Politicians ‘lack will’ to reform care funding rules

Politicians have been accused of lacking the will to fix the problems afflicting ordinary residence rules, which can place a huge burden on some local authorities and trap disabled people in unsuitable housing.

Graham Faulkner, vice-chair of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), which represents voluntary care providers, said the rules presented a barrier to improving disabled people’s lives but politicians lacked the commitment to reform them.

His comments follow the publication of new guidelines on the operation of ordinary residence rules by the Department of Health last week.

A person’s ordinary residence determines which local authority should take responsibility for their care.

Faulkner said people placed out of area in a care home can face difficulties moving into independent living because responsibility for their care shifts to their new host council.

“The real problem is making the money follow the individual,” he said. “It needs more political will to make it happen.”

Faulkner, who has conducted talks with MPs over changing the ordinary residence rules, added: “There is good support for discussing the issue but there doesn’t seem to be the will or commitment to taking on changing it.”

The new guidance is the first since 1993 and follows the Health and Social Care Act 2008, which introduced arrangements to resolve disputes between councils over ordinary residence.

Faulkner said the guidance was useful in clarifying the situation but did not go far enough as some authorities would still incur the extra costs of providing services for new clients.

He said that needed to be addressed as part of the forthcoming white paper on the future of adult social care.

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