‘Welfare services’ is the generic name given to a wide range of non-residential services for which there is power to provide or arrange under s29 National Assistance Act 1948, or under s45 of the Health Service and Public Health Act 1968.
Day care, centres, support, signposting, facilitating finding accommodation in the independent sector, are all part of s29 service provision.
The main features of s29 are as follows:
it contains some duties, some powers (see Duties vs Discretions topic for consequences of the difference)
service eligibility depends on the person being thought by the authority in question to come within the definition of disabled – ie the qualifying criteria are that the person is
has ‘a mental disorder of any description’
Is ‘permanently and substantially handicapped’ by ‘illness, injury, or congenital deformity’
ordinary residence on the part of the applicant for services is required if a duty is to be triggered, but is not required in all cases for there to be a power to provide the service – thus it cannot be a criterion for eligibility for an assessment at the outset;
there is a minimum age limit of 18 or over.
The s45 power is specifically directed at older persons, but is only a discretion, and not a duty. It has never been tested whether this difference means in effect that a service could be withdrawn, for budgetary reasons, notwithstanding that someone had been assessed as needing a service under this particular provision. Ordinary residence plays no part in eligibility for s45 services.
As far as charging for any service provided under s29 is concerned, s17 of HASSASSA 1983 Act applies to s29 services and therefore services are chargeable, according to the reasonable domiciliary charging policy of the authority in question. It has been established by the Powys CBC ex p Hambidge no. 1 case that s2 CSDPA services are also chargeable because they are simply a specific manifestation of s29 provision.
Circular LAC 93 10 provides more detail as to the Secretary of State’s approvals and directions for the purposes of planning for the s29 function. It may be viewed on COIN, at http://tap.ccta.gov.uk/doh/coin4.nsf/Circulars?ReadForm