CHESHIRE WEST AND CHESTER COUNCIL (CWaC) is planning to charge people struggling with their finances who want to use its money management service.

The proposed change would see people who have in excess of £1,000 capital and don't have anyone to help them with their finances now have to pay up to £9 per week to access the council service, when previously it was free.

It is part of a range of proposed changes to the way CWaC charges for certain non-residential adult social care services.

People in the borough are now being asked to have their say on the proposed changes in the consultation, which runs until Sunday, October 18.

Among the other changes planned are the scrapping of free temporary support packages up to six weeks, and free council-provided transport for adults, who would otherwise have no means of suitable transport, to travel within the borough.

It is also proposed to charge service users where care provision is arranged but cancelled or prematurely ended without sufficient prior notice.

Service users will be financially assessed to determine the charges.

However, the council is also aiming to make things fairer and potentially cheaper for those on Shared Lives schemes.

The Shared Lives scheme support adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems or other needs that make it difficult for them to live on their own. The schemes match people who need care with an approved carer who can offer a placement in their home.

Currently those who live permanently in a Shared Lives placement are financially assessed to calculate how much they need to pay towards the cost of their placement, but as some service users are on tenancy agreements with the carer, that has led to charges varying significantly.

CWaC is aiming to ensure a fairer system where it will end up paying more but there will be greater transparency for the service user and the carers will have more flexibility in their budget.

CWaC is keen to hear views from everyone, in particular, those people who currently receive adult social care and support services.

Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, Councillor Val Armstrong said: “We want our residents to be able to access and pay for support services they need in as simple, fair and understandable a way as possible.

“Our new policy will be consistent, fair and transparent, charging people who receive care and support following an assessment of their individual needs and circumstances, and we want local people to help shape it.

“The proposed changes are designed to make the policy fairer and easier to understand.

"Some of the changes will mean an increase in the amount some service users will be required to contribute towards the cost of their care, whilst others may see a reduction in what they pay.

"I would like to reassure residents that they will continue to only pay an amount which covers the council’s costs of providing a service.

“The deadline for responses is Sunday, October 18, so please take the time to make sure your views are heard by taking part in the consultation.”

The Care Act 2014 is the national legislation which sets out how councils charge adults for the care and support they receive to meet their needs.

These are sometimes referred to as ‘identified or assessed needs’. The Act sets out the charging principles that councils have to follow including making sure that people will not be charged more than the amount the service has cost the council.

To have your say, visit, email or write to Charging Policy Consultation, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Council Offices, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE.

Paper copies will be sent to everyone who may be affected by the proposals, but people can request one by telephoning 0300 123 8 123.