Issue details

24/00049 - Adult Social Care Charging Policy - Higher Level Disability Benefits

Proposed decision

That the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health:

a) APPROVE the changes to the Adult Social Care Charging Policy; and

b) DELEGATE authority to the Corporate Director Adult Social Care and Health to revise the Adult Social Care Charging Policy and to take relevant actions, including keeping the policy updated as necessary, to implement the decision


Reason for the decision


In line with the approved Budget Book, Kent County Council (KCC) is proposing to change its policy for charging for adult social care provided in a person’s own home or in the community. This means we are reviewing how much some people may have to pay towards the chargeable services that KCC provides or arranges, which include:

·       Care and support provided at home (for example homecare including supported living); and

·       Care and support provided in the community (for example daytime support).


This policy does not impact on people who live in and receive care and support in a residential care home.


We are proposing to stop disregarding the higher or enhanced rates of Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) when we calculate a person’s income (we already take into account the lower, middle or standard rates of these benefits).


This would mean that individuals in receipt of care who receive higher rate of these benefits would have more income taken into account in their financial assessment which would mean that they are likely to pay more for their care and support than they do currently.


We need to look at the amount of income we can generate by people contributing towards the cost of their own care. This is why we are proposing a change to the charging policy.




KCC provide adult social care services to approximately 16,394 residents aged over 18 years old (data taken January 2024). Approximately 15,806 of these people receive chargeable social care services, this includes providing services like residential care and support and care in a person’s own home or in the community.


When people living in Kent need adult social care, as well as assessing their care needs, we also assess their income to decide how much they pay towards their care. This is known as means testing. Some people don’t pay anything, and the council picks up all of the cost, some people pay a contribution, and some people pay for all of their care (these people are known as full payers).


KCC sets out what and how people need to pay in the Adult Social Care Charging Policy.


KCC has already made substantial improvements and efficiencies to the way social care is delivered in Kent, alongside trying to limit the impact on the people that draw on care and support and help make the service sustainable.


Whilst KCC continues to strive to provide the best services we can, we continue to have the following growing pressures:


·       Significantly less government funding compared to nine years ago and we are expected to fund services through council tax contributions and income from other sources such as charging. The Revenue Support Grant (which includes adult social care as well as other council services) has reduced from £246.7m in 2013-14 (the first year of current funding arrangements) to £11.8m in 2024-25. There have been a number of separate social care grants which have been provided progressively since 2016-17 (not exclusively adult social care) which amount to £192.9m in 2024-25 but these grants have been provided in recognition of the pressures in social care and to fund improvements rather than replace the Revenue Support Grant reductions.


·       Increasing demand (an additional 1,152 people from March 2022-March 2023) for adult social care services, including people having complex care and support needs.


·       Significant annual increases in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) since 1999, which have impacted on the fees charged by care and other providers.


·       Continuing impact of inflation, which means we face growing pressures in the care market, including workforce challenges and rising costs for delivering care packages.


Options (other options considered but not taken forward)


Before deciding on the preferred proposal presented in the consultation, a number of options were considered:

Alternative option considered

Why the option has not been taken forward to consultation

Only apply the proposed change to people new to receiving care and support from KCC’s adult social care service from the date the new policy is implemented. This would mean that existing people receiving adult social care services would not have the higher or enhanced rates of disability benefits considered when KCC calculates a person’s income.

Whilst this would reduce the number of people impacted by the proposed change it would not be fair and equitable for all people who draw on care and support and does not reduce the current funding gap.

Introduce the policy in stages, no more than a £12 increase to anyone’s charge per year, for existing people who draw on care and support to give them time to adjust.

Whilst this would reduce the impact of the proposed change it does not reduce the current budget gap as quickly. This would also be quite challenging to administrate both manually and on the case management system.

An increase to the level of Disability Related Expenditure (DRE) for everyone from £17.00.

This would reduce the funding available for adult social care and increase the budget gap further and would be applied to all rather than just those who receive the higher and enhanced benefits.

Increase Minimum Income Guarantee for basic living expenses such as utility bills and food.

This would reduce the funding available for adult social care and increase the budget gap further.

Automatically review DRE for all individuals who could potentially be impacted.

This would have an incredibly significant impact on operational resources and would redirect resources away from frontline services.

Offer DRE assessments for all 3,784 individuals directly impacted.

This would reduce the funding available for adult social care and have a significant impact on operational resources.

Do nothing.

Due to the significant financial challenge being faced by KCC, if we do not raise additional income from this proposed change, then other options would need to be considered.


Our preferred proposal would reduce the funding gap for adult social care services in Kent in year. However, we recognise that these alternative options could help to lessen the impact on individuals.


How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent's Future - our council strategy 2022 to 2026

The proposed decision aligns with the ambitions set out in Framing Kent’s Future to place Kent on a sustainable footing for the medium and long term and also aligns with Objective 2 of Securing Kent’s Future to identify opportunities to set a sustainable budget and MTFP.


Financial Implications


The latest budget monitoring presented to Cabinet on 21 March 2024 shows £30m budget gap for 2023-24, of which £31.3m relates to the Adult Social Care and Health Directorate before management action and one-off use of reserves are considered. Members have agreed the immediate actions needed to reduce spending in the short term and have set the course for getting the council back to financial sustainability, securing the services that residents in Kent need the most.


Spending growth in KCC 2024-25 is £209.6m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £113.9m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £95.7m savings which need to be found.


Of the above, the spending growth in Adult’s 2024-25 is £115.8m as stated in the 2024-25 budget. The net change to the budget is £61.7m (matched by funding increases through government grants, council tax, etc), leaving £54.1m in savings/additional income which needs to be found, of which this proposal is included within.


It has been estimated that the proposed change could raise approximately £3.5million. We would use this money to help reduce the funding gap so that we can continue to provide council services to those who need them. If this proposal is not implemented, then the income would need to be achieved elsewhere.


Equalities implications


An initial Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been completed and can be found on the consultation webpage: or upon request. This is a live document and will continue to be reviewed and updated following the consultation.


Age, disability, sex, race and carer’s responsibilities have been identified as having potential for negative impact if we were to implement the proposed change.


We have taken the following information from two sets of data, these are:

·     Young people drawing on care and support aged from 18 to 25, who are moving from children’s social care into adults’ social care.

·     Adults aged 18 and over drawing on care and support from adult social care.


In the data for young people, there are 612 active individuals who receive care at home, in the community or have a direct payment that may be affected.


In the data for adults, there are potentially 9,011 individuals who receive care at home and in the community that may be affected.


Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Item Called In

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 08/05/2024

Decision due: Not before 6th Jun 2024 by Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health
Reason: To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Lead director: Richard Smith

Department: Social Care, Health & Wellbeing

Contact: Cathi Sacco, Interim Director of Commissioning and Provision Email: Email: Tel: 01622 694899/4905.

Consultation process

The proposed decision was discussed at the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee on 15 May 2024and the recommendations were endorsed by the majority.



The proposed decision will be considered at the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee meeting on 15 May 2024.

Financial implications: Please see detail above

Legal implications: The Care Act 2014 sets out local authorities' duties when assessing people's care and support needs as well as the process for conducting a financial assessment or means test to work out how much the council will pay towards individuals’ care.

Equalities implications: Equalities Implications: Please see detail above Data Protection implications A full DPIA was carried out and signed off by the Information Governance Lead and the Corporate Director Adult Social Care and Health.