Support services and checklist of core duties under the Care Act 2014

Establishing and maintaining a support service for all adults/carers

The Care Act requires each local authority to establish and maintain a service for providing people in its area with information and advice relating to care and support for adults and support for carers. This includes all adults in its area – beyond those who have an immediate need for care or support. Chapter 3 of the statutory guidance for the Care Act provides more information on this. Prevention and early intervention are at the heart of the system – if an individual has needs that are not eligible, the local authority must provide information and advice on other preventative services.

The Think Local Act Personal partnership has produced a set of three reports designed to support local areas to improve their provision of information, advice and brokerage for people who need social care.  

Beyond eligibility: Universal and open access support and social care. In 2012, Age UK commissioned a study to better understand councils’ approaches to universal and open access support for older people whose needs do not meet the eligibility threshold for publicly financed adult social care.

Checklist of core duties for local authorities

The checklist below provides a very brief summary of the core duties for local authorities in relation to making an eligibility determination. It should be read in conjunction with The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2015 and Chapter 6 of the statutory guidance.

  • An eligibility determination can only be made on the basis of an assessment. This means that local authorities must carry out a needs or carer’s assessment in order to determine whether an individual’s needs are eligible.
  • When determining eligibility of adults with care and support needs or carers with support needs, local authorities must consider whether all three conditions are met. These revolve around needs, desired outcomes or circumstances, and the impact on an individual’s wellbeing. An individual is only eligible if they meet all three conditions.
  • When determining eligibility, local authorities must ignore care and support being provided by a carer. What care and support is provided by the carer can, however, be taken into consideration when the local authority makes its care and support plan, meaning that local authorities do not have to meet needs that are already being met by a carer if the carer is willing and able to continue to provide the care.
  • If an individual’s needs fluctuate, local authorities must take account of this and ensure that all of their needs have been accounted for when determining eligibility.
  • Local authorities must also establish whether the adult needing care with eligible needs, or the adult who the carer who has eligible needs is caring for, is ordinarily resident in their area.
  • If it is determined that an individual has eligible needs and is ordinarily resident in the local authority area, local authorities must consider how those needs will be met, and where relevant, ensure those needs are met on the basis of a financial assessment.
  • Anyone who has had an assessment must receive a record of their eligibility determination and the reasons for it.
  • If someone is found to have no eligible needs, local authorities must provide information and advice and consider what is available that could prevent, meet or reduce the needs that are not eligible.
  • Local authorities must notify the relevant clinical commissioning group if it appears that an individual may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.

See National framework for NHS continuing healthcare and NHS funded nursing care for more information.

Eligibility determination
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