Day 9: Twelve Days of Christmas #LBBill

Day 9 of the #LBBill Twelve Days of Christmas and we’re back to the detail of the Bill’s first draft with Clause 6.

Clause 6 makes absolutely sure that disabled people are not simply left in living arrangements made by the state without anyone checking up on how the arrangements are working.

Arrangements must be working well for the disabled person and recent coverage has revealed instances of abuse and neglect, so Clause 6 attempts to protect against that.

This would be done by requiring the state body to report to the Secretary of State each year about what is happening in cases where arrangements have been made which take disabled people away from their homes.

This is explained further in today’s audio introduction film with easy-read images:

The Secretary of State would have to report to Parliament on what progress is being made to help disabled people stay in their communities, in particular how state bodies are being assisted to comply with the duty in Clause 3 of the Bill to increase the availability of community support.

It is also important that Clause 4(5) of the Bill requires a review of whether the living arrangements remain the ‘most appropriate’ available for the disabled person at least every 12 months. This supports Clause 6 by making sure that the state body has the necessary information to make this report.

Do you think Clause 6 will be effective? Is there anything else we could do to make sure people are not ‘out of sight and out of mind’?

We have transferred the email comments onto the feedback pages yesterday and have been blown away with the attention to detail and feedback on each clause. Please keep it up, we’ve only three clauses left now and really appreciate the input. Let us know what you think, on the feedback pages of the blog, on facebook, twitter, or by email. Thank you.

Day 7: Twelve Days of Christmas #LBBill

Day 7 of the #LBBill Twelve Days of Christmas sees us moving on to Clause 5.

Clause 5 is Mark Neary’s original idea, that state bodies should lose the right to make arrangements for where disabled people live away from their existing home without the new arrangements being approved. Approval would have to be obtained in all cases other than arrangements made under the Mental Health Act 1983 when a person is ‘sectioned’

The approval would come from a person with parental responsibility for a child under 16, from a young person or adult aged over 16 if they had the mental capacity to decide where they live for themselves, or from the Court of Protection for a young person or adult who lacked mental capacity to decide where they live. (The cut-off for parental approval is 16 because this is the age from which most of the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 apply, including the presumption of capacity and the supervision of the Court of Protection for those who can’t make their own decisions).

To make approval meaningful, the disabled person and family members would have to be given specified information about why proposed arrangements are the ‘most appropriate’ available and what other options have been considered. This will help disabled people and family members challenge proposed arrangements which do not meet the tests set out in Clause 4.

There’s an audio introduction to Clause 5 with easy-read images here:

At the moment we do not actually say in Clause 5 that if the necessary approval is not given then the proposed living arrangements cannot be made and the state body will need to support the disabled person in their own home.

We have had some feedback that we should spell this out. Do you agree?

Are there any other changes you would make to Clause 5?

Let us know what you think, on the feedback pages of the blog, on facebook, twitter, or by email. Thank you.

Day 6: Twelve Days of Christmas #LBBill

Day 6 of the #LBBill Twelve Days of Christmas and it’s time for Clause 4.

Clause 4 would make sure that any time the state takes responsibility for where a disabled person is to live, the arrangements made would have to be the ‘most appropriate’ for them. The starting point should be what the disabled person themselves wants. Other factors to take into account include continued community ties, links to family and friends and opportunities to have positive activities like employment or education. This clause also discusses the issue of costs. We consider that we have three options:

Option 1) Say cost is irrelevant in deciding what is most appropriate.

Option 2) Say nothing about cost.

Option 3) Say the costs of different potential living arrangements are a ‘relevant consideration’.

Option 1 doesn’t seem realistic. Option 2 seems unhelpful and vague. We think Option 3 is best because it means that cost is relevant, but not necessarily the deciding factor.

For example, if there are two living arrangements to choose between, the first is what the disabled person wants and allows strong links to friends and family, but the second is a little cheaper; the first would be ‘most appropriate’ and must be arranged.

However, if the first option is only a little better and costs twice as much, then the second will probably be ‘most appropriate’. If agreement can’t be reached, the disabled person or family would need to request a judicial review.

We have an audio introduction to the clause with easy-read images available here:

We are keen to hear whether people think that there is a better way with dealing with costs. Would what we propose work?

What factors should be taken into account when deciding what is most appropriate?

We think there needs to be a clear right to genuinely independent advocacy in this decision making process. We do not think the new right to advocacy under the Care Act 2014 is enough. Do you agree or disagree?

Let us know what you think, on the feedback pages of the blog, on facebook, twitter, or by email. Thank you.

Day 3: Twelve Days of Christmas #LBBill

Day 3 of the #LBBill Twelve Days of Christmas and we’d like to start with a huge thank you to those of you who have joined the discussion. We’ve seen some edits on the feedback pages here (go ahead, all welcome, add your own comment at the bottom of the document rather than editing other people’s if you prefer). There has also been ongoing discussion on facebook, twitter, the blogposts here and by email. So thank you all.

Please note if you send us other people’s details or contact information we won’t make the blog comments public (but they are all read… thanks Don). Please take the time to explain why your thoughts relate to the Bill or the relevant Clause clearly, what is obvious to you may not be to any other reader. Please also reply on specific clause pages where possible.

Today we move onto Clause 2. We have an audio introduction to the clause with easy-read images:

Clause 2 deals with a very specific problem. We know of cases where a Local Authority or NHS body is refusing to provide a disabled person with the care they need at home on the basis that they could provide the same care more cheaply in a residential setting. We think this is wrong, and we also think the Department for Health would agree with us.

However, not every Local Authority or NHS body seems to accept this, so we think we need the law to spell it out. Clause 2 would prevent the cost of residential care being taken into account at all when deciding what level of care to provide for someone at home. It seems to us this is obviously a good idea. Do you agree? Have we missed something?