What is the Care Act 2014?
The Care Act 2014 consolidates and updates the law on adult care in England and is widely considered to be the most significant piece of legislation in this area for 60 years. The majority of the provisions of the Care Act will be implemented on 1 April 2015, with others following in April 2016.
Duties of local authorities
The Care Act introduces the following general duties on local authorities:
• Promoting individual well being
• Preventing needs arising for care and support by providing or arranging services, facilities or resources
• Promoting integration of care and support with health and other services
• Providing information and advice to adults and carers
• Promoting diversity and quality in provision of services
• Co-operating generally and in specific cases with third parties, such as the NHS
• Local authorities are required to assess the needs of individuals who may require care and support, as well as the needs of their carers, regardless of the nature or extent of those needs or the individual’s ability to fund that care or support
• A care and support plan must be developed setting out how these needs will be met. The plans must be kept under review, with the guidance to local authorities suggesting this is done ‘no later than every 12 months’
• Local authorities will be able to charge for the cost they incur in providing social care and support services, unless one of the exceptions in the regulations and guidance to the Care Act applies. Local authorities are under a duty to carry out a financial assessment if it is going to charge for services
• The Care Act introduces personal budgets for individuals with care and support needs, as well as their carers, and is designed to give people wider choice and control over the provision of care and support services
• The Care Act provides a power to enable direct payments to be made to the person in need of care and support, or a nominated or authorised person in their place if appropriate. The direct payment must be sufficient to meet the needs of the person the local authority is under a duty to meet
• The Care Act introduces a cap on care costs. The detail of this is yet to be finalised and these provisions are not due to be implemented until April 2016
• Local authorities will be under a duty to offer deferred payment agreements to anyone who meets the criteria for the scheme and they will be able to charge interest and administration charges incurred in providing the agreement. Deferred payment agreements defer the payment of care fees until after death, or on sale of the person’s home, and work by securing the debt against the person’s property
• The Care Act introduces various safeguarding obligations on local authorities and creates new penalties (both civil and criminal)
• Local authorities have a duty to arrange independent advocacy if an individual would experience difficulty in participating in their assessment and/or preparation of a care and support plan and there is no one else appropriate and able to assist them
• The Care Act contains various provisions relating to the transition of disabled children and their carers into adult services
If you would like to discuss how the Care Act 2014 may affect you or a friend or family member, please contact one of our solicitors on 01737 854 500, email [email protected] or visit www.morrlaw.com
Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.