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Social Services: Finance

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether local authorities may use the age of a person needing care as a basis for determining the level of a direct payment made to an adult in order to purchase care. (206548)

Guidance on assessment is set out in LAC(2002)13: ‘Fair access to Care Services: Guidance on eligibility for Adult social care’. The guidance is clear that local authorities, when determining the level of a direct payment must base their decision on an assessment of an individual's needs.

It is up to the council to decide on the amount of a direct payment. The direct payment should be sufficient to enable the recipient lawfully to secure a service of a standard that the council considers is reasonable to fulfil the needs for the service to which the payment relates. There is no limit on the maximum or minimum amount of a direct payment either in the amount of care it is intended to purchase or on the value of the direct payment.

Copies of the ‘Direct Payments Guidance: Community Care, Services for Carers and Children's services (Direct Payments) Guidance England 2003’ have been placed in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what evidence the evaluation of the individual budget pilot projects has produced on the extent to which local authorities are allocating differing budgets to adults with identical needs solely on the basis of age; (206549)

(2) how he will ensure that local authorities provide adequate advice and information to support the expansion of individual budgets announced in the Putting People First Concordat; and how decisions on awarding individual budgets will be made.

It is our intention to publish the evaluation of the individual budget pilots in the autumn.

Based on the experience of the pilots, the Department has published a resource toolkit for local authorities to help them transform their social care systems in the light of the cross-government concordat Putting People First: A shared vision and commitment to the transformation of adult social care. Copies of the publication are available in the Library.

The toolkit, available at:

contains advice on the allocation of resources for personal budgets and the provision of information and support for those receiving personal budgets. This will be further supported through the Department's regional programme. Local authorities retain responsibility for allocating funding to people eligible for social care.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish (a) the responses to the consultation on the future of social care funding, (b) the Government response to those responses and (c) a green paper on social care funding. (206643)

The six-month engagement process for the reform of care and support will conclude by the end of November 2008. We plan to publish a summary of the responses from the engagement process and the Government response to them in due course. This process will ultimately lead to a Green Paper in early 2009.