ARC charges imminent

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SOME residents in Galloway who use the Adult Resource Centres in the area will have to pay for the services provided after being means tested by Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Letters from the council arrived this week telling families of vulnerable adults they will be “financially assessed” on their ability to contribute to the running costs. This move is to bring the ARCs in line with the council’s charging policy.

A council spokesperson said: “Our Council charges for other care services, but not for the ARC. To make it fair for everyone we have to start charging for the ARC’s services. People using an ARC will be assessed as to their ability to pay. Not everyone will have to pay and people will only be asked to contribute if they can afford it. The charge is calculated on the number of times each week someone attends the ARC and details of the actual charge and what it includes and does not include is set out in an information sheet (frequently asked questions) which has gone out to everyone attending an ARC.”

Mid Galloway Councillor Alastair Geddes said: “I have two concerns about this. Firstly, that the council is charging vulnerable people who attend these facilities giving families valuable respite. My secondary concern is the way it has been handled. The council are implementing a charging policy but there were no financial assessment forms with the letters. I was approached a constituent about this, I contacted social services to express my concerns and an assessment form was sent out in short order. Even better, the family received a visit from a member of the financial inclusion assessment team who helped fill out the form.

“If these changes are to be implemented the families should be able to pay by instalments. But I would prefer the council to review this policy.”