Why do Devon County Council say that they are promoting independence and then reduce the number of individual hours of support that my son or daughter has?
There are two ways of enabling someone to achieve something – for instance like going to the cinema.
The staff member can enable someone to go to the cinema by catching the bus with them sitting through the film and catching the bus home or
The staff member can link the person in with a friend who likes the same films, teach the person how to catch a bus, buy a ticket, how to sit through the film with their friend and catch the bus home.
Both are valid and either may be needed, depending on the individual situation, but only the second would properly be described as promoting independence.
Promoting independence means someone not needing paid staff support to complete the task. It does not necessarily mean that the person will not have paid staff support at times, but that they can complete a task, for themselves, when they choose to do it.
For instance someone with a severe learning disability may learn how to turn over the TV channel using a big button. This means that they don’t have to wait for a member of staff and while waiting have to watch programmes that they haven’t chosen.
Another example might be that, by attending a chosen activity every week, the person will have made friends and may no longer need staff support. There are examples also where people are transported by a known taxi driver so they don’t need to be dropped off or picked up but can travel independently.
If a person is in supported living, it may be that a group of friends will support each other by each doing the tasks that they are good at or by working together to solve problems.
Finally there are a group of people where it can mean that they are self-sufficient with tasks and complete them without anyone else being around.
How is Devon County Council identifying the eligible social care outcomes?
Through the process of assessment Devon is identifying whether the person meets the
National Eligibility Criteria that is laid out in the Care Act 2014.
There are 3 parts to the criteria and the person must meet all 3 parts.
1) They must have a physical or mental illness or impairment that means that they are unable to achieve two of ten outcome areas.
2) These outcome areas cover amongst other areas personal care, managing a home, access to employment and parenting a child.
3) The 3rd part is that by not achieving those 2 or more outcomes it must be having a significant impact upon the person’s wellbeing.
For full details including all 10 outcome areas please go to the Care Act guidance on the gov.uk website.
What is the difference between a licence and a tenancy?
This is a complicated area of law and if you are in any doubt you should ask for advice, your local District Council Housing Options Team or Citizens Advice Bureau https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ may be able to give you advice for free, or you can seek legal advice but are likely to have to pay for this.
A licence only gives permission for you to live in the property and there is less protection from eviction – only reasonable notice needs to be given, which can be as little as one week if you pay your rent weekly. A tenancy gives you an interest in the property which gives you certain legal rights and you will have more protection from eviction. Tenancy types vary depending on whether you are renting from a private landlord, your local council, a charity or a housing association, the protection you have will depend on the tenancy.
Whether you have a tenancy or a licence is set out in law. If the landlord lives in the property, you are a lodger or it provides short term accommodation such as a hotel, holiday let, bed and breakfast, hostel, shelter or similar it is likely you will be living there on a licence. If you have a room in a house shared with other people which is your specific room or you and your family, if they live with you, are the only people living in the property, and you pay rent it is likely to be a tenancy, although this may depend on the other things the landlord provides.
When is it preferable to have a tenancy agreement?
If you are living in supported living, either renting a whole house or a room, or in your own place, Devon County Council recommends that you sign a tenancy agreement. It is important that you understand any agreement you sign and what that will mean for you.
What monies do I need to save up before I can become a tenant either in supported living or renting a property?
This is likely to depend on the landlord and type of tenancy but as a guide
- Most registered providers such as housing associations will expect you to pay at least one month’s rent in advance.
- In the private rented sector, you would expect to pay around one month’s rent as a deposit which must be held in a protection scheme by law (the landlord can’t just keep it) plus one month’s rent in advance. There may also be fees for things like drawing up tenancy agreements or credit reference checks, these fees are typically around £200 but may be more or less. You may want to check if the amounts you are being asked for are reasonable as this can add up to quite a lot in total.
- Some Supported Living landlords may not charge anything upfront, even if they don’t you still have the same legal rights as any tenant.
Is there any help available for these start up costs?
