Four councils with ‘critical’ eligibility criteria

Harrow: Deputy leader David Ashton says the move to “critical” in July last year was “one we were forced to take in response to consistently low government grants”. However a judicial review recently ruled the decision did not give due regard to disability law. “We accept the judge’s conclusions,” says Ashton. “Nothing will happen until we have given proper consideration to our legal duties to disabled people.”

West Berkshire: Corporate director for community services Teresa Bell says: “We’ve been operating at ‘critical’ since the FACS criteria were introduced as that was what corresponded most closely to how we were operating before.

“We are a three-star authority and we have an extremely proactive preventive and low level support policy, in partnership with the voluntary sector. We’ve had no complaints over the years. Having said that, we are currently reviewing the eligibility criteria. We have a councillor-led commission to ensure we are not excluding people who should have access to care. We will look at the government review closely. We want to make sure people aren’t falling through the net.”

Northumberland: Moved to “critical” in 2003, but may move back to a “substantial” threshold.

Wokingham: Moved to “critical” in February last year after a consultation involving 6,500 local people. A spokesperson says: “A key reason for the changes is that we don’t receive enough funding from central government for adult social care. This lack of adequate funding, coupled with growing numbers of people seeking help from social services, means that more and more demands are being made on already stretched social care budgets.”

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