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Home Care Charging Policy Under Review

Warwickshire Social Services’ policy of charging for home care is set to undergo a radical shake-up aimed at making it fairer, simpler and easier to understand.

New proposals outlined by the Director of Social Services, Trish Haines, have been supported in principal by councillors and the Director will present her final proposals, with costings, to the Social Services Committee in February.

The Director said:

"I believe these proposals will make charging simpler to operate and easier for people receiving home care to understand. Charging will be based on a combination of the level of services needed by an individual and by their ability to pay."

The proposals include:

  • Reducing the levels of charge for people receiving moderate to high levels of care and increasing charges for those receiving lower levels of service, bringing Warwickshire into line with other local authorities
  • From 1 April 1999 charging for home care at an hourly rate rather than under the existing band system and setting a maximum charge or "cap" for each service user in accordance with their financial situation. The cap would be set at five levels, ranging from people on Income Support to those with more than 16,000 savings.
  • Eventually charging on the basis of the amount of care received rather than planned.

The Advisory Panel on Charging, a panel made up of service users, carers, and voluntary organisations has broadly supported the proposals.

Charging was reviewed after problems arose with the policy, which was launched in 1996. Councillors heard that the administration was complex and the policy was criticised as being unfair because those in greatest need were being charged while those receiving low levels of care were sometimes paying nothing at all.

Ground-breaking research carried our by the department, comparing Warwickshire with other local authorities, found that the county charged more than average for home care users on benefits who received higher levels of care but was in a small minority of authorities which didn’t charge at all for low levels of care. Charges for day care, transport, meals and respite care were about the same as other authorities.

More Information
Sara Hurst 01926 418092

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CWN / Politics / Warwickshire County Council / Press Releases / 11 Nov 98

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