ARC’s response to Care Cap Consultation

ARC have today responded on behalf of ARC England Members to the consultation of the implementation of the Care Cap which is detailed below:

The majority of the people that ARC members support are of working age. Whilst we fully support the proposal that the new system will mean that people who develop support needs below the age of 25 will have a zero cap for life we are concerned that current eligibility thresholds are set extremely high.

People with learning disabilities who do not meet the eligibility criteria for support below the age of 25 may, because this need is masked through the support of their parents, find themselves in crisis at a later stage. We therefore support the submission to this consultation made by the Care and Support Alliance that highlights the issue of the tight eligibility threshold which leaves people without care and support and which goes against the Care Act 2014’s objective of seeking prevention.

If people only become eligible for support at the point where they have hit a significant crisis there is a significant risk that the combination of the cap applying to everyone over the age of 25 and high eligibility thresholds could push people into a precarious financial position and without the support they need to ensure their well-being as set out in the Care Act 2014.

Whilst the majority of people supported by ARC members will not be in a situation where they would need to meter towards the cap, we are concerned at the potential impact of this process on the sector as a whole and fear it could severely affect the market.  Of particular concern is the proposal to take an average of personal budgets set allocated to people with similar levels of need.  There is a very real danger that this could result in a care cost calculator with similar problems to Resource Allocation Systems that allocates the cost of care packages.  This flies in the face of the principles of the Care Act 2014, personalisation and well-being and will contradict good commissioning practice. We are also concerned that the significant additional bureaucracy created by implementing the cap will direct resources away from assessment, care planning and commissioning.

We support the intention to raise the upper capital limit.  We would like to see, however, a reference to the possible scenario whereby someone has received a compensation payment.  This is unlikely to be reflected in capital assets and it would seem problematic that a payment that has been awarded towards care could be diminished whereas a property capital limit is increased to £118,000. The possibility of raising the upper capital limit to £118,000 for those who receive care in a rented property would make a difference in this case but the issue is wider.

We are pleased to see consideration being given to developing a reformed appeals process.  We support the principles of early resolution, communication, fairness, equality, independence, accessibility and proportionality. We are concerned that there is likely to be a significant increase in the number of appeals following the implementation of the Care Act and we hope that, in particular, a streamlined and accessible process will mean that people have a speedy and manageable process through which to take their dispute. The relationship between providers of support and the appeals process may need further work and clarification. We support the proposal to have an independent reviewer and feel that the suggestion that they should not have worked for the authority for a period of three years is sufficient.

Association for Real Change – 30 March 2015