Reviews are set to start for 800 people in Liverpool who get council transport to social care services.
At the moment, social care assessments assume that everybody who travels to support services, eg: a day centre, needs transport to get there. This is regardless of whether or not they are able to use public transport or have access to a mobility vehicle.
Under the new proposals, transport will only be provided where an individual is deemed eligible following an assessment, and after public transport, concessionary passes, motability vehicle and Disability Living Allowance mobility component (DLA) have been considered and deemed inappropriate. Where it is identified that direct transport is the only safe method, it will continue to be provided, subject to an annual review.
It will bring the city council into line with many other neighbouring and comparable local authorities who have done, or are doing, the same thing.
Following consultation, an appeals process has been introduced to the policy to make sure people who receive the DLA mobility component do not have the whole allowance used up by travelling to day centres which could affect other aspects of their social life.
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for adult social care, Councillor Roz Gladden, said: “This is about making sure that we consider everyone’s individual circumstances rather than simply imposing a universal service on them.
“We have a situation at the moment where we simply treat everyone the same. In some cases we are providing transport for them to get to social care services when for the rest of the week they are using mobility vehicles or public transport.
“We fully appreciate that any suggestion of a change to the current system will inevitably cause some concern among some services users and their carers, but they should rest assured that we will not be withdrawing the service unless they are able to use an alternative form of transport.
“We know that service users can benefit massively by making their own way to and from services as it gives them a huge sense of independence.
“This is about making sure that we target resources at those people who actually need it.”
All of the existing 800 services users will be reviewed over the next four months, but no transport service will be removed without a social worker fully reviewing their individual circumstances. Full support and training will be given to people where necessary.
Letters have been issued to the people affected to inform them that the reviews are set to start in November.