Report from I.W. Councillor Roger Mazillius

Posted by Admin on 4 November 2010, 12:00 am

Tel: 01983 295556



The Isle of Wight Council last week launched a major 90-day consultation on proposals to change the way it delivers and charges for adult social care services.

The consultation will both inform residents of – and seek their views on – proposals to ensure those in most need are looked after appropriately both now and in the future in the light of the council’s reduced financial resources.

The proposals also address anomalies in the current charging structure. For example some people with similar needs currently pay different amounts – or nothing at all – for the same services. In other areas, the council is also in many cases paying the full cost of some services even though some people using these services actually receive benefits to pay for them or have significant savings or other income.

Specific proposals around charging include charging people against the actual cost of the services provided to them; this includes meals on wheels, day care and homecare services. In addition, people will be eligible to pay whatever their age.

However the council has stressed that no-one will be billed for services they cannot afford and if agreed, the charges will not be introduced until April 2011 at the earliest and will only be payable by individuals when both their needs and ability to pay have been individually assessed. During this assessment process, people will also be given advice and information to ensure they are claiming the full benefits for which they are entitled.

In addition the council is looking to raise the threshold for those eligible to receive adult social care services from those assessed currently as “critical” or “substantial” to only those assessed as critical. However in doing so, it is still looking to provide support to people below the critical threshold if they face specific significant risks to their continued independence and safety.
As with changes to the charging policy, nothing will change until 1 April 2011 and again nobody will see changes to their support until they have been individually reassessed.

What will not change will be any services provided to those in residential care, the mechanism by which people’s means are assessed or those currently assessed as having critical needs. Those whose needs are currently deemed as substantial will be assessed to determine which parts of these packages are most needed in order to stop their needs becoming critical. These elements will continue to be provided by the council.

Aside from issues around fairer charging, the consultation also sets out the council’s case for transferring the respite care facility at Westminster House, Newport, to The Gouldings in Freshwater and The Adelaide in Ryde.

The 90-day consultation process will be a thorough one, canvassing the views of those who use these services as well as their families and carers, private and voluntary sector providers of services, staff working in the field and also the wider community. No final decisions have been taken on these proposals and nor will they be until the consultation has been conducted and all the responses properly evaluated, and a decision taken through the Cabinet and Full Council.

I hope as many people as possible but particularly those most affected by these decisions will present their views to the council. While there is a need for the council to reduce its budget by an estimated £32 million over the next four years this is also an opportunity for us to make sure our services are delivered as fairly as possible and that the right services are received by those most in need. It is also a chance to review the way we provide services as we move towards the full introduction of personal budgets by April 2013.

Whilst the consultation will run until the 14th January 2011, it is important that the council receives as much feedback as possible before this last date to enable a really thorough and full set of recommendations to be prepared and placed before the Council in February. Full details of the eligibility consultation and an easy-to-use form can be found at . You can also email for information to or write to Social Care Consultation, County Hall, Newport, IW PO30 1UD.

Please use for the Westminster House consultation or email – I will be available as usual through my above contact details. In addition, the council call centre at 01983 821000 may also be able to offer further information.

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