The basics of a cross-border placement

There are occasions when an authority may need to consider placing a person in accommodation in another UK country. This could be because, for example, the person is in need of specialist accommodation that is only available in that country or has expressed a wish to live closer to their family.

Cross-border placements may be made when an adult is living in a domestic setting or family home, or any other type of accommodation. For instance, the adult could be living at home and, due to deterioration in their condition or circumstances, needs to be placed in a care home in a different UK country. Alternatively, the adult could already be living in a care home and a preference has been expressed for, or a new needs assessment indicates, that they need to be placed in care home accommodation in a different country.

The general principle is that if an adult with social care needs is placed by an authority in accommodation in a different UK country, they will continue to be the responsibility of the placing authority (the meaning of a ‘placement’ is discussed later in this guidance). This means that the first authority remains responsible for meeting needs, and reviewing their care plan, and further that, where applicable, the person’s ordinary residence will remain as it was prior to placement in that accommodation – i.e. ordinary residence will not change. Therefore, if, for example, a person is ordinarily resident in authority A’s area, and is placed, pursuant to arrangements made by authority A, into a care home in authority B’s area (in a different UK country), authority A retains the same responsibility for that person as if they were placed in accommodation within their own area and the person remains ordinarily resident in area A.   

At present, the framework for cross-border placements set out in Schedule 1 only applies to accommodation arranged by authorities, though there is scope for regulations to be made to extend Schedule 1 to other types of accommodation or to cases where authorities are providing services other than accommodation. Discussion of the principles that apply to non-accommodation care packages falls outside the remit of this guidance.


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  • Cross-border placements