Closed consultations and engagements
Recycling and household waste sites
Date: 1 November 2023 - 24 January 2024
The council's budget plan includes a requirement to make savings from the recycling and household waste sites (often referred to as the 'tips').
The proposals below would make savings of £420,000 per year and have been designed to reduce costs whilst minimising the impact on residents and site users as far as possible.
The proposals include:
- Closing Market Harborough, Shepshed and Somerby recycling and household waste sites
- Changing the opening days at Bottesford and Melton Mowbray recycling and household waste sites
- Changing summer opening hours at all recycling and household waste sites
- Closing on Christmas Eve at all recycling and household waste sites
What happens next
The consultation is now closed, so we’ll analyse the results and a report will be presented to the council’s Cabinet in spring 2024.
Adult social care charging policy
Date: 27 November 2023 - 22 January 2024
The Care Act 2014 allows local authorities to charge for most care and support services.
The Care and Support Statutory Guidance requires that where a local authority decides to charge for services, it must follow the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations and have regard to the statutory guidance.
On 29 March 2022, the Cabinet approved the Leicestershire County Council’s current Charging Policy for Social Care and Support policy:
The policy sets out how the council will undertake a financial assessment in relation to residential and non-residential care and support services including how different types of income and capital are treated and what allowances are permitted in calculating how much someone is required to contribute towards the cost of their care and support services. The Policy assists people to know what they will be charged.
About the proposals
Most of the proposals are clarifications of the existing policy designed to make the policy clearer to follow, rather than changing the nature of the financial assessments.
The council is not proposing to change the principles of charging and financial assessments.
Principles of the Policy
The council’s policy must continue to follow the Care and Support (Charging and Assessment of Resources) Regulations 2014, as amended and have regard to the Care and Support Statutory Guidance.
The Care and Support Statutory Guidance sets out a number of principles the council should have regard to in charging for social care and support services. These include affordability for the person, having a clear and comprehensive policy, applying the policy equally to similar situations, and being sustainable for the council in the long-term.
The council is required to produce and maintain its policy to show how it will apply to adults in receipt of care and support services and meet the requirements of the Regulations and Statutory Guidance. This is why the policy is written in quite formal language and is a lengthy document.
Changes to the Policy
There are two key changes to the policy which are designed to ensure that a person is not charged more than it is reasonably practicable for them to pay.
- Where a person is in receipt of both residential and non-residential services in the same week the council proposes to apply a non-residential financial assessment to calculate how much they can afford to contribute towards the cost of the care services they receive.
This would ensure that a person retains sufficient income to meet their usual outgoings. [Section 8.2 of the Policy]
- Only the income and savings of the person receiving care and support services can be taken into account in the financial assessment, including a share of joint income and savings. The council will also consider the implications of their partner if the partner’s financial information is also disclosed.
The council is proposing to introduce a more generous and simpler method of allowing for a reduction in a person’s assessed contribution where this is necessary. The proposal will ensure that a partner has at least a weekly income equal to the standard / personal allowance of universal credit or pension credit for a single person. [Section 48 of the Policy]
Clarifications to the Policy
- Definitions of terms used in the policy
To assist with understanding the policy additional definitions have been included for, ‘Administration Fee’ for non-residential care and support services, ‘Capital Limits’ and ‘Tariff Income’. [Section 1 of the Policy]
- Payment arrangements
The contact details of the Finance Operations Team have been included if a person needs to discuss a payment arrangement for their contributions towards their care services, for example when receiving their first invoice and need more time to pay. [Section 7 of the policy]
- Non-disclosure and death of a person in receipt of care services
Clarifies that following the death of a person the council does not owe a duty to the person’s estate to retrospectively re-assess the person’s financial assessment, for example where the person refused to provide their financial information. However, the council has a discretion to do so on request and such requests will be considered on the circumstances of the individual case. [Section 10.12 of the policy]
- New disregards of income and capital
Provision has been proposed to disregard as income and / or capital three new compensation schemes relating to the Grenfell Tower fire, the failings of the Post Office Horizon computer system, payments under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 and also any compulsory deduction from social security benefits for child maintenance. [Sections 18 and 32 of the policy].
- Income for residential financial assessments
Additional wording has been added to clarify the circumstances where a person may be allowed to retain additional income, above their Personal Expenses Allowance, in a residential financial assessment. [Section 39 of the Policy].
- Residential Top-up amounts
Clarification that the council can refuse a request for preferred choice accommodation in a care home where it determines that the top-up amount is unaffordable. Also, that if an agreed top up arrangement breaks down the council will undertake a care and support assessment with a view to moving the resident to an alternative placement which does not involve a top up amount or additional cost to the council. [Section 44 of the Policy and the council’s website]
- Adequate security under the Deferred Payment Scheme
Clarification of other types of security for a deferred debt that can be considered where it is not possible to obtain a first legal charge on a property at HM Land Registry. [Section 45.8 of the Policy and the council’s website]
- Housing costs for non-residential financial assessments
Clarification that to be included as an allowable expense in a non-residential financial assessment a person must have a legal liability to pay the housing costs, e.g. rent or mortgage payments, and be able to provide proof of payment. [Section 47.5 of the Policy]
- Disability-related Expenditure
Court of Protection deputyship fees and costs relating to professional appointeeship services have been added to the list of potential disability-related expenses and allowance.
Also, clarification that the council may require additional evidence to consider potential disability-related expenditure and that if additional disability-related expenditure is allowed this will usually be backdated to the earliest date there is evidence to support the need for the expenditure. [Section 49 of the Policy and the Council’s website]
- If a person thinks that their financial assessment is incorrect, they can request a review of the assessment and appeal the outcome to the Council’s Complex Case and Appeal Panel. [Section 52 of the Policy]
- A list of the information factsheets / booklets providing further explanation on various aspects of financial assessments has been added as an appendix to the policy. [Appendix C of the Proposed Charging Policy]:
Proposed Charging Policy - see Appendix C (PDF)
What happens next
After the consultation closes in January 2024, we’ll analyse the results and share with the Council’s Cabinet and residents in February 2024.
2024-28 budget proposals
Date: 20 December 2023 - 17 January 2024.
Spiralling social care prices, growing service demand and inflation are driving up costs. The Government’s autumn statement last month didn’t include any extra funding for councils which has ramped up the pressure for local authorities.
Nearby councils, such as Nottingham City, have declared that they do not have enough resources to continue to deliver services by issuing a section 114 notice, and others, such as Leicester and Derbyshire, say they are being pushed to the brink.
We are not in crisis territory. We’ve successfully managed better than most by not forgetting about the financial realities of local government when delivering services. But we do have a significant budget gap and need to deliver services differently.
Find out more about the proposals.
What happens next
The consultation is now closed so we’ll analyse the results and a report will be presented to the council’s cabinet in February with final budget proposals. The council’s final budget will be agreed at a full county council meeting on 21 February 2024.