Depending on your circumstances there are schemes available that can help people with a deposit and/or the first month’s rent in advance if they can’t afford it and meet some other requirements. These are usually run by the local District Council who deals with your housing benefit, or sometimes a charity or housing association. This may be in the form of a loan or a written guarantee to cover any rent you do not pay or any damage you cause up to a certain amount.
Will I have less support?
The point of the review is to identify what needs to have that are eligible for support under the Care Act eligibility. Although we will write down all your needs not all of them will be eligible ones. We will then tell you which needs are eligible and which needs we will be providing funding to help meet. If someone else is meeting the need and they are willing to still do so then we will not be providing funding.
For needs that are not eligible for funding we will give you information and advice on how you can help yourself and stop them getting worse
For needs that are eligible for funding we will talk to you about all the different ways of meeting that need and we will be helping you to identify the way of meeting that need that is of best value.
This may be Devon County Council funding lots of support for a short period of time while you learn how to do something and then the support stopping or it could mean buying a piece of equipment that will help you rather than staff having to be around.
When we have agreed what is best value we will write it all down so that you know what to expect.
So you may get less support, a few people have had more support because of this review and other people have had support in a different way.
I own my own house does this make a difference?
Many people using Devon County Council care services own their own homes, many will also have needs that are not eligible for social care to help them to remain in their homes. Support is available to help people make changes to their homes, or make other arrangements for support needed that is not eligible for social care funding. There can come a time, as people’s needs change, when other accommodation is considered.
Some people may sell their home and move into a residential or nursing home, or perhaps move into Extra Care Housing or Supported Accommodation, where care can be provided from just a few hours a day up to 24 hours of each day. Social care funding is available for eligible needs and people will then fund other arrangements to help themselves in other ways.
These are options that are available to people within the shared ownership housing complexes that we will be reviewing.
What can I expect when the Review team come to my home
Someone from the review team will visit your house. They will find out who needs to attend your review and who you would like to represent you if you cannot represent yourself.
They will send you some information:
A social worker will meet with you and everyone else you wanted to invite to gather information on your needs.
Once we have met with everyone in the house we will agree with your support provider what the SHO is going to be for the house.
We will then meet with you and all the people you invited to your review again to agree the outcome which social care are going to fund. We will look to see if you need the SHO and if you do what else you need in individual support.
Information you will receive before your review starts
Before coming out to review your package of support we will be sending you an information pack so you are prepared for the review process.
If you have any questions or comments about any of these documents please send them to the Supported Living Mailbox.
What does the Supported Living review mean for me?
Many people are currently living together in shared accommodation where they also share paid for support. Currently it is not clear if the people sharing support are each getting the support that they need and it is important that the arrangements are fair for everybody.
We will be talking to people sharing the accommodation to confirm what each person wishes to achieve by living there and as part of this we will identify common needs that can be met by shared support. We will also be talking to the providers of the accommodation and/ or support to agree what to pay for the shared support being provided.
The agreement with the provider on the hours of support that can be shared by the people living there will be called a Supported Living contract. This will mean that everyone living there will be clear on what is being paid for and will know their own share of this support.
There may also be a contract for additional hours that you do not share with others and this will also be agreed through your review.
I had my Support Plan review a little while ago, why do I need to do it again?
We will review the information collected within the previous review. However we still want to come out to visit you to check the information and to make sure that you understand what is being bought on your behalf.
Does this mean I will see any difference in the support I receive?
We will do a full review with you involving anyone that you wish to involve, such as your family or an independent advocate, to listen to your wishes and understand what you want to achieve. We will discuss the options to best provide the support you need to improve or maintain your independence and lifestyle choices.
Where support can be shared by other people in the building you live in then this will be through a Supported Living agreement, this may mean that the individual hours of support you require outside of the shared hours will change. You may see a reduction or an increase in hours of support depending on your individual circumstances.
What does the Fair and Affordable Care Policy mean for me?
