By Rashleigh MacFarlane
County Hall has launched a major public consultation exercise about its charging regime for adult social care, after being forced to abandon a similar project two years ago.
A new charging policy will be developed following discussion at the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee earlier this year (11 March.) The public consultation was then delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Cornwall Council hopes it can now find out what people across Cornwall think of its proposals.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for adults, Cllr Rob Rotchell said: “Unless you qualify for financial assistance there is a charge for adult social care, which can be confusing as many people assume it is free like our National Health Service.
“Often people come to us in crisis and it can be a shock to learn this. The new policy will set out much more clearly what people will be expected to pay for and how the system works.
“We have already spoken to our partners in the voluntary and community sector and this has helped us to develop a new version of the policy which we now want to talk to people in Cornwall about.
“We need to make sure it is easier to understand and the best way we can do this is by getting feedback from members of the public. The changes proposed will ensure that we continue to make best use of taxpayers’ money, helping those that are most in need.”
The consultation began on 11th June and will run until 11th September. There is an online survey, as well as people being able to give their views by telephone and by post.
There are plans for some face to face events taking place in August. More information on those will be released nearer the time once we are certain that social distancing can be maintained at the venues and it is safe for people to attend.
County Hall says it is also holding some live online sessions that people can also get involved with. These will take place between 10am and 12 noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout July. Each session will include a presentation to explain the policy and time for questions and answers.
Meanwhile the council's adult social care team can look forward to the return of Andrea Cooper, its former chief designer, who introduced "The Thinking Room" project. Intended to be a "cross-sector innovation unit" which was going to "make good ideas happen" The Thinking Room left many senior officers, and most councillors, completely baffled. Ms Cooper is returning to County Hall after six years as a deputy policy director at the Cabinet Office.