A residential care advice body warned yesterday that residents and their families are being over-charged for services, in some cases illegally, due to cash constraints in councils.
NHFA said councils placing residents in independent sector homes were routinely expecting families to top-up fees paid by councils to providers.
Under guidance, this should only happen where service users have chosen accommodation that is more expensive than market rates.
NHFA said: “Whilst it is reasonable for local authorities to put ceilings on the rate they pay for care, many local authorities routinely expect families to make top-ups. This clearly contravenes the guidance.”
It also said that self-funding residents were being charged more for care than council-funded residents so providers could make up for authorities paying them less than the market rate.
NHFA, which provides advice on handling the cost of residential care, called for a “fair” settlement for social care in this year’s comprehensive spending review to overcome these issues.