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Most special needs adults will be spared cuts say Calderdale; Neighbour council will 'protect' as far as possible.

Byline: JOANNE DOUGLAS

CARE services for the majority of adults in need will be protected, a senior councillor says.

But it's Calderdale Council rather than Kirklees who say they will protect access to services for those in lower categories.

Currently in Calderdale every adult with disabilities or special needs who needs social care has the same right as part of their Fair Access to Care Services (FACS).

They are one of just two councils in the country to provide that right to those in the low, moderate, substantial and high category.

Like Kirklees Council, they are reviewing the service and are considering changing the access eligibility, meaning all except those within the lowest category will continue to receive the service.

But Kirklees Council is considering offering support only to those within the critical (high) band of need rather than those classed as substantial as they currently do.

The plans have attracted much criticism from people across Kirklees.

Families who have adults who use the services say they will be socially isolated if the cuts do come in.

Clr Bob Metcalfe, Cabinet member for adults, health and social care in Calderdale, said the authority needed to address rising demand for services for some of the borough's most vulnerable residents.

"For some time, Calderdale has been one of only two councils to offer care services to people assessed to be in the lowest category of need," Clr Metcalfe said.

"But if we are to ensure that the council can afford to make these services available to people in the future, then we have to look at the criteria under which people are entitled to receive them."

The Calderdale adult and social care budget already faces a shortfall of pounds 3million and they described the proposed changes as the "sensible option".

If it is backed, there would be a review in the autumn to see if it was working for users and budget-wise.

Clr Metcalfe added: "People with low needs will still be able to get the full range of information and advice services along with support such as care line, meals on wheels, and small items of equipment.

"But rest assured, the council will be doing all it can to ensure that as many people as possible are entitled to receive care services if they need them."

On Monday the Calderdale Cabinet will discuss proposed changes to the Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) eligibility criteria for health and social care.

If Cabinet agrees to the proposals, it is expected that the raising of FACS banding to moderate will be used for all new referrals from April, 2011, and for existing care users as their needs come up for review.

The Calderdale budget consultation ends on Monday, February 14. The Kirklees consultation ended on Wednesday and councillors are considering the results of a consultation which involved more than 10,000 people and organisations.

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NOT GOOD: How we told of Kirklees cuts ahead
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 29, 2011
Words:502
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