|Hertfordshire County Council has been working in the last few months to plan its budget for 2018/19 and beyond. As with many councils that provide social care, the financial outlook is challenging. As the petition indicates, Government is producing a Green Paper, and the council is seeking to influence proposals aimed at a sustainable financial settlement for the sector. During 2017 officers reviewed the council’s charging arrangements for community-based adult social care services, as a result of which Cabinet agreed changes in five areas at its meeting on 22 January 2018. Cabinet’s decision followed a three-month public consultation exercise which closed on 31 December 2017. One of the five agreed amendments was the requirement to include the higher rate of AA or DLA when calculating how much someone can afford to pay towards the cost of their care and support, where an individual has night time care and support needs which are being met by the council. In discussing this proposal the report noted that suggested amendments to AA and DLA had seen the most disagreement in public consultation. Mindful of this, when Cabinet considered the council’s Integrated Plan on 19 February, it made a recommendation that the Adult Care Services budget be increased by £310k. This is a sum equivalent to the amount estimated to be generated by the proposal to include higher rates of AA and DLA in financial assessments for people with night time care and support needs that are being met by the council. Please take a look at the meeting details. Members at the meeting of Full Council debated the petition at their meeting of 20 February 2018 and agreed the IP proposals, including the recommendation to increase the Adult Care Services budget by £310k. Cabinet agreed in March to remove the requirement to include higher rates of AA and DLA when assessing the financial contribution that people with night time care and support needs can afford to pay: See more details here. The other amendments to the charging policy will be implemented as agreed in the Cabinet decision of 22 January 2018. It is worth noting that the Government sets a minimum income guarantee to provide a safeguard within the system for calculating charges for adult social care. As the new charging policy is implemented, advice and support will be provided to all those affected by the changes. For those people using a service who advise that the new charges will present real difficulty, a new financial assessment will be offered. The council will help ensure they are getting every means of financial support available to them, as well as signposting to other services as appropriate.  Information AA and DLA. There is further information available on the Gov.uk website.  The proposal that was consulted upon was to include higher rate of AA and DLA when calculating financial contributions, regardless of when services are received.