People with learning difficulties at college could face care funding axe

The Learning and Skills Council could stop funding personal care
for people with learning difficulties in residential colleges, if a
proposal leaked to Community Care is adopted.

An unpublished draft report on a review of provision for people
over 16 by the LSC, which funds vocational education, recommends
giving responsibility for personal care funding to local
authorities and primary care trusts.

The suggestion follows concerns raised in an interim report,
published in June, over “anecdotal evidence” that LSC funds for
education and training were being used to buy care and health

The interim report said this resulted in a “disparity” in
funding, with some learners being funded at high levels with less
money for others.

The report outlined the LSC’s intention to review “assumptions”
over “who bears responsibility for funding the ‘care costs’ of
residential provision”.

It also suggested developing “strategic partnerships” with
health and social services to explore “joint funding options”.

But campaigners fear local authorities and PCTs may not be
willing or able to meet the costs of personal care if the proposal
is carried forward, resulting in fewer people going to residential

Andrew Holman, director of learning difficulties organisation
Inspired Services, said the proposal would have a negative effect.
“It is doubtful that local authorities would provide extra funds as
this would increase pressure on budgets.”

He added: “If they pay for personal care it will mean a lot less
money for other services.”

He pointed to local authorities’ “reluctance” to fund services
for people with complex needs. “It’s worrying that many local
authorities send people to residential colleges when it is not
appropriate, but they do it to save money as the LSC will fund the
placement,” he added.

“If the recommendation is carried forward I hope it will push
local authorities to arrange appropriate services rather than just
send people away.”

Joan Scott, a learning difficulties consultant, warned that
people could miss out on college if they could not access adequate

The council said it would consider the final report and
recommendations this month. The report will be published in


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