ADULT AND COMMUNITY SERVICES FEES AND CHARGES 2012/13
- Meeting of Health, Housing and Adult Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Tuesday, 31 January 2012 7:00 pm (Item 122.)
To receive a report of the Director of Adult and Community Services setting out proposed amendments to discretionary charges for the Adult and Community Services Directorate and seeking comments from the committee before the charges are set by the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing.
The Committee received a report of the Director of Adult and Community Services providing information regarding the setting of fees and charges for Adult and Community Services in 2012/13. The report sought comments from the committee on these proposed fees and charges before they would being implemented 1st April 2012
The Head of Finance (ACS) was in attendance to present the report to the Committee. He briefly outlined the main changes to the current fees and charges; in particular he drew the attention of the committee to the following:
It was proposed:
(i) That the majority of Fees and Charges would rise by 2.5%, in line with council policy, and at a rate lower than inflation.
(ii) That the maximum contribution towards the cost of services would increase from £335 to £350. This change would only affect maximum contributors. Other contributions would continue to be assessed as part of personal budgets in the same way.
(iii) That a new charge be introduced to cover the administration costs associated with a Loan application. This had previously been a free service and would now cost £500.
(iv) That interest on deferred payment relating to loans granted would be increased from 6.5% to 8%. This would be for new customers only and on deferred payments only; where houses were sold within 56 days the loan would remain interest free.
(v) That there would be a higher percentage rise in meals at the Access Project for adults with physical disabilities, 26%, in order to bring prices in line with others subsidised by the council, as current policy currently encouraged.
The Committee discussed the information received, the following further information was sought and themes explored with the officer in attendance:
(i) Councillors felt that an interest rate of 8% was high in comparison to other lenders.
(ii) Councillors welcomed the recently announced freeze on council tax in difficult economic times and there was some support for a similar freeze in fees and charges.
(iii) In relation to the deferred payments interest, concern was expressed that houses may take longer to sell in the current economic climate, it was suggested that research might be undertaken to ensure that 56 days was a reasonable length of time.
(iv) That the introduction of a £500 charge where there had not been one before represented a huge percentage increase. Officers clarified that the charge was for new customers only and would not be profit making; it would only cover the cost of processing and legal checks etc.
(v) Councillors questioned the proposal to charge the maximum allowed by central government, £10, for a blue badge. It was noted during this discussion that the Blue Badge was assigned to a person and not a vehicle; therefore the holder may not own a car.
Additional information was requested regarding:
(i) The numbers of people using Day Centres and whether increased costs had contributed to a decline in numbers.
(ii) How many people were likely to be affected by the increase in Blue badge charges.
(iii) Details of the length of time houses were regularly on the market for in the borough.
It was RESOLVED:
- That further questions or comments
from the members of the Committee be received by contacting the DSO
by 3rd February 2012
- That officers be requested to
respond to questions raised and record comments received by
9th February 2012.
- That authority be delegated to the Chair and Vice Chair to consider all information thus received and formulate comments on behalf of the Committee to be forwarded to the Cabinet Member by 13th February