Cabinet received a report which was submitted following a motion moved by Councillor John Fox, the Council’s Armed Forces Community Champion, to Full Council on 14 October 2015, which has its origins in the Royal British Legions ‘Insult to Injury’ campaign.
The purpose of the report was to seek approval from Cabinet for a proposed change to the Council’s Adult Social Care Charging Policy in response to Councillor Fox’s motion.
Veterans injured after 6 April 2005 received income compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, which was fully disregarded in the financial assessment calculation. However, veterans injured prior to 5 April 2005 received a War Disablement Pension, which was subject to a £10 disregard, with the remainder of the income taken into account in the financial assessment. War Disablement Pension income above this £10 level therefore increased the person’s care charge, and reduced the Council’s contribution towards a person’s care costs.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Integrated Adult Social Care and Health introduced the report highlighting the main issues contained within.
Following additional comments from the Council’s Financial Systems Manager and the Social Inclusion Manager, Cabinet debated the report and in summary, key points raised and responses to questions included:
· The financial impact of the proposals would amount to a negligible loss of revenue of approximately £1.8k. A cost pressure would be created in subsequent years, although amounts would remain comparatively low, in the region of £5.5k per annum;
· There were only small numbers of individuals affected in the city, hence the low cost pressures;
· The motion and proposals represented a commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant that had been signed three years ago;
· The latest information available highlighted that only around 12% of local authorities had opted to implement such proposals; and
· It was commented that the Forces Covenant had been extremely successful and a future report on the funds it had attracted could be considered.
Councillor John Fox was present and thanked Cabinet for the positive response to the motion.
Cabinet considered the report and motion as moved by Councillor John Fox and unanimously supported by Council at the meeting held on 14 October 2015, and RESOLVED:
1. To approve that the Adult Social Care Charging Policy be amended to fully disregard the war disablement pension in the social care financial assessment, effective from February 2016, in accordance with the motion moved by Councillor Fox; and
2. To support the Local Government Association’s call for additional funding to be provided by Central Government to ensure that such a policy change is financially sustainable.
REASONS FOR THE DECISION
The proposed changes to the charging policy would ensure that the Council’s approach to the treatment of military compensation:
· Recognised the sacrifice of those injured in service;
· Was equitable, fair, and consistent with the treatment of other forms of compensation;
· Rectified a widely-perceived anomaly;
· Was within the Council’s discretion, and
· Had a negligible/low financial impact.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS CONSIDERED
The alternative options considered were:
a) To leave the charging policy unchanged in respect of its treatment of War Disability Pension.
This option was rejected since there was a widely held view that there was an anomaly in the treatment of military compensation that required rectifying, and the will of the Council had been clearly expressed that such a rectification should be considered locally.
b) To reduce care charges even further for those injured in military service.
This option was also rejected since this would cause a further loss of revenue to the Council at a time of extreme financial pressure. Also, the recommended option was in accord with the campaigning stance of the Royal British Legion, and the views of the Local Government Association.