Save the Independent Living Fund – deadline 10th October 2012

Received from Inclusion London

Inclusion London Future of ILF Info Paper (Final 2)   word doc

Save the ILF – respond to government’s ILF consultation and encourage your ILF users to respond too!
 
Save the Independent Living Fund (ILF) and with it the quality of life, dignity and independence of disabled people with the highest support needs  
 
Deadline for responses to the consultation: 10 October 2012
 
There are just 5 consultations questions, which we have set out below as provided in the consultation document.
 
Inclusion London have also set out the key messages, below, which we think the government must hear. To make responding easier we have given a ‘suggested response’ to each question, which you can adapt to suit your own opinions and circumstances.  We have also provided an paper to give background information on the ILF, government proposals and the content of consultation document, which is attached. 
 
It is also important respond to DRUK’s survey, please go to:  www.surveymonkey.com/s/independentlivingfund.
More information about the survey is available at: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/ilfsurvey.htm
 
Responding to the government consultation
You can respond online at: https://interactive.dwp.gov.uk/?page_id=3737  or by email at:  ilf.consultation@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
or by post at:
ILF Consultation Team Ground Floor Caxton House Tothill Street London SW1H 9NA
The consultation documents are available at:  http://www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2012/future-of-ilf.shtml
Your response needs to reach the ILF consultation team by 10 October 2012. 
 
The key messages are:
·         I disagree with how the consultation has been conducted.
·         Funding of the ILF should be discussed in the wider context of funding for care and support as whole.
·        Save the ILF because it works! For instance the ILF:
ü enables disabled people with the highest support needs to have real choice and control over their lives and in doing so contribute to, and take part in, society
ü is key to disabled people maintaining independence, social networks, health and well-being avoiding more expensive interventions at a later stage.
ü creates jobs – many personal assistance jobs are created by the ILF
The ILF also provides:
ü a needs- led (rather than budget led) independent approach to support
ü an in-depth expertise on independent living issues
ü portability of support packages without reassessment, so I can move to another area taking my care package with me, if I wish to.
ü minimum overheads and bureaucracy, so the ILF is easy to contact and less expensive to run compared to Local Authorities (ILF’s overheads are approximately 4% compared to 16% for L.A. social care services).
ü a national eligibility criterion
Potential impact of the transfer of ILF functions to Local Authorities
Without additional or replacement ring fenced funding to maintain ILF support packages the impact on mainstream LA social care funding will mean:
o   L.As will have little choice but to limit my social care support, denying me the ability to maintain a decent, healthy and active life.
o   My support package is likely to be dramatically cut on transfer to the L.A. as a result I will go without basic support, far less choice and control than I currently experience.
o   It will also mean that I will then be faced with two alternatives; staying at home without adequate support, which will put my health and wellbeing at risk, or I will be forced to move into residential care, as a result I will lose my independence, autonomy and inclusion in the community and put me at risk of abuse that has already been experienced by disabled people.
 
Below are the 5 consultation questions, with the introduction given in the consultation document, followed by Inclusion London’s suggested response, please adapt the response to your own circumstances, as it is much more likely to influence government if you include your own experience:

5 Consultation questions

1.           If the ILF is closed in 2015, Local Authorities will continue to have a duty to assess the care and support needs of those disabled 16,309 Group 2 users who are already jointly funded by local authorities and the 1,737 Group 1 users who receive some local authority care and support; and will be required to assess the needs of those ILF users who do not currently have a relationship with their local authority.
Question 1
Do you agree with the Government’s proposal that the care and support needs of current ILF users should be met within the mainstream care and support system, with funding devolved to local government in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales?[1] This would mean the closure of the ILF in 2015.
v Suggested response
 
