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16p To Fund A Respite Package

May 31, 2012

Dear Mr S

Re: Steven Neary: Respite Arrangement & Charges

I am having to write to you again as I arrived home from work today to find this month’s direct payments remittance advice. Although, it was great to see an amount was included for the overnight respite that you agreed to in April, I was absolutely horrified to discover that Hillingdon are now levying a “client charge payable” at Steven. What this means in practice is absurd. You agreed to fund a respite package of 42 nights at £65 per night. The charge for both May and June were £129.84. That leaves me trying to fund a respite package for 16p!

What I find as hard to understand is that at no time during the long drawn out negotiations about the package was the subject of a charge ever mentioned. I have numerous letters and emails from yourself and other officers and I have attended many meetings where the subject of a charge has never been raised.

I feel totally hoodwinked. How on earth are we to carry out Justice Jackson’s call to build a trusting relationship when yet again I have been misled? I cannot believe that not a single officer I have met over the past few months didn’t know about the intention to charge Steven, so once again I have had important information withheld from me.

I draw your attention to paragraphs 95-96 in the Fairer Charging Guidance:

 

“Information about charges

95. Clear information about charges and how they are assessed should be readily available for users and carers. Local Better Care, Higher Standards charters should include this information. Information should be made available at the time a person’s needs for care are assessed.

96. Once a person’s care needs have been assessed and a decision has been made about the care to be provided, an assessment of ability to pay charges should be carried out promptly, and written information about any charges assessed as payable, and how they have been calculated, should be communicated promptly. This should normally be done before sending a first bill. Charges should not be made for any period before an assessment of charges has been communicated to the user, although this may be unavoidable where the user has not co-operated with the assessment. A first bill for a charge for a lengthy past period can cause needless anxiety. Any increase in charges should also be notified and no increased charge made for a period before the notification”.

What you have done seems to breach this policy on several counts:

  1. I keep being informed that Steven is due to have a new needs assessment in preparation for a personal budget. So, this charge has been levied before a needs assessment has been completed.
  2. No financial assessment has been carried out.
  3. No written information has been communicated to me until today, and even then, only indirectly via the direct payments remittance advice.
  4. You have charged Steven for May and June, which is before the charges have been communicated to us.
  5. You have charged for a two month period prior to notification.

I am requesting the following:

  1. The charges already deducted for May and June be reimbursed as soon as possible (i.e. Not wait until next month’s DP are due).
  2. No further charges are made until, firstly a new needs assessment is carried out, followed by a full financial assessment.

If this is not done, or the council are unwilling to rectify this, I wish this letter to be taken as an appeal against the decision to charge Steven for his care package without assessment, consultation or notification.

Finally, I would like to point out that although you agreed to the respite package in April, I have not been able to arrange any respite since then. Firstly, because the funds for May weren’t paid until today and from now, I cannot obviously pay for respite at 16p a night.

I hope this matter receives your immediate attention.

Yours sincerely

Mark Neary

Cc: Ben Conroy, Sharon Lamerton (Conroy’s Solicitors)

Linda Saunders (Director of Adult Social Care)

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