Fears over government guidance on the Care Act 2014 have been voiced by UKIP health spokesman Louise Bours in the wake of an academic report.
It is claimed that the draft advice, which is expected to form council policy and practice, contradicts the aim of the Act, which is to put people in control of their own support.
The two academics from Brunel University, who have studied this guidance in depth, conclude that the guidance simply encourages councils to perpetuate the current approach involving a ‘system of eligibility that leads to practices that are resource-led, not person-centred or needs-led’.
“The whole point of this Act is for there to be a person-centred approach but alarmingly the authors of the report, Colin Slasberg and Peter Beresford, claim that the guidance seems to go against this,” said Ms Bours, North West MEP.
“They say, in the journal Disability and Society, that it refuses to define a ‘standard of wellbeing’ that should be aspired to by a care service and also rejects the established concept of ‘independent living’.
“I am also concerned the guidance reinforces the fact that final decisions about a person’s care continue to remain with the council.”
The article concludes that the effect of the guidance ‘ is to create a smokescreen for the continuation of a system that has served short-term political objectives well, but has been anathema to the person-centred system that government claims to want.’
“This is surely wrong and at odds with the ethos of the Act. Social care is obviously an extremely difficult issue and demands for it are increasing rapidly with an ageing population. That is why reforms have been sought and it is worrying if councils are instead encouraged to maintain the status quo,” said Ms Bours.
“It is a vital issue which strikes at the heart of community life and the opportunities offered by this Act, hailed as the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years, must not be wasted,” she added.