The Audit Commission has said that Councils could make substantial savings, as much as £312m a year, if they carried out community care assessments more cheaply.
In 2010/11 councils in England carried out about 1.8m assessments of people’s needs at a cost of £2.2bn: 12% of gross spending on adult social care.
The cost of assessing elderly and disabled people varies considerably. Some Councils spent half the amount that others did, highlighting the fact that Councils could make significant savings in the cost of assessments.
However, Councils should be careful how they do this, as they still have statutory duties to carry out community assessments properly and lawfully and if they don’t it could leave them open to a challenge by way of Judicial Review.
The community assessment has become such an important part of the care process that families requiring support are consulting us more often about the prospects of review or re-assessment. Depending on the extent of the person’s care needs, councils need to make sure that they gather all relevant information, input from carers and other health and housing professionals and consider factors such as a person’s emotional, cultural and psychological needs and preferences.