Care Bill [Lords]

Written evidence submitted from Colin Slasberg (CB 29)

The Bill as it stands contains what is surely a contradiction and one that will create confusion if not resolved before finalisation. It is in relation to the issue of responsibility for making decisions about how eligible needs will be met.

Section 24 (1) (c) says that the local authority must ‘help the adult with deciding how to have the needs met’. There is no references to the status of the local authority’s help, thus allowing for the adult to ignore it. This clearly conveys the message that the responsibility for decision remains with the adult, not the local authority. However, section 25 (5) says that ‘the local authority must take all reasonable steps to reach agreement with the adult or carer for whom the plan is being prepared about how the authority should meet the needs in question’. This conveys the message that the responsibility remains with the local authority, not the adult.

It is the message in 25(5) that should prevail. It surely cannot be the intention of Parliament to commit local authorities to decisions that may commit a higher level of spend to meet needs than would be possible by other decisions, or to spend public money on a resource that the authority does not believe will meet the assessed needs. Therefore, 24(1)(c) should be amended to say something like ‘agree with the adult how the needs should be met’.

January 2014

Prepared 29th January 2014