the potential to greatly restrict the respite that family carers receive This is something that the local authorities themselves identified as a possible consequence of their cuts.
Another area of concern is that a number of councils are seeking to replace home visits for care and home visits for assessments in some areas by telephone or skype visits. This will be of concern to many service users who rely on daily care visits for vital support for complex needs. Many councils are also expecting to re-negotiate contracts with outside providers of care services to reduce the amount they pay to already stretched providers.
Finally a large number of councils are planning to increase the cost of services for those who need to contribute to their care needs. This means that those receiving disability benefits will be expected to contribute more of this towards their care needs.
Despite all of these planned reductions to services, local authorities are still under an obligation to provide for the assessed care needs of service users. They are also under a duty to assess anyone who may be in need of services. Therefore a local authority cannot refuse to either assess or provide services to someone who approaches them and is deemed to have such needs.
If you are concerned that your local authority is unfairly refusing to assess you or a family member or if you believe that your service provision is being cut unlawfully or expert team are able to offer advice and guidance in relation to all aspects of community care.
By Emma McClure, community care team