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SOCIAL SERVICES DIRECTORS RESPOND TO CHARGING POLICY

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Directors of social services have broadly welcomed the government ...
Directors of social services have broadly welcomed the government
consultation document on charging policy (see LGCnet), particularly its emphasis on
fairness and consistency for users throughout England, and the high
profile it gives to the needs of people receiving home care and other
social services.
ADSS has longed argued the need for a more comprehensive approach to the
way elderly and disabled people are charged for their services, and is
keen to work with the government in making sure that current good
practice in administering charging schemes are spread to all local
authorities.
However, according to Brian Parrott, chair of the association's
resources committee, the consultation process due to last until April
this year, must examine the importance of local authorities using their
discretion when deciding whether or not to impose or increase charges
now, where currently they are not making a charge at all.
Mr Parrott welcomed the government's intention not to set a final date
for changes to charging practice until April 2002, given that the budget
making process for the year 2001/02 will be completed before the
consultation period is complete.
'We unreservedly welcome the linkage of charging policies to the
development of effective welfare benefits advice given by local
authorities, as well as to the Supporting People initiative,' he said.
But warned that the document 'does not address the continuing
underlying differential between health and social care costs - a
differential made more complex by the increase in jointly commissioned
services and the successes of more effective partnership working between
health and social services.'
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