Community Care Law and The Care Act 2014
The Care Act 2014 Part 1 came into force on 1st April 2015. This now replaces the majority of guidance and law in community care that existed up until that date.
The changes now mean that the previous ‘Prioritising Needs’ guidance and the associated law has been replaced for all cases involving those upward of 18 years of age or those in the transition from children’s to adult’s services. The Children’s Act 1989 is still in force for those under the age of 18.
The immediate question for many is “How does this affect me?”
The answer can be found in the Care Act 2014 (Transitional Provision) Order 2015, which states that you are governed by the previous rules, guidance and regulations until an assessment or review is completed after the 1st April 2015. Everyone in receipt of support must be reviewed or assessed by the 1st April 2016.
Where can I find the new rules?
Our resources pages has links to the new guidance as well as the old guidance. There are also links to the old legislation as well as many other resources available on the web from sources which we think may be useful.
The Care Act 2014 – Legislation Page
The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014
The Care Act 2014 – Guidance
The Care Act 2014 – Explanatory Notes
What are the key duties under the new act?
Some of the key duties:
- The duty to promote individual wellbeing (section 1)
- The duty to prevent the needs for care and support (section 2)
- The duty to provide information and advice in it’s area (section 4)
- The duty to promote diversity and quality in the provision of services (section 5)
- The duty to cooperate with relevant partners (section 6 & 7)
- To assess the needs of adults and their carers (section 9(1) and section 10(1))
- To provide copies of the needs assessment, care and support plan (section 12(3))
- To meet the needs of those eligible for care (section 18(1) and section 20(1))
- To make direct payments subject to conditions (sections 31 – 33)
- To assess a person moving between local authorities (section 37)
- To meet a person’s care needs during moves/assessment process (section 38)
- To undertake a safeguarding enquiry where required (section 42)
- To provide advocates for those that require them (section 67(2))
- To assess children who are likely to have needs for care and support after they turn 18 (section 58)
- To assess a child’s carer for a carers assessment (section 60)
- To assess the needs of a young carer caring for an adult (section 63)
The new eligibility criteria for the Care Act is found in the The Care and Support (Elligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014 section 2. The four sections that you can see below are the key criteria that you must meet in order to be eligible for care.
There are effectively three tests, all found in sub section 1, and the details from them are in sub sections 3, 4 and 5.
“Needs which meet the eligibility criteria: adults who need care and support
Section 2.— ‘The Care and Support (Elligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014
(1) An adult’s needs meet the eligibility criteria if—
(a) the adult’s needs arise from or are related to a physical or mental impairment or illness;
(b) as a result of the adult’s needs the adult is unable to achieve two or more of the outcomes specified in paragraph (2); and
(c) as a consequence there is, or is likely to be, a significant impact on the adult’s well-being.
(2) The specified outcomes are—
(a) managing and maintaining nutrition;
(b) maintaining personal hygiene;
(c) managing toilet needs;
(d) being appropriately clothed;
(e) being able to make use of the adult’s home safely;
(f) maintaining a habitable home environment;
(g) developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships;
(h) accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering;
(i) making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport, and recreational facilities or services; and
(j) carrying out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child.
(3) For the purposes of this regulation an adult is to be regarded as being unable to achieve an outcome if the adult—
(a) is unable to achieve it without assistance;
(b) is able to achieve it without assistance but doing so causes the adult significant pain, distress or anxiety;
(c) is able to achieve it without assistance but doing so endangers or is likely to endanger the health or safety of the adult, or of others; or
(d) is able to achieve it without assistance but takes significantly longer than would normally be expected.
(4) Where the level of an adult’s needs fluctuates, in determining whether the adult’s needs meet the eligibility criteria, the local authority must take into account the adult’s circumstances over such period as it considers necessary to establish accurately the adult’s level of need. “
The simple version of the above is that a person must:
- Be aged over 18; and
- Have a physical or mental impairment; and
- Have two or more outcomes from sub section 2 (above) that they are unable to achieve; and
- That there will be a significant effect on the wellbeing of the person as a consequence.
There are no set timeframes for an assessment to be carried out but the following is detailed in the Care and Support Guidance (see the resources section) which is of some use. Effectively the timeframe should not unduly delay a care provision and should be undertaken in a timely manner.
10.84. While there is no defined timescale for the completion of the care and support
planning process, the plan should be completed in a timely fashion, proportionate to the
needs to be met. Local authorities must ensure that sufficient time is taken to ensure the plan
is appropriate to meet the needs in question, and is agreed by the person the plan is intended
for. The planning process should not unduly delay needs being met.
11.5. The process of allocating the personal budget should be completed in a timely
manner, proportionate to the needs to be met. At all times the person should be informed
where they are in the care planning process, what will happen next and the likely timeframes.
11.9. There may also be cases where a person prefers to use a mixed package of care
and support. For example, this may be a direct payment to the person for some of their
needs, with the remainder of the personal budget used to meet needs via local authority or
third- party provision, or any combination of the above. The method of allocating the personal
budget should be decided and agreed during the care and support planning process (see
chapter 10). It is important that these arrangements can be subsequently adjusted if the
person wishes this, with the minimum of procedure. The process for allocating and agreeing
the personal budget via the planning process should be as straightforward and as timely as
possible so that the person can access the budget without significant delay.