Councillor Veronica Dunn
Adult and Culture Services
Newcastle City Council
9 October, 2012
Newcastle upon Tyne
Response sent by email to:
Telephone: 0191 211 5154
ILF Consultation Team
Consultation on the Future of the Independent Living Fund
Please find attached a response to DWP consultation on the Future of the Independent
If you have any queries concerning our comments, please contact Jamie Feather, Lead
Specialist Practitioner - Personalisation on 0191 211 6305 email@example.com
Councillor Veronica Dunn
Cabinet Member: Adult and Culture Services
Consultation on the Future of the Independent Living Fund
Response from Newcastle City Council
Thank you for inviting Newcastle City Council to respond to this consultation. Our
responses are detailed below. Question 1:
Do you agree with the Government’s proposal that the care and support needs of current
ILF users should be met within the mainstream care and support system, with funding
devolved to local government in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland
and Wales ? This would mean the closure of the ILF in 2015.
Response to question 1:
We are in broad agreement with this proposal, because it would reduce the level of
outward-facing bureaucracy in maintaining ILF awards.
However, our agreement to the proposal is subject to the following conditions:
• There must be no additional costs to the local authority resulting from the proposed
• The gross cost of existing ILF users’ awards will be honoured to avoid any potential
distress to Newcastle residents
What are the key challenges that ILF users would face in moving from joint ILF / local
authority to sole local authority funding of their care and support needs ? How can any
impacts be mitigated ?
Response to question 2:
We consider that there are two main potential impacts:
2a) Fears of reductions in funding and limitations of use.
We consider that
established ILF users will be concerned that the ILF monies will no longer be under their
sole control. They will feel vulnerable to the impact of budget pressures and
support that may be purchased differ from local authority practices). This applies to
current ILF users in both group 1 and group 2.
To some extent, this impact is mitigated by the greater flexibility that is offered to eligible
people via Self-Directed Support / Personal Budgets. However, unless the gross cost of
the ILF award (including the value of the person’s ILF contribution) is transferred to the
local authority, reductions in funding (and therefore levels of support) are inevitable,
because the local authority will be neither able to demand the person pays the ILF
financial contribution in addition to any local authority charges, nor will it be able to
absorb the funding deficit. Therefore, to mitigate this impact, the gross value of the ILF
awards must be transferred, and this decision communicated to ILF users in a clear and
2b) Unwanted contact with adult social care.
We consider that group 1 people will be
concerned about having to be assessed by Adult and Culture Services, quite possibly for
the first time. The experience of applying eligibility criteria will be new to these people
and is unlikely to be welcomed, since it would reduce group 1 people’s level of
In the event that the proposal is accepted and acted upon, we consider that the role of
the ILF visiting social workers is important. The impact could be mitigated by effective
transfer arrangements from ILF social worker to local authority social worker. ILF users
would need clear information about the different assessment process for eligibility for
local authority services at an early stage in the process.
What impact would the closure of the ILF have on local authorities and the provision of
care and support services more widely ? How could any impacts be mitigated ? Response to question 3:
We have identified three main potential impacts: 3a) Increased workload in terms of administration of funds.
A transfer of ILF
functions and resources would result in increased administrative and processing
demands on local authority resources. We consider that this increase needs to be
quantified, costed and factored into any transfer arrangements at an early stage in the
process, should the proposal be enacted. At present, the ILF imposes a number of rules
in terms of threshold values and ongoing eligibility. If these rules are maintained, and
the original ILF awards have to be kept distinct, the additional administrative costs will be
even higher and this matter needs to be acknowledged and addressed.
3b) Increased workload in terms of assessment and care management.
At least 20
group 1 people will need to be assessed by Adult and Culture Services in order to admit
them to our systems. This will be an additional cost to the local authority which needs to
be met as part of any resulting transfer agreement. If the 20 people do not welcome the
local authority’s involvement, then the demands on worker time could be considerable.
Clear information and effective handover from the ILF would be essential to minimise
such costs and any negative impact on group 1 users. 3c) Increased financial demands resulting from the uncertainty of ongoing funding
and the risks posed by individual users’ financial contributions to ILF awards.
note that at this stage detail on how much funding will be transferred and crucially the
ongoing nature of said funding is scant. We consider that if the decision is made to
close the ILF this information needs to be shared at an early stage and the scope for
further negotiations incorporated into any agreed transfer plans. For example, on what
basis and frequency would the funds be paid to the local authority ?
In the event that ILF users die following the transfer, we would expect the value of the
ILF awards to continue to be paid to the local authority and be transferable to other
people with complex needs. We would also seek to ensure that the value of ILF awards
that were in existence prior to the closure of the Fund to new applications in June 2010,
but have subsequently ended, be included in any transfer settlement. Since that date, in
Newcastle, pre-existing ILF awards totalling over £200,000.00 have ended after ILF
users ceased to be eligible for various reasons. This money has not been made
available to other Newcastle residents and in the interests of fairness this sum should
also transfer. It would also mitigate other cost pressures that local authorities have
borne since 2010 due to the ILF’s refusal to meet unit costs increases for ILF users’
packages. Turnover between June 2010 and the date of transfer (if such occurs) should
be monitored and a settlement agreed for the benefit of Newcastle residents. This
money and the original aim of improving disabled people’s level of independence should
not be lost should the ILF close. Question 4:
What are the specific challenges in relation to Group 1 users ? How can the Government
ensure this group are able to access the full range of Local authority care and support
services for which they are eligible ?
Response to question 4:
Broadly, please see comments in point 2 above. Group 1 users will need to be
assessed against FACS 2010 criteria and follow our Self-Directed Support model. We
would also actively resist any attempt to net off ILF award transfer amounts based on
any notional local authority funding responsibilities. These awards should be preserved
in full, in the interests of fairness to group 1 users and the broader social care
population. Question 5:
How can DWP, the ILF and local authorities best continue to work with ILF users
between now and 2015 ? How can the ILF best work with individual local authorities if
the decision to close the ILF is taken ? Response to question 5:
The key to effective collaboration is clear communication, ongoing dialogue and
transparency in terms of financial information. If the proposal leads to a decision to
close the ILF, then planning would need to start almost immediately to mitigate any risks
to ILF users and the local authority. We consider that ILF communications officers and
other personnel would have a crucial role. Communication and engagement would need
to be localised; retaining and managing the process according to the defined ILF regions
would be essential. A centralised approach would hinder effective joint-working because
the region-specific knowledge and perspective would be lost.