Welfare Reform Bill

Memorandum submitted by Camphill Scotland (WR 69)


Camphill communities provide residential support to people with special needs under contract to local authorities. Contracts with local authorities do not currently include provision for mobility needs, and this submission raises concerns that the removal of DLA mobility component from individuals in publicly funded residential care will impact negatively on those people’s quality of life, and on the ability of service providers in Scotland to meet their obligations under the National Care Standards.

1. Camphill Scotland is the association of Camphill places in Scotland, promoting their common interests and enabling members to respond to changing legislative, regulatory and financial situations.

Camphill is a worldwide organisation, with over ninety centres (‘communities’) in twenty countries supporting people with special needs. Camphill communities adopt a holistic approach to supporting individuals who may have a range of complex needs to find meaning in their lives and to develop their social, spiritual and practical skills and potential.

Scotland is host to twelve Camphill communities, education centres and training centres, supporting around 425 children, young people, adults and older people with special needs (primarily learning disabilities and autism). This support is largely funded by local authorities who place individuals in Camphill communities. All Camphill places in Scotland are members of Camphill Scotland.

2. The vast majority of people receiving support within Camphill communities in Scotland are in receipt of DLA.

The level of need varies between individuals, but the majority of people supported in Camphill require human support to travel outwith the community; many require the support of more than one person. Some also have physical mobility issues, and require support in this regard too. As many Camphill communities are to be found in rural locations, public transport links are often poor, further limiting options for travel.

While Camphill communities increasingly support some individuals on a day-only basis, the core of the Camphill ethos involves co-workers and those requiring support living together in communities; most Camphill communities in Scotland include a registered care home or residential school element. We are concerned about the impact that the removal of the DLA mobility component from those in publicly funded residential care would have on those individuals’ quality of life.

3. We note the government’s concern that mobility needs are currently being ‘double funded’ through DLA mobility allowance and contracts for residential care. This does not reflect the reality of contracts for residential care which Camphill communities in Scotland have with local authorities. Across the 12 Camphill communities in Scotland, only one example of one individual could be found, for whom the local authority contract makes any sort of provision for mobility needs.

4. We are aware that other provider organisations have also brought this to the government’s attention, and that local authority representative bodies such as COSLA have stated publicly that councils do not have the additional funds which would be necessary to fund extra provision for people’s mobility needs if the mobility component of DLA is removed. We are concerned that, subsequent to local authorities making these statements, the government has subtly changed its language, talking about the requirement on care homes to provide transport , as opposed to a requirement on local authorities to fund this.

At present, Camphill communities provide a range of day to day transport for people with additional support needs, towards which individuals generally contribute from their DLA. This covers transport to college courses, hospital appointments etc.

To meet their obligations under the national care standards in Scotland [1] , and to ensure that people requiring support lead fulfilled and meaningful lives, Camphill communities will be obliged to continue to provide transport for individuals if the mobility component of DLA is removed, and if local authorities do not fund this. The buck will stop with service providers.

At a time when contract values for support provision are frozen or being cut, this will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for already tightly squeezed services. Money will have to be taken from other aspects of service provision, to the detriment of people needing support. It is also possible that this could lessen the chances of Camphill communities being able to accept those with high support needs around mobility, if it is not financially possible to meet their needs. It could also mean that Communities are not able to meet their obligations under the National Care Standards, which neither funders nor providers would want to see happen.

It is also worth noting that, at the same time, other transport options are also being cut. For example, while it was previously possible to arrange ambulance transport to hospital appointments, this has now been reduced in some areas to collection only – requiring individuals to arrange and pay for taxis on the return journey.

5. Individuals in Camphill communities also use their DLA mobility allowance to finance travel for weekend breaks to family, and holidays. Without the DLA mobility allowance, individuals who do not have families who can pay for this will not be able to visit family, or to have a holiday, significantly impacting on their wellbeing. This is also in breach of the National Care Standards.

6. In light of these facts, we strongly recommend that the DLA mobility component should not be removed from those in publicly funded residential care.

7. Elsewhere in the Bill, we note the proposal to allow more information sharing between public bodies, including between local authorities and DWP. We see this as crucial, particularly if the government goes ahead with its plans to remove the mobility component of DLA from those in publicly funded residential care. It is vital that DWP and local authorities share information about what is/isn’t being funded for a particular individual, to try to ensure that people’s mobility needs do not ‘fall between the cracks’. If information sharing between DWP and local authorities works effectively, both councils and DWP would know if a person’s mobility needs are not being supported, and can then work together to find a solution to this.

May 2011

[1] Examples of the National Care Standards relating to transport provision include:

[1] 1. You can keep up relationships with friends, relatives and carers and links with your own community. If you want, the staff will support you to do this.

[1] 4. You can choose activities and holidays, with up-to-date information in a form you can understand. Information will include details of any concessionary schemes. Staff help you to get involved.

[1] 6. You are supported and encouraged to use local services such as hairdressers, shops and banks.

[1] 7. You have access to information about local events, facilities and activities.