Frank’s Law is named after Frank Kopel, the well-known footballer who developed early onset dementia.   For many years Frank and his wife, Amanda, had to pay charges for the same personal care services that were given free to those with dementia who were over 65.    Frank’s Law now means that everyone in Scotland will not be charged for any Personal Care support, irrespective of their age.

However, the introduction of the law has been controversial, with many people arguing that a different approach is needed for younger disabled people because their needs are different.  In general, younger disabled people are more likely to be in receipt of social care support than people over 65.  As social care is not covered by Free Personal Care, most local authority charging policies will mean that a smaller proportion of younger disabled people will benefit as compared to people over 65. 

Critics point out that unless Free Personal Care is implemented in a different way for the under 65s, Frank’s Law is unlikely to benefit the number of people intended.  They argue that achieving a fair outcome for different groups of disadvantaged people cannot be guaranteed by simply treating everyone the same. This is the core principle underpinning the notion of making ‘reasonable adjustments’.   However, the Scottish Government and others decided that they had to follow strictly the same procedures that were already in place for people who were over 65. 

Ian Hood, Spokesperson for Scotland Against the Care Tax said “At first the Scottish Government said that over 10,000 people would benefit but because of the way they have gone about this, only about 3,000 people will benefit.   And many of them will still have to pay large weekly amounts because some of their support won’t be counted as personal care.” 

 

He added, “The remainder of the money is not ring-fenced and is being given to councils to spend as they want.  They justified this additional funding as being needed to meet an anticipated rush in demand for support.  Yet, 5 months after the introduction of Frank’s Law, it is clear that there has been no such increase.  Nor will there be.  Councils have robust procedures in place to make sure that only those with needs classed as ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ get support.”

 

Jeff Adamson, Chair of Scotland Against the Care Tax said, “I am one of the many disabled people in Scotland who rely on large amounts of personal care and social care support to live a good life, but my charges have gone up since Frank’s Law was brought in, not down. Although 80% of my care package has been adjudged as being personal care (the other 20% being social care) and I don't pay for this, I'm still paying for my social care which costs more than I've been assessed to pay.” 

 

“We said there was a fairer way of doing this but they wouldn’t listen.  Now we see why.  No wonder, the Scottish Government was reluctant to release this paper to the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee.”

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  1. On the 10th of January 2019, Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary made this assurance to the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee.

Jeane Freeman: That is, partly, the critical bit; there are numbers and then there are assumptions and modelling. We will provide the committee with what we used.[1]

  1. On the 22nd of January, the Cabinet Secretary  provided a response which only provided the numbers and not the assumptions and modelling

The Finance Secretary announced in our draft budget provision of £40 million to support the continued implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and extending free personal care to under 65s. This includes provision of £30 million to cover the costs of the extension for existing service users, estimated demand from new service users, administration costs and payments to self-funders in residential care. [2]

 

[1] 10th Jan 2019, Official Report, Public Petitions Committee, Column 13

[2] http://www.parliament.scot/S5_PublicPetitionsCommittee/Submissions%202019/PE1533_NN.pdf