The government has announced new guidance for local authorities
which charge for home care services in an attempt to standardise
the amount people in different parts of the country are asked to
There are wide variations between different local authorities,
with some not charging for home care.
The new guidance allows councils not to charge if they choose,
but presses for more consistency and fairer charging among those
which do levy fees.
A key part of the guidance is that charges should not reduce a
service users’ income below levels of income support plus a margin
of 25 per cent.
For the first time councils should disregard earnings when
assessing ability to pay a charge, which should remove a barrier to
work for disabled people.
The guidance is to be introduced in two phases starting in
October next year, followed by April 2003.
The guidance ‘Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care and Other
Non Residential Services – Guidance for Councils with Social
Services Responsibilities’ is available at www.doh.gov.uk/scg/homecarecharges