Consultation on the proposed Care Act Easement Procedure

Closed 25 May 2020

Opened 15 May 2020

Results Updated 17 Jun 2020

Response to consultation on CWC’s approach to Care Act easements

We recently asked you to tell us your views on our local procedure and approach to the Care Act easements should we ever need to consider using them at any point in the future. 

The consultation period ended on 25th May 2020. There were 28 responses which included advocacy organisations, local community groups, health partners, care providers, council employees as well as people with care and support needs and carers. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the online consultation.

All comments received have been carefully considered and we have set out our responses below and actions we will take as a result. However, there were some responses to the survey where we haven’t been able to establish reasons why people disagreed with the statements posed so for those questions we have not been able to provide any comment.

We asked you to tell us the extent to which you agreed with four statements having read our Care Act easement procedure.

1. We asked:

If you agreed with the approach CWC is taking.

You said:

Most of you agreed with our approach. Only one disagreed and two others didn’t know. One person felt that the council should be opposing the Care Act easements and the proposed changes and set an example to defend vulnerable people’s rights.

We will:

As the vast majority of you who took part in the consultation overwhelmingly agreed with the council’s approach to Care Act easements. We will now finalise this procedure and ensure this is adhered to.

We recognise however that not everyone will be in agreement with Care Act easements. Our procedure acknowledges that using easements would only be as a very last resort and only when the workforce is significantly depleted, or demand increased to an extent that it is no longer reasonably practicable to comply with Care Act duties and where to continue to try and do so is likely to result in urgent or acute needs not being met, potentially risking life. To not prepare for such eventualities could arguably leave people at significant risk, so we feel it is the right thing to plan to carefully use easements if we ever needed to do so. However, this would only be for a very time limited period and reviewed daily so that we could return to usual Care Act duties as quickly as possible.

 

2. We asked:

If you thought it was clear what should have been explored before there is any decision made to use Care Act easements.

You said:

All of you said you agreed or strongly agreed with this and some of you said that you thought the procedure was simple, straightforward and well thought through.

We will:

As everyone felt this part of the procedure was clear we don’t intend to make any changes to these sections of the document.

 

3.We asked:

If you thought that any decision to use Care Act easements will be considered very carefully.

You said:

Again, most of you agreed or strongly agreed with this. Two of you disagreed and one didn’t know.

We will:

Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear from the comments why people disagreed with this statement, so it has not been possible for us to respond to this directly.

 

4. We asked:

If you felt confident that all the relevant people will be involved in any decisions.

You said:

Most of you agreed with this statement. However, there were six of you who disagreed. You were unsure about how people would be engaged due to Covid-19 restrictions and felt it could be difficult to include everyone in decisions given the current situation. One of you felt that the Care Act generally has never been properly implemented due to lack of financial resources so believe that much of these easements are already standard ways of working across the country.

We will:

We recognise that these unprecedented times pose challenges in engaging with people who may not be able to easily access information and also because local support groups / networks may not be operating as usual. Our local Care Act easement procedure sets out how people, carers and stakeholders / partners will be communicated with at each stage and contact has already been made with many people and carers groups and our local advocacy provider as part of the consultation to make sure people are as engaged as they can be with local decision making.

We acknowledge engagement will be more limited than usual due to social distancing and infection control measures, but we feel confident that people will be informed about any decisions as far as is reasonably practicable. Social media platforms will be utilised to communicate any key decisions and any person who will be directly affected, such as the closure of their day service, will be contacted individually. We have created an easy read guide to ensure information about easements and any likely impact is accessible to people with disabilities. We will also explore digital solutions so information is as accessible as possible and now lockdown restrictions are easing we also hope to be able to speak to people soon in their gardens or local parks whilst adhering to social distancing at all times. We hope this provides some reassurance that the council will do everything possible to engage with people during these unprecedented times.

We would also like to provide some reassurance that Care Act easements are not currently being used by the City of Wolverhampton Council, but we are operating under the pre-Covid Care Act with some flexibilities and minor changes to the way we work.

Overview

The Coronavirus Bill which became law on 25th March 2020, contains measures (called Care Act easements) to help ensure the best possible care for people in our society during this exceptional period. It enables local authorities to streamline assessment arrangements and prioritise resources should they be unable to meet their statutory duties in full. This may be because demand spikes or staffing resources shrink significantly.  

The Care Act easements took legal effect on 31st March 2020 but should only be implemented by local authorities where essential to do so. Local authorities should comply with the pre-amendment Care Act provisions and related Care and Support statutory guidance for as long and as far as possible.  

If you want to read more about this process you can access the Care Act easement guidance by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-changes-to-the-care-act-2014/care-act-easements-guidance-for-local-authorities 

Why We Are Consulting

The City of Wolverhampton Council’s (CWC) approach is that Care Act easements should only be implemented as a last resort and only when all other options and alternatives, including utilising any other available resource, have been explored.

This questionnaire seeks to capture your views on our local procedure and approach to the Care Act easements should we ever need to consider using them at any point in the future.  The proposals are available here. To access the easy read version click here.

Please ensure that you have read the supporting consultation documents provided (click on the link above) before completing this questionnaire.

If you need this or other documents in a different format please email QATeam@wolverhampton.gov.uk

We have opened this up for a 10 day consultation period rather than a longer period because this is an extremely urgent matter as a result of the Covid-19 situation.

Once the consultation period has ended we will carefully take account of the comments received and all other relevant factors when making a decision on how the Care Act easements would be applied if we were ever in the position that they needed to be.

 

 

Data Protection: The information provided as part of this consultation will be collected and processed in accordance with UK data protection law. Where applicable the information entered will be forwarded to the relevant officers and councillors for action or for a reply to be given. Information contained within responses will inform reports to cabinet members and will be anonymised so that no individual can be identified. Information provided will not be used for any other purpose and will be stored securely in accordance with the Council Records Management Policy and Records Retention and Disposal schedule.

Should you at any point wish to withdraw your responses from the consultation, please contact the City of Wolverhampton Council at:.

QATeam@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Further details of how the Council collects and uses information can be found on the Council’s full privacy notice http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/privacy-policy

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Voluntary and third sector organisations
  • Community groups
  • Professionals and professional bodies
  • Parents, Carers and Guardians
  • Adults
  • Older people
  • People with disabilities
  • Service users (current or previous)
  • Councillors / MPs / MEPs

Interests

  • Healthy living
  • Community safety
  • Adult social care and safeguarding
  • Council plan