Here to help with questions relating to learning disability and its impact on family carers
The Care Act 2014 was enacted in 2014. As of April 2015, the Act and supporting guidance place a series of new duties and responsibilities on local authorities about care and support for adults.
The Act has been described as the most significant legislative change affecting care provision ‘in the last 60 years’ or ‘since the introduction of the Welfare State in 1948’. It supersedes much previous legislation and associated statutory guidance.
(The Care Act applies only to England, but other UK legislation has much in common with it: residents of Wales will be affected by the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 , and of Scotland by the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013).
At the core of the Act is the concept of wellbeing, as the opening words of the Act’s Statutory Guidance states:
1.1. …Underpinning all of these individual “care and support functions” (that is, any process, activity or broader responsibility that the local authority performs) is the need to ensure that doing so focuses on the needs and goals of the person concerned.
1.2. Local authorities must promote wellbeing when carrying out any of their care and support functions in respect of a person. This may sometimes be referred to as “the wellbeing principle” because it is a guiding principle that puts wellbeing at the heart of care and support.
1.3. The wellbeing principle applies in all cases where a local authority is carrying out a care and support function, or making a decision, in relation to a person. For this reason it is referred to throughout this guidance. It applies equally to adults with care and support needs and their carers.
A simple core concept … but we then find that the Care and Support Statutory Guidance document made available to local authorities was 431 pages long when issued in June, and may be subject to updates further to ongoing consultations… May 2015 -501 pages.
If you wish to see the actual Act, it is available here on the legislation.gov.uk website
It is not a simple task to summarise the Act and how it may affect people with learning disabilities and carers.
The Guardian has now published ‘A quick guide to the Care Act’ which is perhaps too brief, but a ‘good place’ to start learning about the Act.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has been commissioned by the Department of Health, the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and the Care Providers Alliance ‘to provide local authorities and care providers with guidance, practical resources, training and consultancy to help them implement the letter and the spirit of the Care Act’. Its resources are aimed at this target audience, but will be of interest to many others e.g. carers. The SCIE’s Care Act start page includes this useful introductory video.
In February 2015, in an article in Community Care online entitled “Why councils risk breaching the Care Act and failing people entitled to independent advocacy” its writer (Martin Coyle) explained his worries that councils will fail to meet their obligations with regard to independent advocacy. In many ways, Rescare shares these worries, and will keep you updated on this topic.
A major change introduced by Act is the introduction of ‘a single national eligibility threshold’. You could of course look at relevant sections of the Statutory Guidance document..
Further to its ‘Quick Guide’ (see above), a full Supplement on the Care Act appeared in the Guardian’s Society section on 29th April and is now available online here.
Steve Broach is a barrister at Monckton Chambers specialising in public law (i.e. challenges to state policies and decisions), with a background in policy and campaigning work for disabled children and adults and their families. He writes a blog called RIGHTSINREALITY and has already written perceptively on the Care Act. We recommend these articles to you: Five headline changes in the Care Act 2014 and Care Act 2014 – first thoughts on eligibility – a ‘moderate’ success? .
Finally, a search of Rescare’s website for the words ‘Care Act’ should locate relevant content, such as recent news and blog postings.
Finally, finally… a member of Rescare’s staff has been delegated to write an accessible guide to the Care Act.