Care Act

Care Act - Background

Background

The Care Act is considered to be one of the most important pieces of social care legislation since the 1948 National Assistance Act and 1990 NHS and Community Care Act. Until April 2015 care and support was delivered against a number of Acts of Parliament, some over 60 years old. The Bill replaced these with a single, modern law which provides adult social care (ASC) with a new legal framework putting the wellbeing of individuals at the heart of care and support services.
 
Planned changes to funding are due to be reviewed again in 2020.
 
The Care Act has had a significant impact on local authorities, placing new duties and responsibilities on local authorities as well as extending existing responsibilities.
 
The majority of changes took place in April 2015. 
 
The Care Act also places a duty on local authorities to carry out their care and support functions with the aim of having integrated services with those provided by the NHS and other health related services in place by 2018.

Main Areas of Change within the Act.

Promoting a person’s wellbeing

The Act creates a new duty to promote a person’s well being and underpins the approach to care and support. This links with the Health and Well-Being Board and the health and wellbeing strategy. 

Prevention

This requires local authorities to be pro-active to prevent, delay or reduce the need for social care support and this applies to the whole population, whether or not they currently use services. The local authority will need to work with other organisations to identify people who might have support needs that are not being met and to make available service that will enable a person to stay independent. 

Providing Information, Advice and Advocacy

The provision of good quality information and advice by the local authority in partnership with others underpins the reforms. There is a new requirement to pro-actively identify people who have unmet need and provide advice, information and support. 
 
Information must be accessible to and proportionate to the needs of the person, ranging from information on a web site to a face to face discussion or even advocacy. Where people are not eligible for support there is an additional requirement to provide a written statement of need and offer of advice and information. There is also a requirement to provide information on how to access independent financial advice. For people who require it, there is a duty to provide advocacy.

Promoting the quality and diversity of local services 

Local authorities will have a duty to develop a market that has a range of high quality providers that can meet the needs of all residents and allow them choice. This is also a temporary duty to ensure continuity of service in the event of provider failure – this includes care home provision, community based care and support services and for all people receiving care including those funding their own care.

Assessment and eligibility 

The Act creates the requirement for a single, consistent route to determining people’s entitlement to care and support and extends the same entitlement to carers.  
 
The Act sets a national minimum threshold for eligibility at which local authorities must meet a person's care and support needs. The description of eligible needs within new regulations will replace existing local thresholds and current statutory guidance called Fair Access to Care Services.
 
Carers will also be entitled to an assessment in line with current practice. 

Funding reforms 

Planned changes to funding are due to be reviewed again in 2020.
 
Southend Borough Council previously operated a Deferred Payment System for people in Residential Care and the scheme has been reviewed to reflect requirements set out in the Care Act.

Safeguarding

The Act requires Local Authorities to have a Safeguarding Adults Board and to carry out safeguarding adults reviews where somebody experiencing abuse or neglect dies or there are concerns about how the local authority acted. Boards may also require information sharing from other partners. Boards are also required to have a work plan and publish an annual report. There is a new duty to carry out enquiries (or ask others to do so) where it is suspected an adult is at risk of abuse or neglect.

Continuity of care and support when an adult moves

The Act states that when an adult with care needs moves between local authorities, the first local authority must provide all relevant information. The second local authority must provide information and assess the adult and their carer, taking into account their previous support plan. Until an assessment can be done, the second local authority must continue with the first authority’s support plan.

Page last updated: 08/06/2017