Social care charges to rise as Rutland County Council agrees changes

Rutland County Council offices in Oakham
Rutland County Council offices in Oakham
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Councillors have approved changes to social care policy that could mean an increase in costs for some users and a loss of services for others.

Rutland County Council’s cabinet approved a series of changes to the way adult social care is delivered.

One of the major changes is to increase the maximum weekly amount people can be charged, providing they have enough savings.

Hourly rates are also set to go up and fees for second carers will be introduced.

And the eligibility criteria are also being changed which means more than 100 people currently receiving council support will be reassessed.

The council hopes the changes will mean it is using its adult social care budget in the most effective way.

Council leader Rogy Begy (Con) said: “We know our elderly population will increase substantially in the coming years, and we’re starting to see evidence already of the increased demands that the council will face.

“The decision taken by councillors is about making sure that we can still offer long-term support to those members of our community who need care the most.

“There is no reduction in the adult social care budget, but we are prioritising those who need our support the most.”

Several changes have been introduced to the social care policy. The rate for care will go up from £11.50 to £13. Fees for second carers will be introduced, the maximum weekly charge for those with more than £23,250 in savings will go up from £170 to £364 and day care services of £25 will be included in financial assessments.

And net assessable income will rise from 85 per cent to 100 per cent.

Eligibility criteria for care has also changed. Currently people with moderate needs are eligible for council support, but this will now change so only people with substantial or critical needs will receive care.

This means 116 Rutland residents with moderate needs will be reassessed and could lose their services.

Coun Begy added: “If you are receiving care in these areas from the council, you will be contacted over the coming weeks and months to arrange for an independent team to visit and go through your assessment with you.

“In the meantime, your care will continue as normal.”

The council decided to introduce changes to its adult social care policy in response to an ageing population.

Referrals in Rutland rose by 63 per cent from 1,114 in 2011/12 to 1,812 in 2012/13. Further rises are expected with census data predicting a 70 per cent increase in the over 65 age group from 2013 to 2030 and a 40 per cent rise in the over 75 bracket.

A 12-week public consultation took place earlier this year which included 18 public meetings, a direct mailing to every service user, as well as a dedicated online consultation page on the council website.

The council also published easy read and large print versions of the consultation material, and dedicated sessions were organised for people with learning disabilities and their carers.

Everyone affected by the changes will shortly receive a letter informing them of the council decision and, if required, an appointment for any reassessment.

For more information about the changes please visit the Rutland County Council website, call 01572 722 577 or e-mail enquiries@rutland.gov.uk.