Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support
The social care and NHS policy context - Current and forthcoming FACS guidance
Fair Access to Care Services (FACS), introduced in 2002, is the national eligibility framework in England for prioritising the use of adult social care resources fairly, transparently and consistently.
In 2010 the Department of Health issued the current policy guidance under the title ‘Prioritising need in the context of “Putting people first”: a whole system approach to eligibility for social care’.  This sought to achieve the following objectives:
- to ensure assessment and decisions on eligibility embodied the personalisation principles and policies set out in ‘Putting people first’,  which had developed since the launch of FACS in 2002
- to encourage greater consistency among local authorities in the way they applied the FACS system
- to reduce the likelihood of individuals and carers being denied access to needs assessment and advice because their financial assets were greater than the financial limit for local authority funding.
While the 2010 FACS policy guidance will remain in place until the Care Bill comes into law, this revised SCIE guide takes account of changes since 2010 in National Health Service (NHS) and social care legislation, policy, practice and provision. It also takes into account relevant legal judgments and overall resource availability. It provides information on the policy direction set out in the White Paper ‘Caring for our future: reforming care and support’,  and the Care Bill itself, introduced into the House of Lords in May 2013. 
Practice is already changing in the field. A good deal of this is driven by rising demand for care and support combined with downward pressure on local authority social care budgets, but there are other factors. Individuals and carers who use care and support can have an increasing influence, particularly in more responsive authorities, on the outcomes they are seeking in their lives, the care and support they receive, and how it is provided This includes being able to decide the best ways for statutory resources to complement their own strengths, social capital and networks. As more and more people are funding part or all of their care and support themselves, so their expectations as ‘customers’, or the family members of those customers, are receiving more attention.