Social care and support can mean different things to different people; it can be help getting out of bed, assistance with eating and drinking, or transport to access the community.
A variety of people need and provide social care, whether it’s friends, family or carers. The Care Act has provided a great shake-up to the care services provided by our local authorities, for adults and their carers.
We’ve produced a series of factsheets and template letters which provide information on the Care Act.
Why Has The Care Act Been Introduced?
The Care Act sets out to meet the needs of our growing and ageing population, being billed as the most important piece of social care legislation in the last few decades. The Act aims to consolidate current laws around social care, whilst including some new reforms to develop better rights to support.
Following recent cases of neglect, the Act provides a great amount of protection for more vulnerable members of the community. It also ensures that your rights to care and support are strengthened in cases where there are cuts to local authority funding.
Alongside the legislation itself, new regulations and statutory guidance have been introduced to outline how social care will be provided to adults and their carers.
What Changes Have Been Made?
A number of changes have been introduced to improve the quality of social care services provided by local authorities. These include:
- The introduction of key new principles such as the “wellbeing principle”, all local authorities need to ensure they are promoting people’s wellbeing when taking decisions about their care
- A new set of national eligibility criteria for accessing council funded services – preventing a ‘postcode lottery’
- Prevention strategies to try and keep people healthy, stopping any social care needs from arising or becoming worse, even if those people aren’t currently receiving social care from the council
- Access to information about care assessments including what care and support might be available and detailing the range of advice that might be on offer in a particular area
- A duty on local authorities to work together with health services to promote and provide integrated services
- Access to an independent advocate in scenarios where people have substantial difficulty in engaging in the care assessment process without support
- Better support and provision for the carers of disabled adults.
Our specialist solicitors are experts in community care law and are happy to provide you with Care Act guidance. We regularly advise individuals, charities, and care providers on community care law, and have successfully challenged unlawful practices in the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court.
We can provide advice on how to access social care and support, as well as advise on any actions that have been enforced by your local authority. To find out more relating to these changes, you can access our free list of factsheets and precedent letters.
What Will Be The Key Changes From April 2016?
From April 2016, more people will be eligible for financial support from their local authority. There are a series of proposed reforms (often known as the ‘Dilnot reforms’) and key plans include:
- An increase in the funding thresholds – more people will be eligible for state-funded care
- Caps on the cost of care, regardless of savings and assets – people will need to spend less money towards care costs in the long-term
- More support towards meeting residential care costs – such as deferred payment schemes.
These reforms do not come into effect until April 2016, any further information and guidance will be published on our website nearer the time to help you understand these changes in more detail.
Contact Us For Expert Advice & Care Act Guidance
If you would like any Care Act guidance, call us on 0800 028 1943 or contact us online and we will call you back.