Councils will be unable to refuse care home places to clients
because they cannot afford to pay the fees under measures to be
unveiled by the government.
Guidance from community care minister Stephen Ladyman will place a
duty on councils to give clients the choice of care home providing
it meets their assessed needs, even if the client’s choice costs
Currently, councils can refuse to pay higher fees if a client
refuses the care home place offered by the council. In these
circumstances, councils will often charge the resident the
difference between the two fee levels.
The guidance now states that the only circumstances under which
councils will be able to charge top-up fees are if a person has
chosen to move into a care home with fees set at a level higher
than the rate agreed between the council and local independent home
Commenting on the guidance, Ladyman said: “Councils should not
request top-up payments simply because they have failed to agree
fees that reflect the actual costs of care with providers. It is
totally unacceptable for residents or their relatives to pick up
the tab as a result of poor commissioning practice by councils.”
The English Community Care Association welcomed the guidance and
said it should enable residents to live in an area of their choice
unhindered by lack of places or funding.