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New research by the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland has found that most councils in Scotland are now rejecting the pseudo scientific idea that complex social care needs can be translated into a single number (like the discredited IQ Score) and bringing back the judgement of professional social workers into working out social care needs.
18 out of 32 councils are now running an Equivalence model in their area. Only 12 councils are running the points based RAS in their areas and 1 of these only does it for people with learning disabilities. 2 councils have yet to decide what to do.
“Equivalence” is a system that relies on the judgement of a professional social worker to establish the level of a budget. They decide what support they would normally provide to a person with social care needs and then monetize that service so that it can be offered in the form of an indicative budget.
They start from the basis that it cannot be right to set a budget at a level unless there is good reason to believe that this level is reasonable and that someone could get their needs met with that budget.
Equivalency helps to show that the budget does reflect some real model of how a need might be met. In this system Self Directed Support gives the opportunity to the service user to meet those needs in a way that is even better for them than might originally have been done. They retain the option of asking the local authority to arrange a service of the “equivalent standard.”
Glasgow City Council Social Work Services are currently tendering for a new 20 bed Care Home for people with learning disabilities.
In Scotland we like to think of ourselves as being more forward thinking than the rest of the UK. But in November, shocked that more people were entering institutional care than leaving it in England, Norman Lamb MP, the UK Minster for Care admitted on the radio that the problem is that local authority provision for people living in independently was falling behind. And he promised action to deal with it. The money was there, he insisted.
ITS NOT THE SAME IN SCOTLAND
Glasgow City Council is seeking "a discrete unit dedicated to the care and accommodation of 20 adults with learning disabilities, staffed on a 24 hour basis, within the geographical boundary of Glasgow. It will comprise living spaces including dining areas, communal areas, and individual bedrooms. It will also have access to outside garden space for residents. The unit will have its own identity, and at very least a door separating the unit from other resources.
"The unit will be staffed 24 hours per day and able to meet the needs of up to 20 individuals over the age of 18 years with Learning Disabilities whose needs are to a level of complexity that cannot be met within a mainstream elderly care home environment.”
The service has to be fully up and running by 7th January 2015.
We are concerned because
Hammersmith and Fulham Council announced they will be getting rid of the charges after saving money elsewhere
Elderly and disabled people in Hammersmith and Fulham Council will no longer have to pay for home care charges.
A total of 313 people who currently pay for carers to help carry out everyday tasks such as having a bath, cleaning or shopping will no longer have to pay the £12 an hour charge which can amount to £281 a week.
Council leader Stephen Cowan announced the changes at last night’s public meeting held to celebrate the United Nation’s international day of disabled people.
There are 1,666 people in the borough who use the home care service, with the majority eligible for free home care, but those who fall outside the threshold will not have to pay from April next year if the final decision is voted on at the council’s annual budget-setting process in February.
Mr Cowan said: “I am pleased we have found the money from back office cuts, such as from the council’s PR and admin budgets, and today announce that this administration will abolish what has rightly become known as a tax on disability.”
The council says that abolishing care charges will cost £324,000 a year in lost income but that the scheme is being funded by £400,000 cuts in PR, council publications and lamp post banners.
Today, Scottish Labour published a press release on the scandal of Care Tax. We agree with them that this must be ended. We really welcome the support of all political parties in the campaign against the Care Tax. It is important that we focus on the fact that care charging is an attack on human rights of disabled people and not lost in a political spat in the pre-election debate. Below is an excerpt from the Labour Party press release.
On the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Scottish Labour attacked the scandal of Scotland’s care tax, calling on the Scottish Government to take immediate action to abolish it.
Faced with huge budget cuts due to the underfunded council tax freeze, councils have increasingly turned to introducing care charges for those under the age of 65 receiving non-residential care, rather than cutting services in an attempt to try and protect the most vulnerable. A coalition of disabled people and organisations, including Capability Scotland, Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, Inclusion Scotland, the Scottish Disability Equality Forum and Sense Scotland, have petitioned the parliament to end the unfair care tax, estimated to be around £50 million per year.
Scottish Labour’s Social Justice Spokesperson, Jackie Baillie MSP, said:
““With the SNP Government slashing resources to local authorities many are now forced to charge for essential care to shore up the huge budget cuts.
“With costs varying wildly from local authority to local authority, disabled people – who already face squeezed budgets – are now faced with spending what’s left of their income on essential care. After dragging their feet in the battle to mitigate against the Bedroom Tax, it seems the Scottish Government have a monster of their own creation wreaking havoc on the lives of disabled Scots– Scotland’s Care Tax.