THE county council is to plough ahead with controversial plans to introduce charges for its day care services despite concerns raised by its own scrutiny committee.
The Older Persons, Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered increases in non-residential social services care charges in March.
The committee accepted a number of proposals but rejected the introduction of a £23.70 charge for day care services.
The following month cabinet referred that decision back to scrutiny for an “explanation” as to why people who can afford to pay should not make a financial contribution for the service provided.
The scrutiny committee then recommended introducing a daily charge of £10, instead of the proposed £23.70, as of September 1.
A report by the deputy chief executive, put before cabinet on Monday (July 7), stated that the £10 charge “is not based on any financial assessment of the cost of service provision” and would generate about £100,000 less income than the £23.70 charge.
Cabinet member for adult services Councillor Simon Hancock said the original proposal was based on the cost of providing the service and that charges would be means tested.
He said members of the scrutiny committee had agreed with charging in principle but did not agree with introducing the £23.70 charge immediately.
The £10 charge did not reflect the costs involved, Cllr Hancock said, adding that it was “a figure plucked out of the air as far as I can tell”.
He proposed introducing a daily charge of £16.50 from September 1, rising to £23.70 as of April 1.
Cabinet members voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.
Deputy leader Cllr Rob Lewis said: “We do find ourselves in very difficult times. I think it’s important to highlight that, through means testing, only those who have the capacity and the ability to pay would have to so.”
The council needs to make £20m savings over the next three years.