Here’s a shocking bit of ignorance, or worse, in the DHSC’s ‘Guidance’ for implementation of the Care Costs Cap:

“1.21 As set out in the Act, the local authority must consider whether the person’s needs are being met in whole or in part by an informal carer. Care needs met by a carer, as defined by section 10 of part one of the Act, are not eligible care needs, and therefore do not count towards the cap.”

2.32 There will be some people who choose to have their needs met by an informal carer. Any needs met by an informal carer are not eligible needs under the Act. Therefore, if the local authority finds the person substituted meeting their needs with informal care whilst continuing to progress towards the cap the local authority should complete a new needs assessment to revaluate what eligible care needs the person has and provide a new IPB for the person reflecting this.

These two paragraphs should lead to someone’s dismissal, for incompetence, or worse, in legal terms, in our view.

The relevant part of the current Care Act Guidance makes it clear that whatever anyone does informally (unpaid) must be IGNORED for the purposes of deciding eligibility – ie that the needs that are met by carers ARE ELIGIBLE NEEDS – but that the duty to meet those eligible needs is not applicable, in respect of continued willing and able input from that carer.

See here:

Considering needs met by carers in eligibility determinations

6.115 The eligibility determination must be made based on the adult’s needs and how these impact on their wellbeing. Authorities must only take consideration of whether the adult has a carer, or what needs may be met by a carer after the eligibility determination when a care and support plan is prepared. The determination must be based solely on the adult’s needs and if an adult does have a carer, the care they are providing will be taken into account when considering whether the needs must be met. Local authorities are not required to meet any eligible needs which are being met by a carer, but those needs should be recognised and recorded as eligible during the assessment process. 

Commentary

Did the authors think nobody reads anything, any longer?

This bodes badly, does it not, for the grasp or honesty of those responsible for shaping the implementation of what are seismic changes for 2023? We despair.

People with above average assessed capital will need to be found eligible by their council, in order to have a notional spend on a supposedly adequate care package for their needs, counted towards the cap.

So, to our minds, this Guidance has either been written in the above terms because the authors are ignorant, or more likely because they hope that the families of the better off in England will not ‘twig’ that they just need to say that they aren’t willing to provide care, to make their Independent Personal Budgets bigger.

As do we all. There will be obviously be insufficient staff to do the number of assessments that are necessary and self-assessment for those who admit that they have over £100K of capital will be the norm.

Staff will not exist to police whether or not non-availability of informal care is the truth, and therefore the system will not work.

People needing care will have been incentivised to lie, rather than they and their carers having a proper discussion about how needs could be met and how the notional budget for the IPB will be calculated, with a person who knows the legal framework under which they operate.

And a Conservative government will have presided over that slide into anarchy.

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