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Play SCIE’s introduction to the Care Act video presentation.

An introduction to the Care Act 2014

Care Act presentation transcript

The Care Act 2014 is the most significant piece of legislation in our sector since the establishment of the welfare state.

It builds on a patchwork of legislation built up since the 1948 National Assistance Act.

The Act begins by defining the primary legal responsibility of local authorities as the promotion of individual wellbeing.

There is a shift from the duty to provide services to meeting eligible needs. From being eligible for services to having eligible needs, or qualifying for care and support. Of course, everyone is unique so local authorities can’t comply with the Act by providing one size fits all. They must put the person at the centre of their offer and have a conversation about the best way to meet their eligible needs. They should reach out to a wide range of care and support options.

A key part of the Act is a focus on preventing or delaying needs and therefore the need for care and support. This might mean investing in preventative services and making full use of any existing community resources, facilities and assets to prevent, reduce or delay people’s needs and maximise their independence

Carers (who are people who provide unpaid necessary support, often a family member or friend) are given significant entitlements under the Act. It’s hoped that they will be supported to maintain their caring role for longer.

Local authorities must establish and maintain an information and advice service. They must provide this to everyone in the area, not just people who have eligible needs. The service should cover the rights and entitlements that people have under the Act and how they can access them in their local area. This should include financial advice. Information should be provided in accessible ways – not just on a website, or leaflets in a GP’s office, but tailored to the needs of local people

Local authorities must facilitate a diverse, vibrant and sustainable market for care and support services that benefit the whole population. Good commissioning, as outlined in the Act and guidance, should follow some key principles. It should focus on individual wellbeing, workforce development, pay and appropriate pricing of services. It should support sustainability and ensure choice. This should be done through strategic planning, supporting providers and good contracting mechanisms co-produced with local people who have experience of social care.

The Act requires local authorities to promote integration, cooperation and partnership with the NHS and other key partners. This includes working through local health and wellbeing boards.

The Act aims to put people at the centre of their care and support and maximise their involvement in any process and decision

Some people find it very difficult to play a full part in social care processes and don’t have someone appropriate to support them. If this is the case, the local authority must arrange for an independent advocate to support their involvement in assessment, planning, appeals or safeguarding.

Needs or carers assessments must be carried out where there appears to be a need for care and support, regardless of potential eligibility of needs. The assessment should be appropriate, proportionate to the individual circumstances of the adult or carer, person-centred, strengths-based and ensure a focus on the duty to promote individual wellbeing.

The Act establishes a national minimum threshold at which people have eligible needs or will be eligible for care and support.

The determination of eligibility consists of three conditions that the practitioner must work through in turn to establish if the adult or carer meets the eligibility criteria and therefore has eligible needs. As part of these criteria, the Act provides a set of eligible outcomes.

Once the assessment and eligibility process is complete, there’s a duty on local authorities to produce care and support plans and to offer a personal budget if the person has eligible needs. This should focus on keeping people directly involved. The Act also sets out a duty to review care and support plans to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the person.

Local authorities have the duty to provide a deferred payment scheme, assisting people with payment if they go into a care home.

Adult safeguarding is, for the first time, spelled out in law in the Care Act. Local authorities must make enquiries if they believe an adult is, or is at risk of, being abused or neglected. They must also set up a safeguarding adults board including key stakeholders. This board will carry out safeguarding adults reviews when people die as a result of neglect or abuse and there’s a concern that the local authority, or its partners, could have done more.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence continues working closely with central and local government to produce useful resources that will enable local authorities to further improve social care practice, in alignment with the legislative requirements and good practice.