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Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 represents the biggest reform of care and support in 60 years. It takes forward the Government’s commitments to reform social care legislation and to drive up the quality of care.

Key changes include the introduction of national eligibility criteria, a right to independent advocacy and, from 2016, a cap on care costs for self-funders.

From April 2015, decisions made about the help you receive now must consider your “wellbeing” and what is important to you and your family. Further information about this can be found below.
Healthwatch Nottingham recently undertaken a small project which sought to consider the readiness of the Local Authority to undertake its responsibilities under the new Care Act 2014 via its programme of awareness raising sessions. A report for this project will be published in the coming months.

The video below from Skills for Care provides an introduction to the Care Act

What is the Care Act? from Skills for Care on Vimeo.

The “wellbeing” principle underpins the Care Act and means that from April 2015 your local council must consider and promote your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing when thinking about your care and support needs, with a focus on supporting you to stay healthy and remain independent for longer. “Wellbeing” is a broad concept, and the act describes it as relating to the following areas in particular:

  • Personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect);
  • Physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing;
  • Protection from abuse and neglect;
  • Control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support provided and the way it is provided);
  • Participation in work, education, training or recreation;
  • Social and economic wellbeing;
  • Domestic, family and personal relationships;
  • Suitability of living accommodation;
  • The individual’s contribution to society

Every case should be considered on an individual level. The local authority should however always seek assessments to understand how decisions will impact on any of the nine areas listed above that relate to your particular circumstances.
All councils will use the same national level of care and support needs to assess what help they can give you. This may result in you being eligible for care and support, and will make it easier for you to plan for the future. It will also give everyone peace of mind that wherever you live in the country, or plan to move within England, if your needs meet the threshold you will be eligible for support. If you decide to move to another area, councils will also have to work together to guarantee that there is no gap in your care.
Anyone receiving care and support will be informed how much it will cost to meet their needs and how much the council will contribute towards the cost. You will have more control over how that money is spent. Whatever your level of need, be it physical, mental or emotional, your local council will be able to put you in touch with the right organisation to support your wellbeing and help you remain independent for longer.
Independent Age has created a guide that concentrates on parts of the Care Act that will most affect people who use social care services, or who may need to use them in the future. This includes people who fund their own care. The guide includes lots of information to help you to understand how the Care Act may impact on your circumstances including information about:

  • What to expect from your local council
  • Having your needs assessed
  • The cap on care costs
  • Reviewing your care
  • And much more…

You can download the guide from here.

There is also information about care and support on NHS Choices. You can visit the page here.

When it will be implemented

The Act is divided into three main parts. This means that some changes were introduced in April 2015 and others in April 2016.

In April 2015 the following were introduced:

  • A new national level of care and support needs to make care and support more consistent across the country
  • New support for carers
  • Deferred payment agreements for care costs

As part of the 2016 changes, there will also be more financial help for those who need it and people with modest means will benefit too. There will also be a new form of protection from unlimited care costs.
The Act will put a limit on the amount those receiving care will have to pay towards the costs of their care, with a cap on care costs beginning in April 2016. The remainder of Part One of the Act, such as national eligibility criteria for care and support and universal deferred payments, will come into force in April 2015.

Where to access further information

Nottingham City Council have a page on the Care Act on their website (www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/careact), to help people understand the Act and how they are responding to it in Nottingham – this is being continually updated as they develop their response.

To find out more about the changes and how you might benefit, visit the Government Care and Support page.

The Department of Health (DoH) has published guidance about what is changing: Care  and Support – What’s changing? They have also prepared an 

about the Care Act, and a set of Factsheets.

The Local Government Association have prepared a document, Get in on the Act. TheCare Act 2014, which gives you the low down on all the proposals. They have also produced a collation of resources on The Care Act basics.

Skills for Care is the employer-led workforce development body for adult social care in England – they have provided information and resources on their dediceted Care Act page.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) provides support, guidance, resources, training and consultancy for local authorities and care providers, in line with the letter and the spirit of the Care Act.

Independent Age have produced a guide that concentrates on parts of the Care Act that will most affect people who use social care services, or who may need to use them in the future – this includes people who fund their own care.

The BBC have produced a Care Calculator, which provides information and helps estimate care costs in your area.

Think local, act personal have developed a Care and Support Jargon Buster – a plain English guide to the most commonly used social care words and phrases and what they mean.