Supported Living, and the offer of shared hours of support, is a way for people with higher support needs to have their needs met in a cost effective way. Devon County Council is required to do this by our Fair and Affordable Care Policy.
How does day care fit into Supported Living arrangements?
Your Care Plan is arranged to ensure that your identified outcomes can be achieved. The individual hours agreed can be used for day care if that meets the outcomes described for you. The cost for day care will be taken from the personal budget allowance for individual hours allocated under your Care Plan.
How would transport fit into Supported Living arrangements?
We have a responsibility to provide transport if the activity you are being transported to is eligible. We will agree with you to fund certain outcome areas we feel you need support with, if transport is required to achieve this outcome then we will also offer transport.
If your outcome is to be able to do your food shopping, we will discuss how you will get to the shops as part of the assessment.
If you are able to get to the shop, but need support to buy your groceries we will not provide transport; if you’re not able to travel safely to the shops then we will provide transport.
Read our Transport Policy for more information.
Can I share my 1:1 hours?
Yes, if you choose to do so. However your individual outcomes must still be achievable.
What do I do if my home offers less service than my assessed need?
The options will be different depending on whether the increase in need is a short term situation or longer term. We will discuss with you what arrangements can be made immediately to keep you safe and then what options are most appropriate to you.
You could decide to stay and pay the difference yourself, but you need to be aware that if you miss a payment we will contact you to ask that the payment is made. It is really important that you tell us quickly if you cannot pay. This agreement is legally binding and we suggest that you (or your family if it is a third party) take independent financial advice before considering this option.
If we have to ask for payment more than three times in one year, we may decide that less expensive accommodation within the value of your personal budget is more appropriate for you and you may need to move.
What do I do if my home offers more service than my assessed need?
We will continue to pay while we discuss the options with you as each individual’s situation is different.
Will there be changes to my Direct Payment?
What you will see on your support plan is the number of hours of support you share with others in the building and the cost for this that the Council has negotiated and then the hours and type of any additional services supporting your individual needs and those costs. The shared hours can be contracted by the council on your behalf at the negotiated price whilst you keep your direct payment for your individual additional services.
Why are you doing this now?
From April 2016 Devon County Council has a framework contract in place for the provision of regulated personal care and anyone starting a new service will have their care provided by the organisations within this contract. At the moment this does not apply to those people who are already receiving regulated care in a Supported Living arrangement, but this will change in time.
The providers of Supported Living will have a choice as to whether they apply to work within this framework contract or not, if they choose not to apply or are unsuccessful, then all parties need to be clear what their future offer is to be.
It is important that you and your family know what to expect from the providers and we also need to understand what is being bought on behalf of each person to comply with the Care Act 2015 and the Fair and Affordable Care Policy.
The Fair and Affordable Care Policy under the Care Act 2015 requires Devon County Council to use its resources in a way that is fair for all of the people in Devon that require adult social care and to ensure that best value for Devon County Council is achieved. Services provided will reflect the choice and preference of individuals and the care arranged will be sufficient to meet eligible needs, whilst always looking to achieve best value of the finite resources available.
Your eligible need for additional individual support hours, as well as shared hours of support, will be considered in any revision of service arrangements under the Supported Living Review and all parties will be clear on what additional hours may fall within the framework contract when the Council decides that the contract will apply to existing Supported Living clients.
What happens if I want the provider of my shared hours support to support my individual needs too?
On your support plan you will have two different agreements, one for the shared hours and one for the individual hours. To live in the house you will need to have the shared hours supplied by the organisation currently in place. The person reviewing you will talk through the different ways you can use your individual hours so you can choose how you want those needs met.
What happens if my shared hours provider doesn’t form an association with the Living Well @ Home organisation?
If your shared hours provider does not form an association with the Living Well @ Home organisation we will work with you to make alternative arrangements with another suitable provider.
Alternatively, as long as your shared hours provider has the appropriate registration and the service offer is appropriately priced, you may choose to take a Direct Payment and continue to have your individual services from them.