Cornwall Council disability funding system criticised

Cornwall Council has been accused of not properly explaining the way in which it assesses funding for people with learning disabilities.

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities said people had complained their budgets had been cut despite not being told they were being re-assessed.

Nick Fox, who has Asperger's syndrome, was told his funding would be cut after an unexpected council visit.

His mother said the authority had since apologised.

Under the Personal Budget system, individuals can choose to be paid directly and organise their own support.

'Deceitfully done'

Mr Fox's mother, Marion Green, said he had been told his money would be cut from £160-a-week to £90-a-week.

She said: "The person from the council came along and chatted as if it was just a friendly visited.

"She filled in some forms as she chatted to Nick, on a very casual basis, and then asked Nick to sign to say that he understood what had been going on.

"Then a letter came in the post to say following the review that budget had been cut."

She added: "I thought it was deceitfully done because we were told it was a review, and in fact it was a full assessment."

Mrs Green said her son's budget had since been reinstated until a further assessment is carried out.

'Really distressing'

Jenna Tregonning, from the foundation, which helps people with learning disabilities plan their spending, said: "People seemed very confused about the process. It's really worrying.

"A number of other people have got in touch to say they have had a cut in their budget in very similar circumstances.

"They were told they were having a review when actually what happened was an assessment.

"For Nick to receive a letter to say that his budget is being cut is really distressing.

"My concern is there are people who might have had this happen to them, but they might not have people championing for them like Marion.

"This might have taken place and they might not understand what has happened."

Cornwall Council said: "A review may result in a new indicative budget if a person's needs have changed which may result in a change to the amount of funding a person gets.

"Sometimes people make good progress and no longer need the same level of support; this is a reflection of the positive impact there has been on that person's life.

"Where this is not the case, or there is disagreement over an indicative budget, we will continue to work with the individual concerned until we have resolved the issue."

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