News released yesterday shows that Northamptonshire County Council is proposing to charge a fee of £50 for carrying out a social care needs assessment.
According to the Council consultation on this proposal, it says:
“If your savings and investments (capital) are more than £23,250, you will need to pay for all of your own care services. We can however, offer you a social care assessment which may help you or your family when making a choice of the type of care you may require. There is a small administration charge for this service of £50.00”
However, Government Guidance makes clear that assessments of needs may not be charged for (see note 2 below): “assessment of needs and care planning may also not be charged for,”
Commenting on Northamptonshire County Council’s proposal to charge for care assessments, Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Social Care, said:
“I am very concerned that any council would want to propose charging a fee for carrying out an assessment for people who may need care. Local Councils have a duty to carry out assessments of need for people who appear to need care and support.
“Government guidance on this duty says quite specifically that assessments of needs may not be charged for, as that process does not constitute actually meeting the needs of the person who needs care.
“The funding of Social Care is in crisis but it is really worrying that any council should be pushed to a position of proposing charging people who may need care and support for an assessment of their needs.
“I will write to Jeremy Hunt to ask him to clarify this, so that financial barriers are not created to stop people with care needs and their carers from having an assessment.”
The Leader of the Labour Group on Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor John McGhee said:
“This is yet another example of Tory run Northamptonshire County Council trying to pass on the lack of funding from Government on to our residents. It is simply wrong as well as illegal.
“Instead of trying to charge our local residents for social care assessments, the County Council should instead be raising this with their Government and fighting for proper funding for our area.”