Worries Over Care Act Funding As Six Month Anniversary Approaches

New Research Also Shows More Than Half Of People Working in Social Care Sector Are Unaware Of New Rights


Six months on from the introduction of the biggest social care changes in a generation, the vast majority of people involved in delivering the Care Act believe that it is a good piece of legislation but there are massive worries over funding.

New research by specialist law firm Irwin Mitchell, has found that 92% of people involved in social work said the Care Act is a good piece of legislation but there were also an overwhelming number of people who cited a lack of funding as their single biggest concern about social care.

The survey also worryingly revealed that over half of those working in the care sector (54%) admitted they were not aware of new rights brought in by the Care Act, at the time that the new changes were implemented.

The Care Act 2014 was introduced in April this year and consolidates all existing laws relating to adult social care and introduces some other brand new duties, with the aim of providing better, holistic, and more integrated care support for those who require it.

Expert Opinion
“It’s really positive that so many people are happy with the principles set out in the Care Act and believe it will be a force for good. However those involved in making sure the act is complied with are clearly concerned about how they will be able to deliver on the legislation, and funding is seen as the biggest issue.

"The new Care Act provides clarity on what both disabled adults and their carers are entitled to, and ensures that their wellbeing is paramount. It should also create consistency across the country in relation to the level of support available.

"This was the biggest change to adult social care in two decades and it places an important emphasis on ensuring those who need support the most are able to access it.

"However, the government has already confirmed that further care funding reforms in the Care Act, such as the cap on care costs, will be postponed, and it is essential that adequate funding is made available to local authorities to support those with care needs in their area. Since the Care Act was introduced, we have been approached by a number of clients who feel that their needs are not being met under the new legislation."
Caroline Barrett, Solicitor

The Care Act implements new rights for carers, a wellbeing principle to underpin all decisions by a local authority and a new eligibility criteria for care assessments. However, Irwin Mitchell has found that 80% of those working in the care sector that responded to the survey didn’t know if their Local Authority is already implementing the new national eligibility criteria.

Expert Opinion
“Too often in our work on behalf of vulnerable members of the community, we have seen the inconsistencies and difficulties which can be caused when eligibility criteria used by councils varies from region to region. The introduction of national eligibility criteria was intended to eradicate the postcode lottery of care and support which existed where Local Authorities imposed tougher criteria than others.

“The new criteria are supposed to be enforced across all councils ensuring a consistent level of support for those who need it, regardless of where they live. The fact that so many people don’t know if there LA is using the new criteria is a worry. Local authorities were asked to ensure that any individuals who were ‘borderline’ in terms of eligibility under the old legislation were reassessed as soon as possible, to ensure that adequate care was provided to those who are entitled to it.”
Caroline Barrett, Solicitor