Prioritising allowance needs for Special Guardians and families with children who are voluntarily looked after by the local authority by introducing Financial Assessment

Closed 17 Dec 2017

Opened 6 Nov 2017

Feedback Updated 22 Jan 2018

We Asked

As part of the savings needed to bridge the gap in the council’s finances of £108m over the next five years, Bristol City Council consulted on proposed changes to the funding it offers to parents and carers who need extra help to provide care for their children. This would enable us to reduce the budget for this service by £50k in 2018/19.

The proposal that was consulted on was to introduce a financial assessment of three aspects of its provision to children in care. This was intended to ensure that people pay something towards the care of their children if they can afford to, and full funding is reserved for those who need it most. These three proposals were:

Proposal 1: a financial assessment of Special Guardians. The proposal that was consulted on was to reduce or end the payment of the allowance for Special Guardians whose financial situation means they do not need the full allowance for looking after the child(ren). The reduction in allowance for individual Special Guardians would range from no reduction to £243 per week, depending on the age of the child, other benefits and income of the Special Guardian. (The council does not currently undertake any financial assessment of Special Guardians, unlike adoption allowances which are subject to a financial assessment of the family).

Proposal 2: The council would provide practical support to carers and children according to assessed need which may range from therapeutic interventions (for which Adoption Support Fund applications may be made on behalf of the family) to practical, play and parenting support, or support to access universal and targeted services.

Proposal 3: The proposal that was consulted on was to pilot a financial assessment of parents’ income where children are voluntarily accommodated (looked after under Section 20 Children Act 1989) by the local authority. Parents would be required to contribute towards the cost of their child’s care where they were assessed as being able to afford it. Individual families would be required to contribute approximately £40 per week towards living expenses and clothing allowance. (Information about Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 is available at: https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/277498/s20_guidance.pdf.)

Further information was provided in the Financial Assessment of Care Services consultation document.

You Said

The consultation on removal of Financial Assessment of Care Services (FACS) has now closed. We received 50 responses to this consultation, the results of which are available in appendix A of the Corporate Strategy 2018-2023 and Budget consultation report.

We Did

The results of the consultation on removal of Financial Assessment of Care Services will be taken into consideration in developing a set of final proposals.

Overview

Bristol City Council is proposing changes to the funding it offers to parents and carers who need extra help to provide care for their children. This would enable us to reduce the budget for this service by £50k in 2018/19.

Our proposals are described in the survey below. Please give us your views.

Savings to other services

You can see the full list of savings which we propose to make over the next five years as part of our Corporate Strategy and Budget Consultation at www.bristol.gov.uk/corpstrategy.

Next steps

Your feedback, along with the views of other local groups and partners, will be taken in to consideration in developing a set of final proposals that match local needs wherever possible. The proposals will be put to the Mayor and his Cabinet to make a final decision. In making a decision they will also take consultation responses into consideration.

The consultation results and the council’s decision on how to deliver future services will be published in early 2018.

What Happens Next

Your feedback, along with the views of other local groups and partners, will be taken in to consideration in developing a set of final proposals that match local needs wherever possible. The proposals will be put to the Mayor and his Cabinet to make a final decision. In making a decision they will also take consultation responses into consideration.

The consultation results and the council’s decision on how to deliver future services will be published in early 2018.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Children / Young People
  • Parents, carers and guardians

Interests

  • Children and young people