Implications of the Care Act

Tim Miller from Lewisham Council explains what some of the changes under the Care Act 2014 could mean for the voluntary and community sector

The Care Act 2014 merges 40 years of social care legislation into one legal framework. In many ways it can be seen as taking good practice in the sector and setting it down as legislation or statutory guidance.

The Department of Health's vision is that it will ensure that 'people's wellbeing, and the outcomes which matter to them, will be at the heart of every decision that is made'.

To improve wellbeing, the Act focuses on prevention, personalisation and integration. The key changes come in two phases:

Phase 1: April 2015

  1. A new, national minimum eligibility criteria for service users and carers (replacing 'FACS')
  2. A right to an assessment and support plan, if eligible, regardless of personal finances.
  3. All eligible social care clients with Council funded care must have a personal budget.
  4. Carers have the same rights as those they care for - including rights to an assessment, a carers' eligibility framework and rights to a personal budget.
  5. Information and advice (including financial advice) about care and support to help people make informed choices. This must be integrated with housing, welfare, employment and other advice.
  6. Work with care providers to ensure a diverse and high quality range of services available.
  7. Adult safeguarding on a statutory footing.

Phase 2: April 2016

  1. There will be a cap on what someone has to spend on their own ssocial care (starting at £72,000 for people over 65).
  2. People can have 'Care Accounts' recording their expenditure on care.
  3. The cap will be lower for people who develop needs earlier in life.


Getting ready

The Council will be working with the voluntary and community sector and other partners to get ready in the run-up to April 2015. It's important to familiarise yourselves with the draft guidance (avaialable here).

Some general themes to consider include:

There is a strong push in the Act for people to find solutions for their needs through making use of personal, social and community networks for support. Social workers will be seeking to help people make better use of these assets.

  • There will be increases in the number of people with direct payments, or other forms of personal budget.
  • Specific implications that organiations could be proactively reviewing include:
  • Information, advice and/or advocacy services will need to get up to speed with the new framework and prepare for potential increases in demand.
  • Services will need to ensure they are also reaching those people who fund their own care and support.
  • A lot of resources and referral points are now online, meaning that both projects and residents will benefit from having access to the internet and email accounts. Encouraging people to get online or use friends or relatives to assist them will be important.

 

Published in Grapevine, Autumn 2014 issue.


For a presentation by Aileen Buckton on the Council's approach to delivering the Care Act at the Health and Social Care Forum on 30 September 2014, click here.