Scottish Borders Council

Agenda item

Social Work Residential Charging Policy

Consider report by Director Social Work and Practice.  (Copy attached.)


8.1       There had been circulated copies of a report by the Director of Social Work and Practice detailing the public feedback from the recent consultation and proposed changes to the Charging Policy for Non-Residential and Residential Care Services.   The report explained that each year, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) produced guidance on the principles that underpinned local authority charging policies. The COSLA Guidance was subject to revision annually or as policy developed. As a result, Scottish Borders Council reviewed its non-residential care charging policy every year. Income generated by contributions people made through the charging policy enabled the council to continue providing a service to people who had an assessed need and ensured the development and delivery of high quality services.  There was a range of changes consulted on and a complete rewrite of the actual policy was proposed to ensure the policy was more accessible and easy to read. A public consultation, which concluded on the 17 October 2021, explored how people viewed proposed changes. These changes intended to improve equity in respect of Financial Assessments, Extra Care Housing Charges and Sheltered Housing Charges.  The consultation also sought views on the council’s proposal to increase the level of payment people received for Direct Payment and Short Breaks Rates and addressed the linking of the cost of Meals at Home (Frozen Meals) charges to the national excel contract.  The consultation covered the agreement reached by council last year, to apply an annual 5% increase to the taper rate. The proposal for financial year 2022/23 was to move from 70% to 75%.  The consultation had been advertised across multiple channels and media, as outlined in appendix 1 to the report, and ran from 17/09/2021 to 17/10/2021. Postal returns were accepted until 20/10/21. There was a comprehensive range of activity resulting in 80 individuals engaging in the consultation process and 3 organisational responses. 


8.2       Councillor Thornton-Nicol, seconded by Councillor H. Anderson, proposed as an amendment that recommendation (g) be reworded to read “a 5% increase in the taper rate for 2022/23 and a 5% annual increase until the taper rate reaches 90%”.  Councillor Thornton-Nicol spoke in support of her proposal.


8.3       Councillor Robson, seconded by Councillor Chapman, proposed a further amendment to reword recommendation (g) to read “a 5% increase in the taper rate for 2022/23” which would leave the taper rate at 75%.  Councillor Robson spoke in support of his amendment.


8.4       In light of this second amendment, Councillor Bell requested an adjournment to allow his group to consider their position.  The Convener agreed to this and adjourned the meeting for 15 minutes.  When the meeting recommenced Councillor Thornton-Nicol withdrew her amendment advising that the decision should be left until the next Council term.  Following that withdrawal Councillor Tatler, seconded by Councillor Haslam, moved that the 90% amendment be reinstated and recommendation (g) duly amended.




A vote was then taken on the Motion by Councillor Tatler and the amendment by Councillor Robson as follows:-


Motion             -           18 votes

Amendment     -           15 votes


The Motion was accordingly carried.



DECIDED to approve:-


(a)       the continuation of a co-production approach to the development of the new Charging policy to be used from the 1st April 2022;


(b)       an evaluation of impact on the introduction of a single financial assessment process in specific chargeable matters e.g. Housing Support;


(c)       an evaluation of options for introducing an equal charge, with appropriate individual Financial Assessment, across current and future Extra Care Housing developments;


(d)       the introduction of equal charging, with appropriate Individual Financial Impact assessment, across all current and future Sheltered Housing (housing support) developments;


(e)       the linking of the Direct Payment rate to the Scottish Living Wage; 


(f)        the linking of the Short Breaks Rate paid to unpaid carers to the Residential costs set by the Scottish Government;


(g)       a 5% increase in the taper rate for 2022/23 and a 5% annual increase until the taper rate reached 90%; and


(h)       the linking of meals at home charges to the national Excel contract.



Councillor Linehan did not re-join the meeting after the adjournment


Supporting documents:



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