The letter

So, we get back from a nice weekend away, with the sun still shining, and there’s a letter from LB’s Transition Care Manager (ASW).

I am writing to confirm that we have been successful at panel and that your indicative budget is xxx per week or xxxx for a full year. I understand you wish to receive the budget as a direct payment and manage the account yourself. I enclose a support plan that needs to be completed before any money is released. I’m happy to start the support plan for you as a draft and then we can arrange to meet to discuss any questions you may have.

Well, I have quite a few questions.

Kicking off with who is the we? Given ASW has never met LB*, I’m not sure who it refers to?  I’ve met ASW for about 20 minutes in total and she ain’t ever met LB, so seems a bit too familiar for my liking.

And why were we successful?  Was there ever a question mark over the need for an adult care package? I find it pretty offensive really, suggesting we somehow won something. Or is this a (waste) product of current government welfare reform. WE have been successful in the wider context of cuts. Great.

What is an indicative budget? If these terms are going to be used, they should have some sort of explanation or it is meaningless (and frustrating).

Is this budget for just the period while LB is still in full time education or indefinitely? If the latter, does that mean that LB will have his case closed once this care package (xxx a week) is in place?

And if yes, how the fuck are we supposed to manage our lives, with full time jobs, around the equivalent of 10 hours a care week?

That’s it really. I’m not going to bother repeating the way in which careless, jargon filled communications like this are experienced.

Transition really is shit.

*I know.

6 thoughts on “The letter

  1. Hi Sara!
    They really are outdoing themselves with these letters! *facepalm* Even I had to read it a few times to grasp what she meant!
    First of all, about the “we’ve been successful” bit. When the Social Worker met with you I’m guessing you discussed what level of support it required. It’s usually measured in the number of hours of care you’ll need and they do this by asking exactly what things you need help with, how long each thing takes and then working out the total. However, the fact that you’ve stated that you need “X” hours

    • (oops, hit send!) does not mean that you will automatically be given that amount. The Social Worker has to go to a panel who review the details and decide how much of that care they are willing to pay for. Being “successful” usually means that you’ve got exactly what you asked for. So in a way, you kind of did “win”, awful as that is!
      The “indicative” part means that as of yet, they’re not entirely sure whether this will be enough to pay for the care LB needs. I mentioned before that after a few weeks they’ll ask how things are going. At this point, you can ask for more hours if needed. It goes back to the panel again and they then decide whether or not to give you the extra you need. Once you’ve been through this process and are happy with the level of support, it should stay in place indefinitely. Once LB leaves school or any other big life change, you will then have to reapply for a review of his care needs by contacting the Learning Disability Team as I mentioned before.

      If you’re not happy with the 10 hours that have been agreed (which lets face it, is a very low amount!!), you need to contact ASW, state that you do not agree with the level of support, state your reasons and ask for them to assess you again taking into account your working hours.

      You could have a battle on your hands, I will warn you as they will always offer the bare minimum that •they• feel is needed. The people making the decisions know little about you other than what you tell ASW so you need to give them as much information as possible about •exactly• how much help you need and why.

      I hope that’s cleared things up a bit for you babe. As always, if there’s anything I’ve missed or that you don’t “get” then give me a shout! I’ll always be around to translate and help! *big hugs* don’t let the bastards grind you down babe!

      Love and hugs,
      K xxxxx

  2. Hi Sara,
    Could be wrong, but I think that in this case indicative means the ammount of support ASW thinks you need (as Kimberly said).

    In real terms it means “Let’s see what we can get away with, fingers crossed there won’t be any questions asked”. There are a lot of people with learning disabilities out there who have no back up, no-one to question decisions made for them when it comes to funding their support.

    Unfortunately, in my experience, he who shouts loudest gets.

    I hope you manage to get this sorted

    Carl

  3. Thanks both of you – all clear in my head now :) Kimberley, I think you need to shadow every parent going through transition to explain it all so clearly! Carl, that doesn’t surprise me about shouting loudest. Awful.

  4. Hi Sara, this is awful communication! Sorry to load you with bumph, but this *legally binding* guidance might help explain what you and LB should expect from adult social care:
    http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/@ps/documents/digitalasset/dh_113155.pdf

    A couple of things it might be useful to bear in mind:
    – somebody, somewhere, should have conducted a full community care assessment of LB, and have set out what his ‘eligible needs’ are. You should be able to ask for a copy of this. Page 21of the bumph defines eligible needs, in all likelihood your local authority will only meet substantial needs or critical. The key thing to remember is that eligible needs MUST be met, regardless of ‘indicative amounts’, resources, etc etc. I you think any of these risks apply to LB even with the new support package of 10 hours a week, then his eligible needs may not be being met and you can challenge it and ask for more.

    The other thing is that you should have had a carers’ assessment. This may influence how the indicative amount is calculated. If they assume that you are willing and able to provide loads of care, then LB will probably get a smaller ‘indicative amount’. You could ask to see a copy of the questions they used to calculate how much support you are able to provide, which will probably be in a document call the ‘needs questionnaire’.

    ugh, it’s all so horribly bureaucratic, if you have any specific questions that I can help you with, feel free to drop me a line. Also, I’ve got a carers’ guide to community care law that use for teaching that I can email you a copy of if you want.

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