The Care Bill after long and detailed consideration in both the House of Lords and the House of Parliament, passed its final parliamentary hurdle on 14 May 2014, and became the Care Act 2014. It will impact on the way local authorities deliver services, it gives carers rights and it will have implications for the way care is paid for by you and I.
Apart from reforming many aspects of adult social care, the Act also consolidates and up-dates much of the law relating to the provision of care. As a result it goes some way to answering the following questions:
What duties do Local Authorities have in relation to care needs?
The Act places a duty on councils to consider the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of individuals in need of care. For the first time, the obligation to co-ordinate the assessment and delivery of these needs lies with local councils.
How do councils discharge their duties?
The Act places a duty on councils to provide preventative services to maintain a person’s health. They must also provide person centred care and a Personal Budget (dedicated finances) to be used to meet the identified care needs.
Who checks the Councils are doing what they should?
The Act gives powers to a Chief Inspector of Social Care, thereby establishing a means of inspecting and holding poor-performing providers to account.
What about Carers?
The Actgives rights to carers, which include a right for their needs to be assessed, and the right to receive support if they meet certain eligibility criteria.
What about paying for care?
The Act obliges councils to offer deferred payment schemes to any individual who needs to pay for residential care, thereby avoiding a sale of that person’s home.
In addition as part of the reforms following from the Dilnot Commission Report, the cap on personal ‘care costs’ (which do not include accommodation costs) is set at £72,000.
It will take some time for the structures needed to be fully implemented. Various charities and support groups are co-ordinating efforts to ensure those they support understand what the changes mean to them, and to ensure there is no delay in implementation.
The Act addresses many more issues and addresses them in greater depth and detail than it is possible to do in this article. However, those who think they may be affected may want to contact their local authority to check they are not overlooked.
How the Act may affect different people has been considered by the Older and Vulnerable Client team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys. We can advise how the Act may affect you, especially in terms of the impact on care costs.
For further information and advice please contact Charlotte Thornton-Smith, Partner and Head of Health and Social Care at Harrison Clark Rickerbys on 01905 744811 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.