Care chiefs aim to minimise impact of disability funding changes

GILL ALEXANDER ... extensive consultation.
GILL ALEXANDER ... extensive consultation.

CARE chiefs say they are working to minimise the impact of a change in funding arrangements for disabled people in Hartlepool.

Responsibility for funding worth £670,000 that helps disabled people live independently is to transfer from the Government to Hartlepool Borough Council in July.

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) provides discretionary direct cash payments to disabled people which are then used to pay for agency care, personal assistants’ wages or access education and work.

It is used by people with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities, some with very complex needs.

From July, all local authorities will receive a one-off grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The council says users of the fund, of which there are currently 42 in Hartlepool, receiving around £670,000, should not notice any difference for this first year.

But there is uncertainty around the payments after that.

A report by Gill Alexander, the council’s director of Child and Adult Services, said: “There has been extensive consultation with the 42 people in Hartlepool who currently receive support from the ILF from both ILF staff and Adult Services staff.

“All have had a review in the last year where ILF closure and future plans have been discussed and an ILF support plan has been provided.

“All relevant social workers are familiar with the changes proposed and are aware they will need to update assessments and support plans nearer to the transfer date to reflect the overall package of care.

“The intention is for there to be minimum impact on current ILF users in 2015/16 following the transfer of responsibility.”

As the Independent Living Fund is no longer open to new users.

The council says it has had no guidance as to how funding will be allocated in 2016/17 nor how much.

The report added: “There is a risk that funding may be main-streamed and included in the Core Revenue Grant from 2016/17, which would lead to a funding reduction and local budget pressures.”

The issue is due to be considered by councillors at a meeting of the authority’s Adult Services Committee.

It takes place in the civic centre at 10am on Monday.