The Good and the Bad of the Care Bill

"Family carers are a real asset and need investment to retain goodwill"


PiT Stop (drop-in advice surgeries) 10am to 12 midday Tuesdays during term time

at the Redlees Play Centre, Worton Road, Isleworth TW7 6DW
Helpline 020 8994 9602 or 07548 219428 Email


Sign up for our free newsletter

Comment on this story on the

Parents in Touch is a local charity supporting children with special educational needs or disability and their families. Their experience qualifies them to assess this year's Care Bill (2013).

Overall, another worrying piece of legislation which does not even begin to consider parents as carers until the person they care for turns 18. Let's start with the positives:  
  • a duty to assess adult care needs prior to the 18th birthday (currently only good practice)
  • children's services remain in place until adults services are provided (no 'cliff edge')
  • a duty to promote "economic well-being" for both carers and disabled people (carers are entitled to hold down a job)
  • preventative services to reduce the need for care or carers services
  • information and advice to include "independent financial advice"
  • a duty to consider future need and how that might be met
  • new eligibility criteria (there weren't any before, going to be set at 'critical' we hear)
  • there is an overall cap on the charging of costs of care services to disabled people. This could be set at zero for people eligible for services at age 18 (they currently pay if assessed as being able to)
  • the adult needing support must agree to the services and support being provided to them (an element of choice)
  • the NHS must consult with carers on care needs before discharging from hospital
However there are many areas of concern, particularly around charging:
  • the local authority (LA) may charge for services to carers
  • it is almost impossible to differentiate whether services are being provided to meet the needs of a carer or the person they care for and this is being further complicated by new joint assessments (previous clarity is being lost)
  • there is no cap on the charges to carers
  • the cost of services provided by carers to meet the needs of the person they care for are not counted ("accrued") towards the cap on disabled people
  • where a carer is meeting eligible needs the LA is not under a duty to meet them (a watering-down of the duty to meet needs). 
Here at PiT we are very concerned that there is no value being put on the services that we provide to meet the needs of our disabled adults. As for charging for a break from caring... Carers allowance is £59.75 per week (don't calculate the hourly rate), is conditional on your disabled person receiving Middle Rate of Care DLA, and not payable if you earn more than about £100 a week. Should we find an employer that can cope with term-time working or sudden and prolonged (on occasion) absences we are surely, in this current climate, faced with paying.
Have we not already given enough? Do we not save the taxpayer £billions a year already? Do we not pay in poor health and well-being? Have we not lost enough life opportunities? Do we not already 'train the workforce' of paid care workers to look after complex needs? Are we now going to be penalised for coping?
If our contribution to caring is considered to be nil, even in the most demanding and challenging of cases (they are they only ones to get services in the first place), that is what our contribution will inevitably be. We can't wait to return to being just parents, keeping an eye on professional care providers, enjoying previously forgotten freedoms during evenings and weekends. Imagine just being able to pick up your keys and leave the house.
We trust LAs up and down the country are preparing for the flood of requests for Independent Living placements. For those of you who have yet to think about these things, the care package alone (the bit we currently do for £59.75 a week or for free) can easily cost the LA in excess of £1,000 a week.
Read about the Care Bill and weep here.
Of course the reality is that social care provision is already in crisis, with thousands of disabled people struggling to eat, wash or leave their homes. The Other Care Crisis report was published earlier this year (see Scope's webpage) and this week Leonard Cheshire Disability highlighted the practice of delivering care in visits lasting just 15 minutes (see here), sparking plenty of talk radio debate.
We urge LAs to think through current policy making. Family carers are a real asset and need investment to retain goodwill. 


October 18, 2013

Bookmark and Share