Highlights from Residents, Health and Care Services Committee

Highlights from the Residents, Health and Care Services Committee meeting held on Thursday 27 November 2014.

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Older Peoples Accommodation

Kingston Council is determined it will meet the challenge of providing support to older people in the borough. This includes a proposal to consult widely on the future of two care homes and re-providing for their existing residents.

The consultations will commence in 2015 with the results regarding Hobkirk House going back to committee in February or March 2015, and the results for Murray House reported back to committee in June 2015.

The Council recognises these are extremely sensitive issues and will work with residents, family members, carers and other partners to ensure a satisfactory outcome. In the meantime, both properties have been removed from the Council’s asset list, therefore protecting them until the conclusion of the review.

There was also a decision to implement a strategic review of all of the Council’s sheltered housing stock to ensure that it is fit for purpose going into the future. This will include:

  • remodelling by installing lifts, showers, converting bedsits to flats or adding extra care facilities
  • redevelopment to achieve similar objectives as remodelling, but involving significant demolition and rebuilding in order to increase the number of available units, attract mixed tenure, add extra care facilities or create other forms of older people’s housing
  • reinvestment through sale of properties to generate capital to invest elsewhere
  • considering the use of the buildings for a different client group, for example children and young people

Contributions Policy for Non Residential Services

The Council will launch a consultation across the borough on whether the amount of income taken as part of the calculation of contributions towards the cost of non-residential social care should be increased from 75 per cent to 100 per cent. This would bring the Council in line with other London boroughs and save the Council around £240,000 per annum.

Kingston Council is able to take up to 100 per cent of available income into account, although it is also required to make allowances for disability related expenditure.

Kingston moved from taking 50 per cent of available income into account in 2011 and the current policy takes 75 per cent of available income into account.

The Care Act 2014

The Council’s preparation for the implementation of the Care Act 2014 is in full swing. The planning and preparation programme, to ensure the borough is compliant with the duties set out in the Act, is well underway and Councillors are confident that we are ready for the changes when they are implemented in April 2015.

The Act clearly lays out the primary responsibility of Kingston Council to promote individual wellbeing. The Act emphasises a people-centric service, meeting the needs of those who need support. The Act envisages that care and support will be more effectively joined up across all local services, particularly health and housing, and work collaboratively with other partners.

Key new features include:

  • promoting people's wellbeing, preventing need for future care and support
  • information and advice about care and support are also seen as services
  • a requirement to carry out an assessment of both individuals and carers, including people who will be "self-funders", meeting their own care costs
  • independent advocacy in some cases to allow the involvement of an adult or carer in assessing needs and planning for care
  • Personal Budgets become a formal requirement
  • deferred payments for the cost of care at home will be introduced where people can defer the costs of care and support set against the value of a home they own
  • a duty to facilitate a vibrant, diverse and sustainable market of care and support provision and to meet people's needs if a provider of care fails
  • Kingston Council will have to assess people who want to move to the area in readiness, or else have to fund what the previous council has previously organised
  • all councils must have Safeguarding Boards and will be under a duty to make enquiries when having been alerted to someone at risk

Adult Services Local Government Ombudsman Case

Members heard the report from the Local Government Ombudsman regarding their investigation and finding in relation to Mr and Mrs C.

The Committee considered the findings of the report and its recommendations, and agreed to apologise and pay the recommended compensation.

A Council spokesperson said,

“Committee Members considered the Ombudsman’s report and recommendations and agreed with its findings.

“This was a complex situation where several council services were supporting the couple at the same time in an effort to help them to lead a normal family life.

“The council continues to review and improve the way it does things so that people get the best possible care and support.”