New social work charges

Councillor Frances Renton
Councillor Frances Renton

Changes to social work service charges have been agreed by Scottish Borders councillors and will come into force on April 1, 2016.

The main change is raising the threshold that determines how much income people can have before being charged, from 16.5 to 25 percent.

In addition, people whose only support is a short break or respite for their carer could benefit from changes to charging arrangements if they have Self-Directed Support (SDS). An automatic disregard will be introduced for people with a disability related benefit to take account of disability related expenses.

A small number of people who have been exempt from being charged for support and services due to their guardian (under the Adults with Incapacity Act, 2000) being the chief social work officer will now be subject to financial assessment. This is in line with all other guardian arrangements which are subject to the charging policy.

The updates reflect national guidance on charging produced by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and feedback from people in the Borders who pay social care charges.

Councillor Frances Renton, executive member for social work, said: “A thorough review of social work charging was carried out in 2014. The updates being introduced for the coming year reflect feedback we have received from people, particularly those who rely on support from family carers, and take account of changes to national guidance.

“The views of the Charging Forum were incorporated as their input has been extremely helpful in highlighting key areas where the policy has been working well, as well as giving useful suggestions for future improvements.”

Councillor Renton welcomed the production of an easy read version of the new charging policy leaflet, making the information more accessible to services users - and better communication will continue to be a priority.