Directors of adult social services have celebrated last week’s coming into force of the Care Act 2014 as marking probably the most significant development in services for older and disabled people since the implementation of the Beveridge Report in 1948.
According to ADASS President David Pearson “The 60-odd intervening years have seen vast social changes, particularly in the roles of women and societal attitudes generally towards disability and disabled people. And it is nothing less than tremendous that progress on a number of fronts have led to older people living longer and living better.
“Inevitably, legislation had to change in order to reflect these momentous times. Think Tanks and other agencies began focusing our minds on the strategic shift from welfare services to services organised around wellbeing and personalisation, and began to make serious improvement in our wider understanding of good practice.
“The Care Act at last promises to bring social services and social care firmly into the twenty first century. It is a modern Act for a modern service.”
He went on to detail the new responsibilities and approaches social care services will need to adopt from Day One – April 1 2015 – including general responsibilities for wellbeing and prevention; provisions for assessment; carers; safeguarding and new requirements for information and advice and a new basis for the relationship with care providers to developing a sustainable, diverse and improving social care market with providers.
In a year’s time the same legislation will introduce new thresholds and payment caps for people receiving social care services at home or in care homes.
Mr Pearson ended: “We have still not fully agreed with central government the additional costs that we shall have to incur in order to implement the legislation fully and successfully. There is no doubt that part of that success would lie in ensuring that the £4.3bn gap in funding between now and 2020 is addressed. There is a mismatch between rising demand and reducing resources. But ongoing discussions about these issues should not detract from the importance of the 2014 Act, the significant changes it will wrought in our services, and the important benefits it will bring older people and adults with disabilities in the coming years and decades.”