News – March 2015

A stack of newspapersNHS Specialised Services
New guidance has been published in England on developing a more collaborative approach to providing specialised services, across geographical and service boundaries. These include some services related to neurological conditions. The process is called “co-commissioning” or “collaborative commissioning”. More details: http://www.actionduchenne.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Specialised-services-collaborative-commissioning-guidance-NHS-ENGLAND.pdf and http://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/spec-services/key-docs/ (NHS England). The principles for investing in specialised services by the NHS are currently under consultation, https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/investing-in-specialised-commissioning/supporting_documents/invspecservconslt.pdf.

New welfare benefit rates from April 2015 to April 2016
The page also links to information about allowances, tax and National Insurance. At the time of writing these are “proposed” rates, and if there are any changes by April these should be updated on the Dept for Work and Pensions and HMRC websites that are also linked there. (Disability Rights UK)

Benefits in Scotland
Over the year, Scotland may see welfare benefit changes that diverge from the rest of the UK. (Scottish Office).

Take part in research: Life Study
“Life Study” is inviting participation by pregnant mothers and parents of babies up to the age of six months. The study will track the wellbeing of a very large number of parents and their babies from around the country as they grow up. (University College London).

Public Health Services
From 1 October 2015, it is planned that local authorities in England will take over (from the NHS) planning and paying for public health services for babies and children up to 5 years old. (Public Health England).

Epilepsy medication
Sodium valproate and related medicines for girls and women with epilepsy: new guidelines, (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency).

New NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines: 
NG7, maintaining a healthy weight; NG6, health risks associated with cold homes;
NG5, the safe and effective use of medicines;
CG28, depression in children and young people;
NG1, Gastro-Oesophagal Reflux Disease in children and young people.

Disability Scooters
Disability mobility scooter users aged 14 or over, in England or Scotland, can now carry with them a greater weight of up to 200Kg on their scooter.  This is designed to allow for carriage of medical equipment as well as other items.  More details:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobility-scooters-and-powered-wheelchairs-on-the-road-some-guidance-for-users (Dept for Transport). Guidance has also been updated, for users of scooters and powered wheelchairs on the road, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobility-scooters-and-powered-wheelchairs-on-the-road-some-guidance-for-users.

Legislation

2015 No. 574, The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2015
From 1st April 2015, amends the list of seat belts / child restraint systems that may be used in motor vehicles, to correspond with an EC / UN Directive.

2015 No. 393, The Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-Interoperable Rail System) (London Underground Northern Line 95TS Vehicles) Exemption Order 2015
From 27th March 2015, some vehicles and stations on the Northern Line will not have to abide by disability provisions that will apply elsewhere.

2015 No. 130, The Health Services (Cross-Border Health Care) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015
From 27 March 2015, makes the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety  the contact point for information about prescriptions intended to be used elsewhere in the EU, and sets out what information must be included.

Care legislation

2015 No. 305, The Care and Support (Children’s Carers) Regulations 2015
Regulations in connection with section 62(1) of the Care Act 2014, applying to local authorities meeting carers’ support needs, in force immediately after that section of the Act.

2015 No. 548 (L. 6), Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2015
Changes to the procedures for making decisions relating to mental capacity.  Some rules begin on 6 April 2015, and others on 1 July 2015 (Applies to England and Wales).

2015 No. 527, The Young Carers (Needs Assessments) Regulations 2015
From 1 April 2015, sets out how local authorities in England must recognise and assess the needs of young carers in their areas.

2015 No. 643, The Care Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) (Secondary Legislation) Order 2015
Separates the law for carers between England and Wales.  2015 No. 642, The Care and Support (Isles of Scilly) Order 2015 places the Isles of Scilly with England.

Education legislation

2015 No. 54 (W. 5), The Education (Student Support) (Wales) Regulations 2015
Details of government financial support available for students ordinarily resident in Wales taking various higher education courses starting on or after 1 September 2015.

2015 No. 359, The Special Educational Needs and Disability (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (from 23 March 2015) and 2015 No. 358, The Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendation Power) (Pilot) Regulations 2015 (from 1 April 2015)
Various amendments to the administration of EHC Plans (in all areas of England) and to Tribunal regulations (in certain pilot areas).

2015 No. 505, The Children and Families Act 2014 (Transitional and Saving Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2015
From 1 April 2015, sets out how Education, Health and Care Plans must replace Statements of SEN for eligible young people with a home LEA in England who are in detention, upon their release.

Financial legislation

2015 No. 345, The Universal Credit (Surpluses and Self-employed Losses) (Digital Service) Amendment Regulations 2015. 
From 6 April 2016, changes to some of the ways in which Universal Credit is calculated.

2015 No. 338, The Child Support (Miscellaneous and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2015
Amends ways in which under- or over- payments are corrected, and other matters.  Comes into force from 23 March 2015 onwards in conjunction with Section 1 of the Childcare Payments Act 2014.

2015 No. 522, The Childcare Payments Regulations 2015
From 1 June 2015, arrangements for the financial administration of childcare payments by and for families, including which types of childcare providers come under the scheme.

2015 No. 437, The Employment and Support Allowance (Repeat Assessments and Pending Appeal Awards) (Amendment) Regulations 2015
From 30 March 2015, sets out circumstances under which an ESA claimant can be treated as having limited capability for work until an assessment has been done, and related matters.

2015 No. 417, The National Health Service (Charges, Payments and Remission of Charges) (Uprating, Miscellaneous Amendments andTransitional Provision) Regulations 2015
From 1 April 2015, allows some people to be reimbursed for travel expenses to some types of NHS appointment without having to make a claim, and to be exempt from some dental and ophthalmic charges (applies to England).

2015 No. 537, The Childcare Payments Act 2014 (Amendment) Regulations 2015
From 1 June 2015, an increase in the maximum for disabled children (under the Childcare Payments Act 2014 (c. 28), involving a scheme for supporting childcare through “top-up payments” to parents and others in order to enable them to work).

2015 No. 578, The Employment Allowance (Care and Support Workers) Regulations 2015
From 6 April 2015, ensures that under the National Insurance Contributions Act 2014, families employing carers in respect of disability etc. will be able to pay £2,000 a year less for the workers’ NI (“employment allowance relief”).  More details:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-insurance-contributions-employment-allowance-extension-to-personal-carers

2015 No. 669, The Tax Credits (Claims and Notifications) (Amendment) Regulations 2015
From 6 April 2015, alterations to the backdating provisions for claiming Tax Credits.

2015 No. 138, The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Extended Period of Sickness) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015
From 30 March 2015, allows continuity for certain JSA claimants in periods of sickness of more than 2 weeks but less than 13 weeks in a 12-month period.