A consultation on changes to short breaks and respite services was launched at an event at Sheffield Town Hall on 12 March. Council representatives presented four proposals, based on feedback received at previous consultation events. These are:
1. Short breaks grant
Parents will be asked to comment on the following options:
• Reduce the grant to a maximum of £200 per family (£400 at present)
• Choose between receiving the short breaks grant or a short breaks service
• Discontinue the short breaks grant
• Introduce means testing
• Stop the short breaks grant when a child reaches 18 (19 at present)
• No preference
2. Short breaks in mainstream clubs
The proposal is that parents would be asked to pay for the cost of the activity and Sheffield City Council would pay for the cost of supporting the child to access the activity.
3. Short breaks in targeted clubs for disabled children
The proposal is that parents would be asked to make a £7 contribution per child per session.
4. Overnight respite
Parents will be asked if they would like the council to work with parents to look at ways in which young people aged 18-25 years with the most complex needs could be included within Sheffield’s current respite provision. Parents will be asked if they wish to volunteer to be part of this work. The council would need to consult further on any changes proposed from this work.
The consultation will be carried out by questionnaire (hardcopy and online) over a period of 10 weeks. There will be a dedicated helpline number, and supporting information including FAQs will be available online.
The council also intends to run a number of sessions at community venues and support groups to help families to take part in the consultation. Details of these will be available on the council website shortly.
The council will write to all families who currently use short break and respite services – enclosing information on the proposals, a copy of the questionnaire, and links to complete the questionnaire online.