The consultation process:
I am concerned that the government has only put forward one option in this consultation i.e. to close the ILF and pass ILF responsibilities to Local Authorities:
·        I do not understand why the government is suggesting this. Also there is not enough details for me to comment on the proposals, other than highlight the concerns raised below.
·        If the government is able to explain clearly why they are intending to pass responsibilities for the ILF to local authorities I would be happy to comment, if I had more time to do so.
·        No other options have been proposed and the consultation has not asked respondees for other options.
·        Only small numbers of ILF users were able to attend the consultation events. This is not an open or thorough consultation.
I completely disagree with the way the consultation has been conducted.
No Impact Equality Assessment:
It is appalling that the government did not do an equality impact assessment on the closure of the ILF before this consultation. Many of the difficulties with the government’s proposal to pass responsibilities to Local Authorities would have been highlighted at an earlier stage, if an impact assessment had been carried out and government proposals amended in response.
Future of ILF
I am totally against the closure of the ILF and I believe that the ILF should be saved because it works! For instance the ILF:
ü Gives me real choice and control over my life and enables me contribute to, and take part in, society.
ü It is key to my independence, social networks, health and well-being, avoiding more expensive treatment or care at a later stage.
ü The ILF creates jobs – many personal assistance jobs are created by the ILF
The ILF also provides:
ü a needs- led (rather than budget led) independent approach to support
ü an in-depth expertise on independent living issues
ü portability of support packages without reassessment, so I can move to another area taking my care package with me, if I wish to.
ü minimum overheads and bureaucracy; I find the ILF is easy to contact, also it is less expensive to run compared to Local Authorities, (ILF’s overheads are approximately 4% compared to 16% for Local Authorities (L.As) social care services).
ü a national eligibility criterion
I believe the ILF should not be abolished but that it should remain and its role developed further.
Question 2
What are the key challenges that ILF users would face in moving from joint ILF/Local Authority to sole Local Authority funding of their care and support needs? How can any impacts be mitigated?
v Suggested response:
My independence, choice and control will be threatened if funding is solely provided by my Local Authority.
My Local Authority’s (LA’s) budget is over stretched, in response it has already cut disabled people’s care in my area to a bare minimum. It is likely that my ILF funding will be cut in a similar way when responsibilities are transferred to Local Authorities.
Without additional ringfenced funding for LA’s to maintain ILF users support packages I fear that my support will be severely reduced. I will then be faced with two alternatives; staying at home without adequate support, putting my health and wellbeing at risk, or I will be forced to move into residential care, which will stop me from being involved in my local community and could put me at risk of abuse, that has already been experienced by disabled people.
Question 3
What impact would the closure of the ILF have on Local Authorities and the provision of care and support services more widely? How could any impacts be mitigated?
v Suggested response:
I am concerned that the government is seeking to decide the future of the ILF before a decision on how social care and support will be funded in the future  has been taken. The future of ILF should be included in this overarching decision.
I believe that funding for care and support should be provided out of general taxation, the same as funding for the NHS is.
I do not believe that Local Authorities will have the capability or capacity  to take on the responsibilities of the ILF, for instance:
Capability:
·        Many social services staff due not have the necessary knowledge of disabled people with high support needs to provide an ILF ‘needs-led’ type of assessment and review.
·        Assessments and reviews should be needs led rather than budget led. However, I do not think this will be possible due to the pressure of austerity cuts on LA budgets, unless additional, ring fenced funding for ILF users is put in place.
Capacity:
·        Local Authority’s will have little choice but to raise FACS eligibility criteria to critical needs only, thereby denying the vast majority of disabled people the support they need to maintain decent, healthy and active lives
·        Local Authority staff are being cut due to austerity cuts, there is unlikely to be enough staff to take on the additional ILF responsibilities.
·        My local Deaf and disabled people’s organisation is currently struggling to withstand funding cuts and may not be available to provide the necessary support and advocacy with assessments and reviews.
2.           We know that the closure of the ILF would be more difficult for those Group 1 users who are not currently receiving any Local Authority funding, and who in some cases have little experience of the mainstream care and support system. It is important that those users engage with the local authority care and support services for which they are eligible.
Question 4
What are the specific challenges in relation to Group 1 users? How can the Government ensure this group are able to access the full range of Local Authority care and support services for which they are eligible?
v Suggested response:
The Government must ensure that the same level of funding as provided by the ILF continues for Group 1 users, as well as all other ILF users.  The Government should ensure this funding is ringfenced. Without this commitment to provide the same level of ringfenced funding Group 1’s, as well as all other ILF user’s, independence, choice and control will be threatened, with Group 1’s independence the most severely jeopardised.
The Government must ensure that a needs led, not budget led assessment and review is put in place, as mentioned above.
3.           The Government remains committed to funding current ILF care packages until 2015. But we know that it will take some time to manage the move to sole local authority funding. It would be necessary to start such a process well in advance of 2015. This consultation is only the start of a process of working with users, Local Authorities and the Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Question 5
How can DWP, the ILF and Local Authorities best continue to work with ILF users between now and 2015? How can the ILF best work with individual Local Authorities if the decision to close the ILF is taken?
v Suggested response:
·        ILF users andDeaf and disabled people’s user led organisations should be well represented on any working party/committee, which produces proposals put forward by the government on the back of the consultation.
·        Government must be transparent about the responses to this consultation and indicate the numbers of those that were for and against the proposal to pass responsibilities to the Local Authorities.
·        Government must carry out a full Equality Impact Assessment (EIA). The content of the EIA should be guided by ILF users and Deaf and disabled people’s user led organisations.
Many thanks for your time to help Save the ILF.
Best wishes,
Libby Oakley                                                         
Office Manager
Inclusion London
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One Response to “Save the Independent Living Fund – deadline 10th October 2012”

  1. leonc1963 Says:

    Reblogged this on Diary of an SAH Stroke Survivor.

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