The Care Act 2014 constitutes the most significant reform of adult social care since the start of the welfare state, 60 years ago. but BackCare members should not expect an upheaval.
Part One of the act comes into force on April 1 and brings care onto a legal footing with a national standard of care and support.
The new law also gives a duty to local authorities to provide better information and advice and a new universal deferred payment scheme will enable people to keep their homes by deferring some care costs to a charge being placed on the property.
“Some of it is putting accepted good practice into legislation. Some of it is about tidying up the legislation so it flows and makes sense,” said Stuart Blackman from BackCare.
The portability aspect of the act means that if you move to a different area, your care package goes with you – although it will be re-assessed at some stage.
Stuart went on to say “It means people can access the same level of eligibility in any part of the country.”
It also puts carers on the same footing as those they care for, giving local authorities a duty to assess their needs. “The legal recognition of carers has been long overdue. It’s a fantastic thing.” said Stuart.
Safeguarding is also being put on a statutory footing for the first time, giving local authorities a duty to investigate concerns of harm to a vulnerable person, with a multi-agency safeguarding board
Part 1 of the Care Act 2014:
- ensures that people’s wellbeing, and the outcomes which matter to them, will be at the heart of every decision that is made
- provides for a single national minimum threshold for eligibility for care and support
- puts carers on the same footing as those they care for, with a national eligibility threshold and rights to services
- creates legal duties to prevent and delay needs for care and support and to provide information, advice and advocacy
- puts Adult Safeguarding Boards on a statutory footing and makes the NHS and police statutory partners
- creates legal duties to co-operate and integrate between the NHS and adult social care
- embeds rights to choice, personalised care plans and personal budgets and requirements for councils to ensure a range of high quality services are available locally
- extends financial support through increased means test thresholds and a cap on the costs of care that people will have to fund themselves
- ensures that people do not have to sell their homes in their lifetime to pay for residential care, by providing for a new universal deferred payments scheme
- gives new guarantees to ensure continuity of care when people move between areas, to remove the fear that people will be left without the care they need
- includes new protections to ensure that no one goes without care if their provider fails, regardless of who pays for their care
- creates a new duty to provide social care to people in prisons (this does not include safeguarding which is the responsibility of the prison service)
Part 2 of the Act underpins the Care Quality Commission’s new inspection regimes for hospitals and care homes, Part 3 relates to Health Education England and the Health Research Authority, and Part 4 creates the statutory underpinnings for the Better Care Fund.