This chapter was introduced in May 2016.
Receiving the right support at the right time is vital to promoting people’s wellbeing and independence and if that support is provided somewhere other than someone’s home, being able to get to that support is equally vital.
The purpose of this policy is to set out how and in which circumstances Hull City Council Adult Social Care will provide assistance with transport.
2. Legal Duty
Local authorities have a duty under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person’s Act 1970 to provide necessary assistance with transport to people it provides with support, under the National Assistance Act 1948. These sections were not repealed or amended by the Care Act 2014, although the Care Act has placed a duty on local authorities to promote the wellbeing and independence of people who need support. This duty must be evidenced throughout the assessment, planning, provision and review process.
The local authority has the right to charge for assistance with transport under Fairer Charging regulations.
3. Assessment of Need for Support with Travel and Transport
The purpose of an assessment of need is to help someone understand their situation and the needs they have which pose a significant risk to their wellbeing, to reduce or delay the onset of needs and to identify the support they require to achieve the outcomes which promote their wellbeing and independence.
Hull City Council will support people to be as independent as possible and this includes travelling independently. When support is arranged, it must not be automatically assumed that transport to and from this support will be provided. We will look at every option for helping someone to access support without depending on transport provided by the Council’s passenger transport service, including changing the times or dates upon which support services are provided to enable someone to travel independently or with the support of family or friends. If there is no way that someone could reasonably be expected to travel independently or with the support of family or friends, we will provide assistance with transport. The need for this assistance and the nature of it – whether the person simply needs transportation or whether they need the service of a passenger assistant as well – must be identified during the initial assessment of need. When assessing and planning support, several factors must be considered. These are set out below:
- People who can travel independently or with the assistance of family or friends will be expected to do so;
- People who have the potential to travel independently will be provided with ‘travel training’ to enable them to do so;
- People who have a motability car will be expected to use it to travel to and from support services. If they cannot drive, then the carer who drives for them will be expected to do so. If the carer cannot do so because of commitments such as work or childcare, consideration must be given to changing the time or date of the support service the person needs to travel to. Only when all possibilities have been exhausted will consideration be given to the provision of assistance with transport;
- People who receive state benefits to assist with mobility and travel will be expected to use them to travel to support services, whether this be by accessing public transport or specialist transport.
4. Provision of Assistance with Transport
Assistance with transport can be provided if:
- The support service the person wishes to travel to has been identified in their support plan as essential to avoiding a substantial risk to their wellbeing; and
- The person cannot travel independently; and
- They have no resources, such as mobility benefits, motability car or support from family and friends to provide their own transport.
We can only consider assisting with transport when there is no reasonable alternative and only to and from support services identified in the support plan. This may have implications for the level of passenger transport which is commissioned internally and for the number of people required to provide it. Travel to and from any other activities needs to be arranged and paid for by the person or their carer and cannot be considered by Hull City Council.
5. Reviewing Provision of Assistance with Travel
As with any form of support, the provision of assistance with travel must be regularly reviewed. A review should be carried out at least once a year, or in response to a change in someone’s circumstances.
6. Contributing to the Cost of Travel
When a support plan is agreed, a financial assessment will be carried out to determine the contribution the person will be asked to make, including a contribution to the cost of assisted travel.