Cuts FAQs

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.

Jargon buster

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.

The council has stopped providing free transport to day centres/colleges

Councils must provide transport to and from day services if a person has an eligible need for that day service.

The council is charging too much for its services

Councils can charge for services they provide, including through flat rate charges, and each council can decide what they charge.

The council is closing a day centre (or other service)

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.

The council has done a reassessment of needs and now the support being given isn't enough

Firstly, ask for a copy of the completed assessment forms and the care/support plan.

The council isn't giving carers enough support to keep on caring

The support that carers give to their loved ones should be immensely valued by councils and not taken for granted.

The council is holding a consultation about changes to services

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.

The council has changed its eligibility criteria and some people are no longer eligible for support

All councils have what we call eligibility criteria, which are thresholds for what levels of need they will meet by providing social care services.

Campaigning tips

Here are some ideas for campaigning against cuts to services.

Making a complaint

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.