Carers should not be expected to take on the whole burden of caring without practical support.  Services provided by Brent Social Services are designed to maintain the independence, health and well-being of both the person with care needs and their carer.  Examples of such services include home care, day care, meals on wheels, respite care, adaptations to the home and residential care services.

Here you will find information on how to access this support in respect of the person you care for.

Brent Council is responsible for organising community care services in the borough.  The actual services may be provided by Brent Social Services themselves, NHS Brent, voluntary agencies or private businesses.

How does Brent Council decide who is eligible for services ?

Decisions are made on the basis of “Community Care Assessments” undertaken by Brent Social Services.

Community Care Assessments are based on a framework which will look at an individual’s eligible needs to remain independent in the long- and short- term if help was not provided, for which they may be entitled to state-funded social care and support.  Factors that make up the framework are autonomy, physical and mental health and safety, the management of daily routines, the home environment, and family and community life.

There are four bands of eligibility criteria: Critical, Substantial, Moderate, and Low.  Brent Council have decided that it can meet the needs of people who meet the Critical and Substantial bands.

Anyone whose needs are assessed as either Moderate or Low will not be eligible for funding from Brent Council, but they should still be provided with information about alternative sources of support and advice about how to access them.  You should also be given information about how to get back in touch with Brent Social Services if the difficulties of the person you care for worsen.

For more information on the issues Brent Social Services take into account in reaching a decision regarding the eligibility criteria on a Community Care Assessment here is Brent Council’s “Fair Access to Care Services” policy.

How do I find out whether the person I care for is eligible for support from Brent Social Services ?

You need to contact Brent Social Services and request a “Community Care Assessment” for the person you care for.  You can make such a request in one of the following ways:

A social worker will then make an appointment to look at the needs and abilities of the person you care for, and should fully involve you the carer and any other members of your family in the assessment.  The social worker will take the family’s needs into consideration, and family members can be present if the person you care for wishes.  An initial assessment may be carried out over the telephone.

The social worker should give you a timeline by which he/she will inform you of the outcome of the Assessment.

If the person I care for is eligible will they have to pay anything ?

Social care, unlike NHS health care, is not free for everyone.  How much the person you care for will need to contribute will depend on their financial situation.  You – the carer – do not have to pay.

Financial Assessments

Following the assessment Brent Social Services will calculate the costs of the social care and support needed.  A separate Financial Assessment will then be undertaken of the person you care for (i.e. a means-test) to calculate how much, if anything, the person you care for will need to contribute.

The financial assessment will look at the assets, income and savings of the person you care for only (and not you the carer).  If the social care and support needed is for solely community services (such as home care, day care and meals on wheels) then the house the person you care for, if they own it, is not included in the financial assessment.  If the person you care for has savings totalling less than £23,250 Brent Social Services will make a contribution to the cost of the services.  If, however, the person you care for has savings in excess of this they will be required to pay the full cost of the services.

If the person you care for does not wish to disclose financial information they will normally be asked to sign a form to confirm that they will pay the full cost of the services.

What happens next ?

After the assessment process has been completed Brent Social Services will produce an individually-tailored Care Plan for the person you care for.  The Care Plan will:

  • indicate the level of support required and the service(s) required;
  • when the support should begin;
  • when the care plan will be reviewed; and
  • how much (if any) will the person you care for need to pay.

The care plan can be reassessed at any stage, and can be challenged if you or the person you care for disagrees with it.

How will the Care Plan be put into place ?

There are a few ways in which the Care Plan can be implemented:

  • Brent Social Services can make the arrangements, deciding who will provide the service to the cared-for person; or
  • The cared-for person and/or their representative (such as a family carer) can make the necessary arrangements, via a “Personal Budget”.

Personal Budgets

Everyone who receives help from Brent Social Services should have a “Personal Budget”.  This is an allocation of funding equivalent to the Care Plan agreed, confirming the proportion of contribution met by Brent Social Services.  Therefore, rather than Brent Social Services implementing the Care Plan the cared-for person and/or their representative (such as a family carer) can instead decide to receive a Personal Budget, and implement the Care Plan themselves.

A Personal Budget gives you a number of options as to how the person you care for needs are met and funded, as well as the support they need to make an informed choice.  Its aim is to give you more control, and to ensure that the services the person you care for receive meet their particular needs and wishes.  If the person you care for receives a Personal Budget, they can choose to manage it by getting Direct Payments, or have it managed by someone else in line with their needs and preferences.

Obviously if you – the carer – need to make such decisions on behalf of the person you care for then these are the issues you need to consider on their behalf.

How can you use a Personal Budget ?

Direct Payments is one way in which the Personal Budget can be used.  For example, instead of Brent Social Services deciding how to put into place a Care Plan you are provided with the Personal Budget to buy the support yourself.

If you are able to manage your own finances and feel comfortable doing so, getting your personal budget in the form of direct payments might suit you.

Another option available is what is known as an “Individual Service Fund”.  This is where Brent Social Services would pay the personal budget into a prepaid card account to a service provider of your choice.  The service provider would then be responsible for managing the money on your behalf arranging to implement the Care Plan.

However, managing a personal budget is not suitable for everyone – you may be happy to have Brent Social Services arranging your care for you, or want to carry on receiving your care in the same way.  For more information on personal budgets click here to access Age UK’s online information guide.

What about support for Carers ?

Have a look at our Carers Assessments page for details of the support Brent Adult Social Services can provide to carers.

Brent Carers Centre is here to help

Remember if you need help on any matter relating to your caring role, including making contact with Brent Social Services, please Contact Us.

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