Care Homes

Department of Health written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to (a) ensure families of the poorest care home residents are supported by their local authority and (b) to penalise local authorities that are non-compliant with the requirements of the Care Act 2014.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Care Act 2014 created a single, consistent route to establishing an entitlement to public care and support for all adults with needs for care and support. Anyone with eligible care needs and capital below £23,250 is entitled to have their care in a care home arranged by the local authority. The local authority may charge a person for care provided to them, subject to a financial assessment.

Charging for social care is based on a number of principles, including that people should not be charged more than they can reasonably afford to pay. Guidance issued under the Care Act 2014 specifies that a person’s family should not be required to contribute towards the cost of their care and support, and neither should the family be disadvantaged as a result of charges which the person is required to pay.

To help ensure that the families of care home residents are supported, the charging rules require local authorities to consider the family in working out how much a person can afford to pay towards the costs of their care. Local authorities must disregard certain items of income and capital, for example child benefit and property lived in by a qualifying relative, in the financial assessment of what a person can afford to pay. Full details of the ways that a local authority must consider a person’s family when charging for care and support can be found in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance

The Department does not performance manage local authorities, as they are accountable to their local populations. However, the Department does support the sector in working towards continuous improvement and addressing areas of poor performance. Additionally, the Department has funded the Local Government Association to provide peer support in implementing the Care Act.

Where the Secretary of State has serious concerns about a local authority’s adult social care, under section 48 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 he can ask the Care Quality Commission to undertake a special review of a council’s delivery and commissioning of its social care functions.

Anyone who is unhappy with the way in which a local authority carries out any of its social services functions can complain through the complaints procedure that all local authorities are required to have. Alternatively, they can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate.

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