Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support

The Care Bill 2013: key principles - Key provisions

Embedding the principle of wellbeing (Clause 1)

Clause 1 provides a set of legal principles which govern how local authorities will carry out their care and support functions for adults.

Reflecting broader local responsibilities (Clauses 2 to 7)

The Bill sets out a number of general duties on local authorities beyond the provision of care and support for individuals and carers. Local authorities will have a broader care and support role in their local communities through provision focused on the local population rather than solely on individual needs. They must:

Starting the care and support journey: assessments, financial resources, determining eligibility, duties and powers to meet needs (Clauses 8 to 23)

One of the core objectives of the Bill is to provide clarity for people about what they can expect from the care and support they use. A local authority can meet an individual’s eligible needs for care and support in many ways, including through provision or commissioning of services, or by making direct payments (Clause 8).

Clauses 9 to 17 set out the process assessment for those who need care and for carers, ensuring that the focus is on an individual’s needs and the outcomes they seek. These clauses do the following:

The question of who is entitled to care and support is critical. One of the aims of the new statute is to provide a single route through which consistent entitlements to care and support can be established. This includes the ability for people with eligible needs to request that the local authority help them by brokering care and support on their behalf, regardless of their personal finances. Clause 19 provides the equivalent right for carers. For the first time they will have a legal entitlement to publicly funded support to meet their eligible needs, putting them on the same footing as the people for whom they care.

Care planning, personal budgets, care accounts and direct payments (Clauses 24 to 33)

The Care Bill sets out:

The process for deciding how needs are to be met includes the requirement, captured in legislation for the first time, for a personal budget, for both individuals and carers who need support. The requirement includes enabling them to understand what public funding is available to help them (Clause 26).

The Bill also introduces the concept of an independent personal budget, which applies where an individual has eligible needs but chooses not to have them met by the local authority. It is a statement, for the purpose of tracking progress towards the costs cap, of what the cost would be to the local authority if it were meeting the individual’s needs, distinguishing daily living costs, which do not count towards the cap, from other costs (Clause 28). This places a duty on the local authority to maintain an up-to-date record of the individual’s accrued care costs, to be known as a ‘care account’ (Clause 29), again distinguishing daily living costs from other care and support costs.

The Bill provides a framework for decisions in relation to direct payments, as a means of maximising the control people have over how money is spent to support them. It sets out conditions under which the local authority must make direct payments when requested to do so. The conditions are different for those with capacity to request direct payments (Clause 31) and those without such capacity (Clause 32). Clause 33 makes provision for regulations about direct payments

Moving between areas (Clauses 36 to 37)

The Bill sets out new arrangements intended to ensure that if a person decides to move home to another area, their care and support are not interrupted. It sets out responsibilities on the first authority to provide a range of information to the second authority (to which the person is moving) about their existing assessments, care and support plans, and any independent personal budget or care account (Clause 36). The second authority has a duty to assess the individual’s needs and how they should be met, having regard to the first authority’s care and support plan).

Where the assessed needs are different, or the cost of the new provision is different, the second authority must provide written explanations to the adult, carer and any other person they ask to be informed. The second authority must take all reasonable steps to reach agreement with the adult or carer about how it should meet the needs in question. If the assessment has not been completed by the time the individual moves to their new home, the second authority must meet the needs identified in the care and support plan provided by the first authority, until it has carried out its own assessment (Clause 37).

A new framework for adult safeguarding (Clauses 41 to 46)

The draft Bill sets out the statutory framework for adult safeguarding, stipulating the responsibilities of local authorities and partner bodies to protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. The local authority will be required to carry out enquiries into suspected cases of abuse or neglect, including financial abuse (Clause 41), and to establish safeguarding adults boards in their area (Clauses 42 to 43). Under specified conditions a person or body must supply information to a safeguarding adults board at its request. This provision could apply to a GP who has been providing medical advice or treatment to a person about whom a board conducts a serious case review. The safeguarding adults board may use the information only for the purpose of its functions (Clause 44).

Transition from children’s care and support services (Clauses 55 to 63)

To support young people’s transition between children’s and adults’ social care, and make it as smooth as possible, the Bill gives local authorities powers to assess children, young carers and the carers of children under the adult statute. The Bill provides a new protection to ensure that any service being provided under children’s legislation must continue after the young person’s 18th birthday, until assessment and care planning required under the adult statute are complete, and adult care and support are ready to meet their needs.


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