TRAFFORD Council is failing in its legal responsibility to give advice and support to families of the poorest care home residents, according to a new report by older people’s charity Independent Age.

The council is failing to check that relatives are ‘able and willing’ to make so-called care home ‘top-up payments’, which are paid by some relatives to improve the quality of council-funded care.

Under a Freedom of Information Act request, Trafford Council admitted it has only partial information about which families are making these payments and so cannot possibly have carried out checks to make sure that they need to pay them, says the charity.

A spokesman from the council said: “Trafford Council’s Adult Social Care Department is fully aware of any top up payments paid by a relative of an individual who receives funding and support from the department.

“The only instance where the department would not be aware of the level of top up payment paid is for self-funding individuals who choose to make their own private residential care arrangements.

“In order to ensure that residents receive the best possible service, the council funds Age UK Trafford to provide independent advice and information to residents and their families. This includes information around vacancies and affordability.

“Social workers also fully discuss the financial implications of residential care with individuals and their families, including the potential impact of top up payments. We would note that the vast majority of Trafford placements are not subject to a top up payment.”

Independent Age submitted Freedom of Information requests to all 152 English councils.

It found that most councils did not know about all top-up fee payments in their area.