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Department for Work and Pensions [October 2012] The future of the independent living fund. Our response.

The Future of the Independent Living Fund (ILF)

18 December 2012

The Government has responded to this consultation and now confirms that the ILF will close in 2015, with funding devolved to local government in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales. Existing ILF care packages will not be protected

“We understand concerns about the potential impact on care packages. However, ILF users have a diverse range of needs and the funding balance between ILF funding and LA funding varies significantly. This would make it difficult to justify a guarantee that care packages could be protected into the future. We believe that individual local authorities are best placed to ensure these needs are met in a consistent way alongside the needs of the other disabled people. Government policy on ringfencing is clear. Local authorities need to be allowed to meet their statutory responsibilities in a flexible way; the ringfencing of funding prevents this and creates an unnecessary administrative burden. In their responses to the consultation, most local authorities said they would be strongly opposed to the imposition of a ringfence around this funding.”

From April 2015, the Government will introduce a national minimum eligibility threshold that aimed at ensuring consistency in access to services across local authorities in England. The eligibility criteria will set a national minimum threshold which local authorities will not be able to tighten but they will be free to set at a more generous level if they so chose.

Funding will be allocated to local authorities in proportion to take up of ILF within local authorities.

What next?

  • Early 2013 - The ILF will publish a transition plan which will centre on the role that a transfer review programme will play over the next two years.
  • From Spring 2013 - The normal reviews of ILF care packages will instead become a transfer review process.
  • Over the next two years -  The Government, ILF and the social care sector in England will co-produce and publish a Code of Practice to guide local authorities on how ILF users can be supported through the transition. The ILF will also work with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments as well as representatives of the care and support system in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to develop and communicate guidance where applicable.

Eligibility for the period up to April 2015 will be on the basis of ILF criteria and charging regimes and the ILF will continue to fund assessed care needs up to then.

Background

This consultation, published July 2012, document sought views on the impact that devolving funding to local authorities and Devolved Administrations and closing the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in 2015, would have on users, local authorities and the wider care and support systems across the UK.

The consultation also asked for views on how the closure could be managed in a way which would minimise disruption to the care and support needs of existing ILF users.

In 2010 the Government concluded administering ILF outside the mainstream care and support system was no longer appropriate or sustainable. The fund was permanently closed to new users and funding for existing users was to be maintained until the end of this parliament in 2015.

The Government’s preferred option for the future support of existing ILF users is that the ILF is closed in 2015, and that ILF funding is devolved to local government in England and to the devolved administrations.

This consultation considered how the 19,373 existing users would be supported beyond 2015. The closing date for responses was 12 October 2012.

Disability Rights UK response

You can view our response to the consultation below. Disability Rights UK has also issued a statement following the Government's response.

More information