Care Questions : Article 34Care Questions : Article 34

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.34

"My Father is retired and registered as disabled. One of his hobbies is making mechanical working models and his workshop is in his garage. Due to his increasing disability, he uses a wheelchair to move about and he is unable to get into his garage to work on his models. If we have a ramp built and the doorway widened would we have to pay vat on the work?"

Answer : Construction of a ramp or widening the doorway to allow your father to get into his garage can be zero rated. This is because the work would be done to help a disabled person gain access to a detached garage, which is part of a private residence i.e. his home. For further details contact your local HM Customs and Excise and ask for the VAT booklet titled 'Relief's for disabled people'.

"My parents are in their eighties and the time will come when I may need to consider some care for them. The care would be in their own home as neither of my parents wish to leave their home if at all possible. Are there any publications that I can read, which twill give me some assistance, for example what questions to ask care providers, etc?"

Answer : There are several organisations, which give helpful information about finding the right care service. However, the latest one is published by The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), the body which regulates and visits every care agency in England. The guide titled 'Social Care' is being sent to every council in England so, after 11th April 2006, you will, be able to get a copy from your local council or I would expect it to be in local libraries as well. Failing that contact your local CSCI office and request a copy.

"I would like to pay someone to do a little bit of cleaning for me. How much will I have to pay them per hour?"

Answer : Assuming you are looking for someone over the age of 21 you will need to pay at least the Minimum Wage rate. Currently this is £5.05 per hour rising to £5.35 per hour in October this year. However, cleaners are in short supply and therefore the hourly rate is usually higher than the Minimum Wage Rate. To get a better feel of the 'going rate' in your area, look in local shops for advertisements or ring up your local job centre and ask them for advice about local pay rates.

"I would like to find out details about a local residential home that my Mother has agreed to try when there is a vacancy. We have been round and looked and it seems very nice but I have been told that I can find out further details about the home by looking at a Government website. Can you tell me which one I need to look at please?"

Answer : I think you must be referring to the website of The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI). The website is: When there, look on the left hand side for 'inspection reports' and when the list comes up give the area where the home is, e.g. South West, the fact that you are looking for a residential home and the name of the home. This will then bring up the report on the home and how the standards, as set by CSCI, are adhered to. For example, owner and managers name, the type and number of residents living there, what the home does best, staff training details, resident and family feedback, what it may need to improve on, what the staffing ratio is, etc.

"My grandfather was in the Royal Navy and I would like to access his war records as I am researching and compiling our family history. How can I find out his service details as he died three years ago? My grandmother is alive but cannot remember too much detail."

Answer : You need to complete a Service Access Request (SAR) form, which you can obtain from the Ministry of Defence. Complete the form and include with it a letter of consent from your Grandmother asking for details to be sent to you and proof of her identity. This can be either a photocopy of a passport, utility bill, driving licence, etc.

Send the form to: The Royal Navy, DPS(N)2, Building 1/152, PP65, Victory View, HMNB Portsmouth. PO1 3LS

"Is it possible to send diabetic chocolates as gifts through the post?"

Answer : Thorntons the sweet shop chain make and sell diabetic chocolates and they have a mailing service. You will be able to find your nearest branch in the telephone directory.