To consider the report of the Corporate
Director Social Services.
Consideration was given to report of the Corporate Director of Social Services.
At the invitation of the Leader, the Corporate Director of Social Services presented the report which provided an analysis of current demand, and outlined recommendations for future potential charges for citizens accessing transport based on comparable public transport costs. The report followed the introduction of the Assisted Transport Policy from April 2019, with the undertaking of eligibility assessments for new and existing citizens. It was agreed that following completion of these assessments, feedback would be provided to the Executive.
In terms of the background, he reported that in January 2019 Social Services transported 190 citizens ‘to and from’ community options venues, on average 120 citizens a day. Historically, assisted transport was provided to citizens attending community options without any formal assessment of need to use such transport, i.e. there has been automatic entitlement regardless of an individual’s situation.
The Corporate Director said one of the key aims of the Directorate was to maximise citizens’ independence and minimise dependency to enable individuals to live and travel independently within their communities. Social Services does not have a statutory duty to provide transport, but does have a duty to meet that need if the need cannot be met by an individual’s own resources or community resource. Further, in line with the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 we adopted the principle of undertaking a strength based assessment which considered the resources of citizens, including access to their own mobility vehicle, bus pass or benefit entitlement.
The Corporate Director referred to sections 2.4 and 2.5 of the report which stated that in April 2019 demand had reduced, and the Department were able to relinquish 1 vehicle, making the current budget allocation for community options transport £321k.
He said Members will also note that 149 assessments have been undertaken by Social Workers to determine eligibility, and the details of these were outlined in section 7 of the report. However, since the preparation of the report the figures have changed, and there were now 101 individuals accessing community options independently. 24 individuals have been deemed eligible and would have free transport; and 14 originally were deemed as exceptional circumstances, but this had unfortunately recently reduced to 11 due to three people passing away, and it was these 11 individuals we are asking to charge for the use of community options transport.
The Corporate Director referred Members to section 4.3 of the report which captured some of the views of citizens currently accessing the service independently. He confirmed that in order to accommodate this and support parents the opening hours have been extended either side of the day, to make the service more flexible.
He then referred to the options outlined in the report, and recommended Option 1. This was in line with the Council’s Income Policy 2014 which recommended full cost recovery where appropriate. He said Option 2 sought to charge a cost equivalent to public transport costs for accessing the ... view the full minutes text for item 10