A REVISED adult social care charging policy has been adopted by Cheshire West’s cabinet — despite concerns over the legality of some fees.

The policy includes a weekly £6 ‘extra care charge’ for the use of an emergency pull-cord, which residents and councillors say should have been agreed on an ‘opt-in’ basis.

However, emails seen by the LDRS show that senior councillors say ‘the nature of an emergency pull cord response system is not suitable for an opt in arrangement as care would be delivered in an emergency to any resident of an extra care scheme’.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting where the new charges were given the green light, Cllr Martin Delaney said: “The policy refers to the weekly charge for the pull cord system whether it is needed or not.
“If you look at the Care Act 2014, under assessed needs, you will notice paragraphs 18,19, and 20 are very consistent as [referring] to services to be delivered on need, or assessed need.

“If you read the Government Act, it says that a recipient of discretionary service, which this is, [needs to opt-in]. What is the legal basis for this charge?

“What instrument of law allows for someone to pay for a service they have not asked for?”

In response, Cllr Val Armstrong, who is the borough cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “The policy was advised on by our legal officers. It provides a 24 hour on-site response which can be an extremely useful service.”

Cabinet colleague Carol Gahan added: “[Some residents] had issues with Covid with an outbreak [over Christmas] and some of the residents were available to use the pull cords with their apartments so they could summon assistance.”