Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support
The social care and NHS policy context
Fair Access to Care Services (FACS), the national eligibility framework in England for prioritising the use of adult social care resources fairly, transparently and consistently, was first introduced by the Department of Health in 2002. Revised policy guidance on assessment and eligibility for adult social care was issued in 2010, accompanied by a practice guide prepared by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).
The 2010 policy guidance is likely to remain in place until the passage and implementation of the Care Bill, introduced in Parliament in 2013, reforms adult social care law. Practice is changing and evolving, however. SCIE has updated its practice guide to reflect these changes, and to anticipate the new approaches to assessment and eligibility contained in the Bill.
The guide will help staff engaged in assessment and eligibility decision-making, their supervisors and managers, to maintain and develop the quality of practice and service to the public, at a time of rapid and complex change and pressures on human and financial resources. Associated e-learning material has also been updated, offering staff in different circumstances a choice of media.
In view of the renewed emphasis on integrated working, the guide is also written to help general practitioners (GPs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and health and wellbeing boards understand how people’s social care needs are assessed, prioritised and kept under review, and how care and support plans are prepared jointly with the individual, their family and carers. The guide is also intended to help people, their relatives, advisers and advocates know what to expect during an assessment, the different levels of eligibility and government’s planned changes.