4. QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR HANNAFORD
Re: Independent Living Fund
How many people in the Devon County Council area are currently in receipt of financial assistance from the Independent Living Fund and what is the financial value of this funding?
Can the Cabinet member confirm the changes that have already been made nationally to the eligibility criteria for the fund?
Does the Cabinet member agree that many people that need help to get up, get dressed, get washed and live independently face a daily struggle for support, and that these cuts and changes will reduce their health and wellbeing ?
With the closure of the Independent Living Fund in June 2015, and funding being transferred to Councils, will there be a guarantee that the money will be used to support disabled people to live independently, or that former ILF users will receive the same levels of support, given the financial pressures that the council is facing because of the current Governments austerity policies?
Can the Cabinet member explain to council how the new system will be operated by the county council?
Does the Cabinet member expect these changes will adversely affect the lives of people with learning disabilities in Devon, and their ability to live independently to a greater extent than other groups, because of the changes in the eligibility criteria?
In terms of personal care will there be year-on-year rationing?
With its recent care reforms, the Government has set out an ambitious vision for the future of social care. But if this vision is to become a reality, does the Cabinet member agree that social care needs sustainable funding? To facilitate this, what representations have been made to Government Ministers and others?
REPLY BY COUNCILLOR BARKER
There are 174 people in the Devon County Council area currently in receipt of financial assistance from the Independent Living Fund and the value of this funding is 3.2million per annum.
The ILF was closed to new applications in 2010.
I do not agree that there have been, or will be as a result of today’s budget proposals, any cuts to the funding of assessed eligible needs for vulnerable people whether they be current ILF users or not. We do not differentiate between people when considering their eligible social care needs which lead to each individual having a personal care plan. This is the process currently applied to all Devon residents which is fair and equitable. As we currently meet assessed eligible social care needs this is not a new system to us and arrangements are in hand to ensure the 174 people currently receiving ILF assistance will all have a full assessment or reassessment of their personal needs before the end of ILF in June.
We do not, have not and will not be rationing support, assessed eligible needs are fully met year on year so the member is wrong to suggest those who receive support will not receive that support in the future. The current system identifies individual needs and if there is an eligible need assessment which includes help to get up, be washed and dressed then that need will be met. The Council already supports significant numbers of people with learning disabilities to live independently and most ILF recipients will already be receiving support from DCC.
The Leader and cabinet members ensure representations are regularly made to ministers and LGA representatives about funding and the need for equity. New funding streams via NHS sources add complexity. Ministers and shadow ministers have similar messages about future funding which will necessitate continual attention to reducing costs and finding efficient ways of working.