WITH THE COST of adult social care in the county increasing Buckinghamshire County Council is holding a seven week consultation about the charges made for some services. The consultation, which starts next week on Tuesday 28 November, is ONLY about increasing charges for people who pay the full cost of their care or contribute towards part of the cost. Typically those with £23,250 or more in savings and investments [around 25% of all adult services users] will be asked to pay the full charge for the care they receive.* Residents directly affected by the changes will be sent detailed information about the proposed increases in charges, along with a postal survey to give their views. Over 10 services are affected and include; Telecare Landline system [increase of 10p per week], Home Care [increase of 72p on two carer hourly rate], and Respite Care [increase of £50 per week]. Additionally two new service charges have been introduced; Telecare mobile care [£7.69 per week] and Telecare – Medication & Welfare call charge [£1.78 per call]. The cost of a Care Package Set-up remains the same at £250 but from 2018/19 will attract 20% VAT. Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing, said: “Every year, we look at what we charge eligible customers for social care so we can be sure we receive enough money to pay the bills for these services. Most people [around 50%] who use these services do not qualify to pay any charges at all, and some [around 25%] only pay a small fraction of the actual cost as a contribution. “For those that do pay we have tried to keep the increases as low as possible, as we know that incomes have to stretch much further these days. But like everyone else we too have to provide more with less. We need to manage our budgets very carefully in order to balance increasing costs with making sure the most vulnerable people in the county get the care they need to stay independent for as long a possible. Fortunately people are living much longer lives, as such the number of older people in the county is increasing, more than 98,000 residents are aged 65 years or over**. Not surprisingly a very large proportion [38%] of the council’s total budget is spent on adult social care. “I would urge anyone who has a view, good and bad, or is concerned about the proposed changes to let me know by completing the survey.” The survey will be live on the council’s ‘Have Your Say’ webpages from Tuesday 28 November and also available in an Easy Read format. If you, a family member or someone you care for uses adult social care services in Buckinghamshire, you can let the county council know what you think about the changes to charging by going directly to the survey at https://www.research.net/r/ASCcharges2017BucksCC4 or visiting the ‘Have your say’ section on the council website www.buckscc.gov.uk The consultation ends on Friday 19 January, after this date the council will use all responses received to help them to decide whether to make any changes and, if so, what these will be. Results of the consultation and any decision made will be published on the ‘Have your say’ page of the council’s website by the end of March 2018. Any new or increased charges will come into effect from April 2018.