Views from the Coalition on Charging

The Coalition on Charging is a group of 23 national disabled people’s, carers’ and older people’s organisations working together on the issue of charges to use care services.

The Coalition has produced some helpful documents on the subject of charges for social care services. See their publications page at http://www.disabilityalliance.org/coc3.htm

The Coalition’s press release ‘Councils told ‘no more blood in care service stone” 27 September 2010, contains the following quotes:

Neil Coyle, Chair of the Coalition on Charging says:

“Councils must not look to raid care budgets as an easy option again. Over the past decade access to care has been heavily restricted and charges for support have risen hugely. There is no more blood to be squeezed from the stone.”

Short-term care cuts and increased fees also cost councils in the longer term. Stephen Burke, Chief Executive of Counsel and Care (a Coalition member) says:

“Councils must acknowledge that increasing charges and cutting services causes people to go without support which impacts on future budgets as people develop critical needs or require expensive residential care.”

‘Still Not Fair Enough’ is the Coalition’s 2009 response to the then Government’s consultation on ‘Fairer Contributions Guidance’. The summary of that response reads as follows:

The Coalition agrees that there is a need for new charging guidance. We acknowledge that this consultation is focused on personal budgets but believe a broader review is required of charging guidance.  

  • We recommend a fundamental review of charges and their impact. We and our local members welcome involvement in a review of charges.
  • We oppose net payment of Personal Budgets. Payments should be made gross with charges collected from contributors to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • We do not agree DRE should be blanket ‘allowances’ to individuals (based on impairment type for instance). DRE must be fairly and accurately assessed by qualified staff. Blanket sums are likely to be discriminatory under the Disability Discrimination Act.
  • We recommend that DH provide strong guidance on undertaking DRE in partnership with user groups. We welcome involvement in developing guidance to support local authorities.