If you or someone you know is experiencing cuts to social care services, it can be a very confusing and daunting time. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions and a few ideas on how to challenge cuts.
Sometimes the language used by councils can be difficult to understand. Here are a few important words and phrases explained.
Assessment/reassessment - when the council looks at what support a person needs to be happy, safe and independent. A person has to be assessed before the council will decide what services they can get, and they should be reassessed regularly to make sure they’re getting the support they need.
Eligible need - the needs identified during an assessment (known as presenting needs) that meet the council’s eligibility criteria. The council has a legal duty to meet all eligible needs.
Eligibility criteria - thresholds for what levels of need councils will meet by providing social care services. These levels are low, moderate, substantial and critical, and each of a person’s needs will be put into one of these groupings when they are assessed.
Consultation - when a council asks for people’s views on proposals to change their services.
Disability-related expenditure - any money spent because of a person’s disability. This could be a wide range of things, including paying for equipment, higher utility bills and transport costs.
Respite - sometimes called ‘short breaks’, this is a service that gives carers a rest from caring. It could be a support worker coming to take over caring for an afternoon or a weekend, or it could be the person being cared for going to a respite centre for a short time.
Councils must provide transport to and from day services if a person has an eligible need for that day service.
Councils can charge for services they provide, including through flat rate charges, and each council can decide what they charge.
Lots of councils are closing day centres and other social care services to try and save money. They can close services but only if they provide alternatives for people to use.
The council has switched to a personal budget and it is not enough to get the support that is needed
The law says that a person's eligible needs must be met by the council.
Firstly, ask for a copy of the completed assessment forms and the care/support plan.
The support that carers give to their loved ones should be immensely valued by councils and not taken for granted.
When a council is thinking about changing services quite significantly, it should hold a consultation asking everyone who would be affected by the changes what they think.
All councils have what we call eligibility criteria, which are thresholds for what levels of need they will meet by providing social care services.
Here are some ideas for campaigning against cuts to services.
If you want to complain to the council, try doing it informally if you have a contact in the council. If this doesn’t work, write to the council telling them what you are unhappy about.