Update on Charging Reform, published July 7th 2022.

Update on Charging Reform

The government response to the consultation into charging reform and the operational guidance on charging reform is now available. At the start of June, the government published the first part of its response to the consultation related to the local preparation guidance for the cap on care costs. The following were published then:

The publication on July the 7th reflects the response to the draft operational guidance. The government has published the following:

There are some key things to note that have implications for the pace of reform:

Section 18(3)

Due to significant concerns about the impact of a sudden extension of Section 18(3), it will be phased in over 18 months instead.

The transitional period will work as set out below.

  1. Through the extension of the means test, those with the fewest assets will be able to have their needs met by their local authority from October 2023. Those who benefit in this way will not need to access section 18(3) in order to have their needs met by their local authority.
  2. Those with the assets to fund their own care will gain the right to have their needs met by their local authority via section 18(3), in stages, starting in October 2023 with those who are entering care homes for the first time. It is right that these users, who are at the vulnerable moment of transitioning into residential care, benefit from the support of local authority care arrangement first.
  3. Individuals who have the assets to fund their own care and whose needs are already being met in a care home will then gain access to section 18(3) at the end of the transitional period. This will be no later than April 2025.

First party top-ups

This too has been delayed due to concerns around clarity and workability raised in the consultation. The government still intends to remove current restrictions in the regulations on first party top-ups that extend past those for third-party top-ups. Specific guidance will be published in due course as part of an update to Annex A in the CASS guidance once further engagement and consultation has taken place.

We will have a more insights when we have had time to read the new guidance in full. The government’s intention is to consult on its proposed approach to distributing funds to LAs for 2023-2024. It also plans to begin to make the necessary legislative and regulatory changes from autumn 2022. Needless to say, this is dependent on how the current political turmoil resolves.

Hospital Discharge and Community Support Guidance

The hospital discharge guidance was updated at the end of last week. This guidance has had a note added to it to explain that Section 91 of the Health and Care Act came into force last Friday (1 July 2022) introducing a new duty for NHS trusts and foundation trusts to involve patients and carers (including young carers) in discharge planning.