For over 5 years, LDAS has raised concerns about whether the COSLA figures for the amount of income collected in non-residential social care charges.
For example, one local authority, Glasgow, claims to raise over £16 million annually. Yet the next nearest is South Lanarkshire with only a slightly smaller population but raising just £2 million. Our concerns that the Glasgow figure could not possibly be correct were raised with senior local authority finance people at both local and national level but nothing was done.
New information received by the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland in the last few weeks shows that Glasgow’s self-directed support care management information software, CareFirst 6, wraps up individual contributions along with their Independent Living Fund monies and declares it as a single contribution from each client.
This makes sense for the council when it comes to working out their own budgets but gives the completely wrong figure for social care charges.
Senior Glasgow finance staff have now confirmed that the ILF contributions of 254 clients with a learning disability, a total of £5.3 million are included in their figures for income from care charges.
But there are a further 310 service users in Glasgow with physical disabilities who receive ILF and whose ILF is similarly treated within the financial figures. This means that probably an additional £10 million and possibly as much as £14 million of ILF monies have been declared as income from non-residential social care charges by Glasgow for the last 6 years.
Actual income from care charges in Scotland’s largest city may be only £2-3 million per year.
According to OLM, the company responsible for this software, a further 13 Scottish councils use the CareFirst system ranging from Highlands to East Dunbartonshire. As a result there is a possibility that the COSLA figure for income from care charges is further inflated by the inclusion of ILF funds in this part of the local government finance statistics from other areas.
Regular readers of this newsletter will know of our long campaign to end care charges and will have read many stories about the challenges people have to face to pay these. But we expected better than this,
Do local councils have so little respect for disabled people that it doesn’t matter to them whether or not the figures are out by £10 million or more?
We all expect far more in a Fairer Scotland.