Islington Council is proposing to make changes to the way respite services are delivered. Respite services include the person you are looking after having a short stay in a care home, attending a day-centre or having a sitting service (where someone stays with them while you have a break). Respite services in Islington are currently delivered as carers’ services put in place following a carers’ assessment. Islington Council does not currently charge for carers’ services.

The council is proposing the following key changes:

  1. To treat respite services which are provided directly to the service user (such as residential care, day-services and sitting services) as services for service users and not as carer’s services. These would be part of the service users support plan.
  2. Service users will be charged for respite services in the same way as other community care services, if they are reasonably able to pay.  This would represent a change, because, currently, the council does not charge carers for the services they receive.  People may therefore have to pay for respite services, where under the current system, they do not pay for them.

To assess whether people are reasonably able to pay for community care services the council carries out a financial assessment which looks at people’s income and savings to see how much they may be able to contribute. If people do not wish to have a financial assessment the council assumes they are able to pay full costs. The financial assessment should take into account extra costs for illness such as additional laundry, special diets or heating bills.

Please contact ICH if you would like independent advice about financial assessments or more information about how services are delivered. Follow this link for information about how the council charge for their services.


The council’s decision is based on:

  1. Legal reasons – Services which are actually provided to the person being cared for (also known as the service user) fall within the definition of ‘community care services’ in law, and this is confirmed by Department of Health guidance.  Most other local authorities already treat them in this way.
  2. Making services fairer – under the current system one person receiving a service such as a week in care home may be charged for it while another may have it free because they have a carer and it is classed as a respite service.

Islington Council has written to all carers who are currently receiving these respite services to let them know about these proposed changes and to find out their views about it.

If you have received a letter and would like independent advice about what it means please contact us at Islington Carers Hub. We can also help you complete the questionnaire if you would like to take part in the consultation. A social worker will also contact you to explain what it might mean for you.

If you are not currently getting respite services as a carer you will not have received a letter about this but you can still take part in the consultation by letting us know your views and we can collate them and pass them on. Please see the consultation documents below.

Please return any response to us by March 10th so that we can pass these on before the deadline.

Respite consultation Frequently asked questions 7 1 13

respite letter for carers 2013

Consultation questionnaire 18 12 12