Quick Guide to the Care Act 2014

Explanatory Excerpt from Guardian, 28th April 2015.

What is the Care Act?
The Care Act 2014 is the most significant change in social care law for 60 years. It applies to England and replaces a host of out-of-date and often confusing care laws.

The legislation sets out how people’s care and support needs should be met and introduces the right to an assessment for anyone, including carers and self-funders, in need of support.

What is the most important change?
The act’s “wellbeing principle” spells out a local authority’s duty to ensure people’s wellbeing is at the centre of all it does. There will be more emphasis on outcomes and helping people to connect with their local community. Also, for the first time, people’s eligibility for services will be the same across England. Another first is that councils are now allowed to contract out social work functions such as assessment.

Why was the Care Act introduced?
The changes aim to enable people to have more control over their own lives. Support should be less about firefighting and more about prevention, with the ultimate goal of helping people stay independent.

When does it come into effect?
Many of the changes took effect on 1 April, though there will be a lengthy settling-down period. By 2016, the final arrangements for the funding of care– including the £72,000 cap on care costs – will be in place.

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