Personal Care at Home Bill

House of Lords written question – answered on 10th February 2010.

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Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimates they have made of the additional administrative costs to local authorities of the assessments of individuals to be made as a result of the Personal Care at Home Bill.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimates they have made of the additional staff required to assess people for new care entitlements under the Personal Care at Home Bill, and to provide care to those assessed as entitled.

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the cost of implementing the Personal Care at Home Bill after its first year of operation; and whether they will compensate local authorities for any costs above their current estimate of costs.

Photo of Baroness Thornton Baroness Thornton Government Whip, Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The costs associated with increasing numbers of assessments have been included in the administrative component of table 2 in the Impact Assessment for the Personal Care at Home Bill. The costs of assessment for those already receiving free care or partially funding their care are in the system already. A copy of the Impact Assessment has already been placed in the Library.

In the absence of firm data at this stage, we have assumed that the average cost of an assessment is £200 and that 135,000 extra individuals will be assessed per year, giving an overall cost estimate of £27 million per year, as shown in the impact assessment. This has been included in the estimated overall annual costs of £670 million per year for 2011-12.

Councils that are not currently differentiating between people in the Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) Critical band and those in the Substantial band are not following the current FACS guidance, which makes it clear that councils should be doing this already.

There would clearly be some additional assessments for people who are self-funders, or those with previously unmet needs and these are reflected in the estimates. For those in the FACS Critical band, who will need a further assessment of their personal care needs, we will be developing a simple, national tool to determine people's personal care needs which will ease the burden on authorities and ensure a consistent national approach.

No separate estimate has been made of the numbers of additional staff who may be required to carry out assessments. It is for councils to decide how best to use the additional funding they will receive to manage services. In some cases, this may involve the redeployment of existing staff.

The cost of implementing the Personal Care at Home Bill will be reviewed after 12 to 18 months. Any decisions on funding allocations to councils will be made in light of the review findings.

The funding of £670 million available for the proposed measures requires councils to make significant efficiency savings (of £250 million in a full year) and this pressure, along with the scope for further efficiency gains, will be considered as part of the normal Spending Review process.

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