The Scottish Government is consulting on proposed changes to the Waiving of Charges regulations and guidance. These regulations relate to the waving of local authority charges to carers for services they receive to support their caring role.
The regulations were introduced to ensure a consistent approach between local authorities by requiring local authorities not to charge for support services which are provided under the Social Care (Self Directed Support)(Scotland) Act 2013 or the 1995 Children (Scotland) Act.
Carers are providers of services to the cared-for person; services that might otherwise have to be provided by the local authority. In providing their services it is estimated that carers save the health and social care system in Scotland £10 billion each year.
According to the Scottish Government’s consultation, some local authorities are experiencing difficulty in interpreting some aspects of the regulations and guidance, mainly related to when they can and cannot charge for support which provides replacement care. Where replacement care is provided to enable a break from caring the regulations currently state that no charge can be applied to either the carer or the person they help care for. We believe this should continue.
The Scottish Government consultation paper sets out two options to address these issues.
- Option 1– No amendments would be made to the current regulations, but there will be improved guidance.
- Option 2 – Legislation would state that replacement care provides indirect support to the carer and therefore the cared-for person can be charged for replacement care, even where it is put in place to support the carer.
We believe it is only right that the state should provide support to carers, including replacement care if needed, and that carers should not be charged directly or indirectly to receive this support. We therefore support option 1 and we have explained our reasons in a position paper.
You can read the full Scottish Government consultation communication here
You can read our draft Position Paper here
It is important that government hears your views too. The National Carers Organisations have published a survey to help us collect responses. You can complete the (short) survey here.
The closing date for our survey is 9th September 2015.