Personal Budget Cuts

Due to massive cuts, my local Council has stated that some individuals may not be able to be supported within the community within the existing budgets so will need to have their needs met in lower cost residential placements including out of borough. It is alarming that a LD adult could be moved from a secure and settled tenancy due to cuts. I would appreciate if anyone can advise or comment.

Sadly Lizzi you are not alone!
My brother had to move from his residential home of 13 years in our hometown to a new supported living [cheaper] place 25 miles away. He met the guy he now shares with twice, just 7 days before he had to move.
This was cost cutting.
Just this week his waking night support has been axed - support that responds to hi limited communication style and enables him to be continent through the night
…but I’ve been assured he will be OK - with thick inco pads and assistive technology to wake sleep-in staff…
This was cost cutting.

Grim out there

This sounds like a threat .Have they actually put this into writing ? DoL on mass? Must be unlawful .they must still meet the needs. I would go to seek legal advice I’m sure some legal bever would love it.Shocking scaremongering at best .

I find this very disturbing. My son has lived very successfully in a single person supported living flat, one of 10, for over 10 years and he has a fabulous team of support staff. There are 9 other people who live in the same complex with varying degrees of ability and therefore have different levels of funding and they too all have their own staff team. Support staff have enabled them to become fully integrated within the wider community and they all have a very good quality of life. Everyone’s support package is reviewed annually and up to now there have been no concerns regarding funding. My son and two of his neighbours have multiple complex needs and their funding is currently based on the high level of support they need and is a mixture of local authority and continuing healthcare. I am involved with several other families whose sons and daughters have assured tenancies like my son and others who live in residential homes and supported living funding is much higher than it is in residential accommodation, at least in our area. I know some care providers in my part of the country have not been able to renew some contracts because of budget cuts and I fear for the future. For older parents such as myself it is really worrying.

They have put it in writing and it seems that this will happen to some very vulnerable LD adults. The council does not appear to understand what’s wrong with the proposal - they just keep citing the ‘cuts’. It is shocking.

“Due to massive cuts”, no, no no ! do not let yourself repeat this, get it out of your head.
The problem is that most of special needs people and their family and support are vulnerable dependent people and are a soft target for heartless Local Authority wannabe bankers building up their reserves.
The Care Act, The Autism Act , The Mental Health Act, The Mental Capacity Act, The Equality Act, are all primary legislation the protect peoples welfare, wellbeing and personalisation.
Secondary legislation is granted to Local Authorities which enables them to exercise discretion in how they apply the Acts to deal with variations in situations. This discretion cannot over ride the Laws.
The Local Authorities Strategy Policies are not the actual Laws.
If the Local Authorities are not delivering those Laws eg through Personalisation then they are Fettering their Discretion. The short answer to to this is say no, and keep saying it, this is a war for humanity we are fighting.The fact that an alternative service is cheaper is not legal if if doesnt meet the personalised needs. This is the case with Assistive Technology which Local Authorities are trying push onto vulnerable gullible people. There is a whole raft of devious double talk interpretations of words by Local Authorities to avoid support and its cruel. We are told there just isnt the money. That is true there isnt the money for welfare support, but just look at the miraculous way there is money for everything else.

This is so worrying!!

If the Council cannot demonstrate that somebody’s needs have changed, I do not see how they can justify moving somebody who is in a settled tenancy, particularly if it is felt that there would be a negative impact on the person’s health and well-being if they were to move.

Before considering a move, I believe that the local authority need to

  • to complete a comprehensive needs assessment (and demonstrate how the person’s needs have changed so they would be best met elsewhere)

  • consult with the person using whatever reasonable communication adjustments necessary

  • if the person is genuinely not able to express a preference about where they want to live, then the LA need to complete a Mental Capacity Assessment to evidence this

  • They then need to involve the family and those who know the person best in a Best Interest Decision.

  • Under the Care Act, they need to involve an advocate in the process, if the person does not have family, or does not want them to speak on their behalf

  • The LA also need to consider Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

If the LA still decide to go ahead with the move, despite it being demonstrated that it is not in the person’s best interests, you could consider raising a Safeguarding Alert with the local authority Safeguarding team, if you consider the move could constitute institutional abuse or neglect.

As someone else has commented, local legal teams may well be interested in getting involved. Given the Transforming Care Agenda, and the National consensus that out of area placements are not desirable, it seems a very odd decision. I believe there is ongoing economic work to look at the costs of out of area placements, and I suspect that in terms of overall cost, this would not actually save the LA money in the long run anyway (not that this is the key point here!)

As another member has commented while I was writing this - The Care Act, Mental Capacity Act, The Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and others all give legal reasons why ‘cuts’ are not an OK reason to move somebody who may suffer as a result.

That’s what should be, but safeguarding and advocates etc are all under the Local Authority directly or indirectly.“the procedure is control” and that is what Local Authorities use to fetter the law. Well, a law will only work if its enforceable. So Local Authority and their buddies can fetter the law and have their own rules for benefits and human rights because they know they can get away with it because the Law will have to be enforced to make them comply. Who is going to enforce the Law? No one.Because its too expensive. So Local Authorities are smug. This is where people must fight back and challenge every “Its Local Authority Strategy or Policy”

Alix, as you say “if the LA decides” …“to go ahead with the move” the answer is no, no no. People have been hypnotised into accepting this oppression like sheep. Vulnerable people are not chess pieces.The LA can advise or suggest, they are our representatives not our masters.That’s why we have the ECHR and the Human Rights Act

Alix, thanks for the detailed reply - very helpful. Supported living within area has been the council’s preferred option for many years but now it appears the council thinks supported living is too expensive for some. It is inevitable that those with high need are more expensive and such individuals face the risk of being moved to lower cost residential placements including out of borough. I am sure they will carry out comprehensive needs assessments but with outcomes to suit the council agenda!

Autismadvocate, thanks for your replies. We need to be fully aware of the law to support our opposition to this alarming proposal. The council says it has no choice but reduce the amount it spends on service users if it is to meet its statutory duty to deliver a balanced budget.

Thanks to all who have posted on this discussion so far - all advice and opinions are most helpful.

It is the Duty of the Local Authority to meet the needs of vulnerable adults under section 18 of the Care act 2014. Lack of resources is not a reason for not meeting those needs.

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You might like to take a look at this clip from Mark Neary blog by Sophie.
It shows where the Local Authorities are pouring their so called limited budgets into Service providers to give them £100m plus profits each.
The average cost of a Personal Budget is £100 thousand per year, a hell of a lot cheaper, but Local Authorities hate them and try to derail them wherever they can because it means they lose control.

If the LA were moving him from Residential to Supported living, they may have a more acceptable case for doing so by showing that he is at a point where he is able to increase his independence but unless his needs have changed and he therefore needs staff who are trained to meet these new needs then I do not believe they can do it. Has he got capacity to make a decision about where he lives, taking into account the type of support he requires. The Social worker must complete a capacity assessment to determine this. And if he does not have capacity then a best interest meeting must be held. Either way ensure he has an Advocate. Even if they are commissioned by the LA. Which not all of them are, they will fight for the service user that they are representing. Check in your area if they have Advocacy Support for carers. Also Luke Clemments book on Community Care law is excellent and it states that such a move should not take place without a change in need. Also look up the strategies that cover your area following Winterbourne, as this is going against what we learnt about placing people out of area. I am a LD Social Worker and would never consider this acceptable.

lloyda23, you must be the only SW in the Country finding it unacceptable.

It’s possible In Control can provide you with some help on this issue. If you email me I will pass your details on to the right person. Best of luck. Andrew

Hi, thanks for details. I’ll be in touch soon.