Local authorities are required to conduct a financial assessment for the majority of social care clients in receipt of chargeable services. This can amount to thousands of assessments and because pensions and other benefits are increased annually these should be maintained with current benefit rates and other increases to ensure correct charging. Manually updating financial assessments annually is a task requiring significant time and effort. Even for two or three thousand assessments this is simply not possible to complete for updated charges to be in place in line with the date of pension and benefit increases in early April each year.
Fortunately, there is another way! The leading Social Care and Finance system all have built in functionality to automatically uplift financial assessments. This is often referred to as the “Financial Assessment Bulk Uplift” or “FABU” process. Financial assessment data is recorded on forms that capture information needed for the financial assessment e.g. client income, benefits, capital and expenses. The form calculates an “Ability to Pay” and where appropriate this is used as the basis for client charging.
The uplift process takes the data on all existing forms and create a new form for each client that contains the new financial or benefit year pension and other appropriate increases. A new “Ability to Pay” is calculated that applies from any chosen date though this is usually the start of the benefit year. Once setup and tested it is possible to process all eligible existing financial assessments in a matter of a few hours saving significant time and effort for local authority financial assessment teams and ensuring that local authority revenue is maximised on time and from the start of the financial year.
As with any process care must be taken to ensure that the correct updates are produced and of course don’t forget the mail merge which is required to notify Citizen of the changes. It is important to ensure that the uplift is set up correctly and to test thoroughly prior to implementation.
BetterGov has supported several local authorities over a number of years in both the initial implementation of uplifts and ongoing running. We also frequently transition the expertise to in-house staff undertaking the exercise. We have built up structure alongside a tried and tested structured approach. Some of the services we provide in this regard include:
A. Updating rates, testing and running the process end to end
B. Troubleshooting issues and finding solutions
C. Assisting with complex mail merges for – one of the councils we support had over 15,000 financial assessment uplifts and corresponding letters which needed to be sent out
D. Development of applications to validate uplift result
E. Upskilling and ‘handholding’ of internal staff
F. Lastly a friendly ‘sounding board’ for our customers
There have been many challenges and hurdles to overcome, the feedback we have got from our customers has always been warm and positive. If you do need help with the 2022 uplift do get in contact.