Skip to main content

Community Care

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his plans for the implementation of the community care policies set out in the White Paper, "Caring for People".

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to advise islands and regional councils of the level of funding likely to be made available to them for 1991–92 for the implementation of their community care responsibilities under the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990.

We are fully committed to the policies set out in the White Paper "Caring for People" which are designed to improve social care services for vulnerable people. However, we have decided that it has become necessary to phase in the proposals in the White Paper. This is to allow a fuller preparation for the major shift in financial responsibility and the organisational changes required and in particular to allow local authorities time to accommodate the change without any need to impose an excessive burden on their community charge payers. The arrangements for Scotland will be as follows.On 1 April 1991 I will introduce the requirements for local authorities to set up the new arm's length inspection units for residential homes and the new complaints procedures. I will also introduce the new specific grant to accelerate the development of community services for people with a mental illness. The development of better services in the community for this group in particular is an important objective of our community care policy. In the first year I propose grant at 70 per cent. in relation to total costs of £3 million in order to provide increased community services for the mentally ill. We are already providing grants under existing powers for voluntary bodies providing services in the important field of drug and alcohol abuse and this will continue.Local authorities and health boards have already made a valuable start on the planning and development work required for community care and I would want this momentum to be maintained. I would also want authorities to continue with the important task of staff training, which the new course on community care at Dundee university is designed to meet. This will lead to the next phase of implementation on 1 April 1992 when I intend to implement the new community care planning arrangements. Development work will continue in 1992 and the final phase will be the implementation of the new income support and housing benefit arrangements on 1 April 1993 together with preservation of benefit rights for people already in homes at that date. Until then the present income support payments for those in private and voluntary residential and nursing homes will continue.I will have regard to the financial implications of these proposals in announcing the local authority settlement, which I intend to announce next week.The changes set out in the White Paper involve a substantial and complex task for local authorities. I am sure that phasing in the arrangements give more time to all concerned—local authorities, health boards, the voluntary and private sectors—to co-operate in preparation. It will enable the process to be more effectively managed.