Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support
Initial contact - FACS, ‘Putting people first’ and the personalisation agenda
‘Putting People First’ sets out a shared ambition for radical reform of public services, promoting personalised support through the ability to exercise choice and control against a backdrop of strong and supportive local communities.(‘Introduction’, DH, 2010, para 4)
Marcia’s story – Personalising support for both daughter and mother
Until she was 45, Marcia, who has learning disabilities and mild cerebral palsy, lived with her mother. She was, however delighted when given the opportunity to move into her own flat. When the initial light-touch support proved insufficient, workers quickly increased Marcia’s support to meet her specific needs at a point in her life when she was coping with major changes. They also realised that Marcia and her mother’s relationship had been mutually supportive and ways were found to ensure this continued.
To promote personalisation within the FACS framework, staff need to:
- understand the implications of their organisation’s policies and procedures for promoting personalisation, when responding to referrals and conducting assessments and reviews
- apply the principles of personalisation throughout, getting to know the person and understanding their history and circumstances, and enabling individuals and carers using or seeking services to participate fully at each stage
- encourage individuals and carers to maintain their independence, choice and control, seek support from advocates and user organisations, and use their personal strengths and networks to achieve individualised solutions
- apply the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 when assessing the needs and circumstances of people with mental impairments, and promote human and civil rights when undertaking assessments or planning care and support
- ensure an individual or carer eligible for publicly funded support is informed about personal budgets, direct payments and managed personal budgets, understands the implications and support options of each, and has time and support to decide which option suits them best
- access and use information and advice on universal services, early intervention, prevention and reablement, relevant NHS, housing, employment and benefits provision and community-based and specialist resources.
The Department of Health published the ‘Adult social care choice framework’  in March 2013 to help individuals and carers to understand more clearly the choices and rights open to them, how to access information and support, and how to complain.
For people who may lack capacity in particular fields, the guide needs to be implemented in conjunction with the rights offered by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which requires:
- assessment of the individual’s capacity to make specific decisions
- decisions to be made in a framework of the individual’s Best Interests
- the individual to be able to exercise the right to an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate when certain criteria are met
- that any deprivation of liberty is assessed and authorised – either by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards operated by local authorities, if the person is in a care home or hospital, or by the Court of Protection if the person is in supported living or in their own home.