Disability Action Wyre Forest would like to draw your attention to a consultation that we feel may have been overlooked in the last few weeks. Worcestershire County Council are currently asking for members of the public and concerned individuals and organisations to respond to a consultation which closes on 1 September 2012. This consultation relates to a proposal to introduce a Maximum Expenditure Policy to cap expenditure for those in receipt of adult social care services.
Disability Action Wyre Forest  have major reservations about this proposal, which we fear will mean a return to a 1950s style approach to support for sick and disabled people. The policy could lead to many disabled people being forced into institutions, not because they want to be removed from their community, family, children and friends, but because the funding available for their care is capped and they cannot reduce their care needs or provide the extra funding themselves. Decisions to institutionalise someone should not be based on cost but on need.
Issues with the Maximum Expenditure Policy Options
Paying for the shortfall privately; Paying for the shortfall privately is only available to the very wealthy, or is at best a stop gap measure until funds run out.
Accessing community voluntary organisations and faith groups: Reliance on informal or charitable sources of support may not always be possible, and the quality, safety and sustainability of such support may not be guaranteed. Asking disabled people to rely on community faith groups may pressure them into joining a particular faith, since some local groups only help residents of their faith community. 
Changing the type or volume of care provided: Changing the amount or type of care provided will leave many disabled people with inadequate support which will be detrimental to their health and quality of life. The policy raises serious safeguarding concerns.
The only other option is for the disabled person to move into residential care.
The report calls into question Worcestershire Council’s commitment to upholding the human rights of its local disabled community.
There is no acknowledgment of the equalities and human rights issues raised by the proposal, nor how WCC intends to navigate these issues.
Local authorities have positive obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 to ensure that service users’ dignity and wellbeing is not compromised in violation of their human rights. As most disabled people have a strong wish to stay in the community, these rights may be compromised under this proposal. The result may be that service users agree to drop vital elements of their care package in order to keep costs below the level of the cap. Furthermore, the knock-on costs to health and social care services of unmet need may also make the policy financially unviable in the longer term; there has been no impact assessment for this.
By increasing coerced entry into residential homes the policy will significantly interfere with social care users’ Article 8 rights to respect for private and family life, under the European Convention for Human Rights There could be further serious legal ramifications surrounding Deprivation of Liberty for disabled people lacking the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
While we recognise the economic challenges the country is facing, this policy is a return to a life disabled people have campaigned against for a generation. At a stroke it will slash the quality and safety of care for many disabled people, while isolating others indefinitely in institutions, unseen and forgotten, rather than embraced by the communities in which they have fought so long to be included. I implore you to recognise the catastrophic result this policy would have and to support Disability Action Wyre Forest with Worcestershire Coalition of Independent Living to have these proposals rejected.