COUNCILS, CARE PROVISION AND THE ALLOCATION OF RESPITE CARE
A council has been criticised for instructing its social workers to make “blanket reductions” to respite support for carers without first assessing their needs, Community Care reports.
To make budgetary savings, Knowsley council offered four weeks as the maximum annual amount of respite they could offer.
However, the Local Government Ombudsman warned that councils must ensure care provision is determined by an individual assessment of need, even in times of financial pressure, and told the council to review the process for allocating respite care.
According to the Ombudsman’s report:
Knowsley council acknowledged “the instruction given to social work teams about the maximum of four weeks respite had been too rigidly applied and without proper regard to needs and any discretion that could be exercised.”
The local government ombudsman, Jane martin, said:
“Councils have a duty to assess people’s care needs and provide services at a level appropriate to those needs regardless of the limited budgets they may have. Authorities cannot simply decide to place restrictions on care without ensuring that it meets people’s needs.
“I am pleased Knowsley council swiftly recognised its error and will now be assessing how this might have affected other service users in their area. I would now encourage councils to consider my report and any implications it may have for their care provision.”
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