Key principles of cross-border placements

The aim of the guidance is to support continuity of care across the UK’s borders by setting out clear values and good practice. It is important that people with social care needs can move to another area, confident that as far as possible they will continue to receive the support they need, and that the process of arranging and managing cross-border placements is as clear and straightforward as possible. By working together and involving the person and their family, carers and other relevant persons, authorities can ensure that cross-border placements help to deliver improved outcomes for the person concerned.

During a social care assessment and in the development of an adult’s care plan, the need for a cross-border placement may become apparent. Schedule 1 to the Care Act 2014 sets out the legal framework governing such placements. As a general rule, responsibility for individuals who are placed by authorities into cross-border accommodation remains with the placing authority.

The provisions contained in Schedule 1 are intended to facilitate the smooth functioning of cross-border placements. This outcome is clearly in the interest of all concerned, including authorities, care providers and, most importantly, adults and their families and carers. It is not envisaged that authorities will suffer significant added financial disadvantage as a result of a cross-border placement. All authorities are expected to cooperate fully and communicate effectively and proactively.

The four UK governments (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have agreed the following guiding principles which should be applied to all cross-border placements:

These principles should be applied in a manner consistent with existing legal frameworks in each of the four UK countries. These are summarised in the next section of this guidance.


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  • Cross-border placements