Committee (6th Day)

Part of Care Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 16th July 2013.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 6:30 pm, 16th July 2013

I am more than happy to discuss this with the noble Lord and I apologise if I have misunderstood his amendment. I certainly would not wish to do that.

The noble Lord, Lord Low, asked me how equipment and adaptations will be addressed in a personal budget. Those costs that are intended to meet eligible needs will be included in the personal budget, or the independent personal budget, and will count towards the cap. We intend that aids and minor adaptations will be provided free of charge however they are funded, including by way of direct payments.

The noble Baroness, Lady Wheeler, asked me when the regulations under Clause 14 will be published. We intend to publish the draft regulations after the forthcoming consultation on funding reform. This consultation will enable the regulations to be based on the best available evidence. She asked where are the provisions about complaints and redress in relation to charging and, indeed, all of Part 1. Existing complaints provision for adult social care is through regulations. The provisions of the regulations mean that anyone who is dissatisfied with the decision made by the local authority about their assessment or eligibility would be able to complain to the local authority and have that complaint handled by the local authority. The local authority must make its own arrangements for dealing with complaints in accordance with the 2009 regulations.

The Government recognise that the existing framework allows local authorities flexibility in the development of the process for dealing with appeals and challenges. There are options for local authorities to introduce independent elements to the complaints process through a range of formal and informal measures. Each local authority will therefore have a different process and we appreciate that local variation will result in varying user experiences. If a complainant is not satisfied with the response from the local authority, they can refer the case to the independent Local Government Ombudsman.

I hope that those remarks will be helpful and that the noble Baroness, Lady Pitkeathley, will for now be able to withdraw her amendments.