The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Communities, which informed Members on the changes involved with the new Care Act and on local progress.
The Board was advised that the changes coming into effect in April 2015 which impact directly on the Council include:
A duty to provide prevention, information and advice services;
· A national minimum threshold for eligibility for both service users and carers;
· The entitlement for carers to assessment, support services and review equal to that of the service user;
· The right for people who pay for their own care to receive advice and support planning; and
· A universal system for deferred payments for residential care.
The Board was further advised that the changes coming into effect from April 2016 which impact directly on the Council include:-
A cap on the costs that people have to pay to meet their eligible needs;-
· A ‘care account’ giving people with eligible social care needs an annual statement of their progress towards reaching the cap, whether their care is organised by the local authority or not; and
· Extending the financial support provided by the local authority by raising the means test threshold for people with eligible needs.
It was reported that to oversee the implementation of the Care Act in Halton, an overarching Care Act Strategic Group chaired by Operational Director Prevention and Assessment had been established. The strategic group in turn oversees six sub-groups each working to their own implementation plan that included working towards completion of reviewing relevant documents, policies, considering training and workforce development, charging and cost implications as well as understanding and identifying potential risks. A brief summary of each of the subgroups was included in this report.
Furthermore, it was reported that to support the implementation a grant of £125,000 had been provided and had been used in the following three ways:-
· A full-time policy officer had been recruited;
· A full-time post in finance to support all financial implementation of the changes in the Care Act; and
· £25K to support joint working with Liverpool City region.
The Board were reminded of the Members seminar on the Care Act that would be taking place on Thursday 15 January 2015 at 5.30 pm. It was reported that all Members of the Council would receive a copy of the slides. It was also reported that a follow up event was also being considered.
It was reported that an update report would be presented to the next meeting of the Board.
The Board noted that two regional groups had been established and noted the updates from the sub-groups contained within the report.
Clarity was sought on whether additional staff had been recruited to deal with the additional workload. In response, it was reported that a Policy Officer had been recruited and some existing Policy Officers had been allocated additional work. The Board noted that the full time posts in finance to support all financial implementation of the changes in the Care Act were temporary secondment posts for a period of 12 months. A report outlining the resource requirements would be presented to the Executive Board. However, it was highlighted that funding received would not be sufficient to address the changes, and the Council would do whatever it could to communicate and support people within the budget.
RESOLVED: That the report and comments raised be noted.