Chapter 9 Carer and Cared-for Person(s) in Different Local Authority Areas
This chapter sets out issues about local authority responsibility for carrying out the Carer's Support Plan, providing support to carers and covering the cost of the support where the carer and cared-for person(s) live in different local authority areas. Its purpose is to seek views on the way forward.
The issues raised are unlikely to apply, at least to the same extent, where young carers are in a caring role.
1) There is an issue about caring at a distance. Presently, under section 12AA(1) of the 1968 Act, an assessment is triggered by the carer asking a local authority to conduct it. A carer living in area 'A' but caring for someone in area 'B' might therefore choose to make that request to either area 'A' or area 'B.' However, section 12AA(2)(a) says that a local authority is obliged to carry out the assessment if it appears to them that the person cared for is a person for whom they must or may provide community care services. So if the carer made his or her request for an assessment to area 'A,' that authority would not be under any obligation to carry out the assessment because it has no power or duty to provide community care services to the cared-for person in question. In such circumstances we would envisage that area 'A' would signpost the carer to area 'B', and it may also assist area 'B' by carrying out the assessment on its behalf.
2) The practice on the ground varies. Presently, where carers are caring at a distance there can be some differences in practice (perhaps even between practitioners in any given authority) about which authority takes the lead in carrying out the carer's assessment. In practice, it might be more convenient for the carer to have the assessment in the area in which he or she lives.
3) There is also the question of which local authority would provide support to the carer where the carer lives in a different local authority area from the cared-for person. This does not appear to be a significant issue now since most authorities do not provide direct support to carers. However, where direct support is provided now, the current practice is likely to vary across the country.
4) The question about which authority should take the lead for undertaking the Carer's Support Plan and providing support is likely to become more of an issue in the future. Due to family migration patterns there are likely to be more carers living apart from cared-for persons in different parts of the country. Moreover, there is also likely to be an increase in the number of the Carer's Support Plans undertaken and more support provided directly to carers. There is also the issue of which authority will cover the costs of support provided directly to carers.
5) It is very likely that we will need certainty about which local authority is responsible for the Carer's Support Plan and the provision of support under carers' legislation. This is because, subject to the outcome of consultation, we plan to place a duty on local authorities to offer a Carer's Support Plan. It therefore seems necessary to have clarity about which local authority such a duty would fall on in any particular case.
6) Likewise, if we move from a power to support carers to a duty, then we might need to be clear about which authority that duty falls on. There will then be questions about which local authority bears the financial costs of the support, which does not necessarily need to be the same as the authority which decides to provide it.
7) We might expect that for practical reasons and for convenience that the Carer's Support Plan should be undertaken in the area in which the carer lives. In most cases, we might also expect that support such as advocacy, carer training or emotional support will be provided in the local authority area in which the carer lives. For the purposes of the Carer's Support Plan and for support, we might also expect that the lead local authority would collaborate with the other authority before finalising the Carer's Support Plan and the agreed support. This will be primarily due to the fact that any support to the cared-for person, which in turn supports the carer, will be provided by the local authority area in which the cared-for person lives.
8) There is also the issue of which authority covers the cost of undertaking the Carer's Support Plan and providing support. There is an argument that where the authority in which the carer lives carries out the Carer's Support Plan and provides support, then the local authority area in which the cared-for person lives should reimburse the costs to the carer's local authority. This would apply too to the cost of a short break (where any costs are waived) as for any other type of support to the carer.
9) Section 86 of the 1968 Act allows area 'A' to recover expenditure from area 'B' if the person to whom they have provided listed forms of support is present in area 'A', but actually ordinarily resident in area 'B.' Section 86 does not currently make any provision in relation to expenditure in respect of carers (whether direct expenditure in respect of services or direct payments to carers).
10) Where the carer cares for more than one person who each live in different local authority areas, then again, we might expect, for practical reasons, for the Carer's Support Plan to be undertaken in the area in which the carer lives. Likewise, any support to the carer is likely to be agreed by the carer's local authority. It would however be difficult to split the cost of support amongst more than two authorities.
11) Since we are in new territory here, we would like to take views before reaching decisions on the way forward with regard to any legislative provisions or guidance.
12) There are also similar issues when the carer or cared-for person lives in Scotland and the other family member lives in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland. We will explore these issues further.
What Do We Want To Know From You?
Question 23: What are the views of respondents on which local authority should take the lead in undertaking the Carer's Support Plan, and agreeing support to the carer where the carer lives in a different local authority area to the cared-for person(s)?
Question 24: What are the views of respondents on which local authority should cover the costs of support to the carer in these circumstances?
Question 25: Should the Scottish Government with COSLA produce guidance for local authorities?
Email: Alun Ellis