Councillors have approved a new adult social care charging policy developed in consultation with hundreds of residents and aimed at better meeting their needs through a clearer and fairer charging system.
The policy was agreed unanimously by Cornwall Council’s Cabinet at its meeting last week.
The policy was written following informal engagement with voluntary and community organisations and endorsed by councillors for public consultation last March.
Residents had their say on the plans during a five-month, extended consultation which included 28 public online events, 20 virtual events for organisations, letters to service-users, telephone engagement and an online survey in which more than 350 residents, carers and those representing someone with care needs responded.
The majority of responders said the new draft policy was easy to understand and supported a self-service option to apply for financial assistance for funding adult social care.
The suggested changes include practices which are already used in many other local authority areas.
Key changes in the policy are:
- Charging for care at home from the date care services commence instead of when a financial assessment is completed;
- Calculating respite care charges in line with the rules for short stays at care homes;
- A new fee for arranging care for self-funding residents who pay all their care costs;
- Removing a £2.50 set price subsidy for meals supplied at home.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for adults Cllr Rob Rotchell said: “This new adult social care charging policy has been developed with extensive consultation and feedback from our residents and partners in the care and voluntary sectors.
“It’s been designed to simplify the charging process for different aspects of social care and set out much more clearly what people will be expected to pay for. It also aligns our charging practices with other councils.
“Unless you qualify for financial assistance there is a charge for adult social care, which can be confusing as many people assume it is free like the NHS. Often people come to us in crisis and it can be a shock to learn this. The changes proposed will ensure that we continue to make best use of taxpayers money and help those that are most in need.”