The Care Act: Putting People in Control of Care and Support
The Care Act 2014, in effect since 2015, is a significant reform in care and support in Britain, giving people and their carers greater control over their well-being. It consolidates various existing laws related to social care to make the system more understandable for the public.
Care Act: Key Developments:
Clearer Support Criteria: The Act establishes new criteria that specify when local authorities must provide support to people, ensuring a fairer national system that reaches those most in need.
Outcome-focused Assessments: Local authorities now conduct assessments with people in need of support, encouraging them to identify the outcomes they want to achieve in their lives. These outcomes, big or small, are aimed at improving their physical and emotional well-being.
Enhanced Rights for Carers: Carers now have the same rights as the people they care for. They are entitled to a carers assessment, and if eligible for support, they have a legal right to receive it, similar to the people they care for.
Protecting Vulnerable Individuals: The Act places a greater emphasis on safeguarding vulnerable people from abuse and neglect.
Emphasis on Prevention: Local authorities and support providers focus on promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing the likelihood of people needing more support in the future.
Clear Information and Advice: Local authorities provide clear information and advice, empowering the public to make informed choices about their support arrangements and stay in control of their lives.
Personal Budgets: There is an emphasis on Personal Budgets, allowing people to use allocated funds for tailored care that suits their unique needs as part of their support plan.
Advocacy for Those in Need: Priority is given to ensuring that those most in need have access to someone who can speak on their behalf when dealing with social care professionals.
Improved Regulation and Penalties: The Act establishes stricter regulations for professional care providers and imposes tougher penalties for substandard care.
Changes in Cost Contribution: There are changes to when and how people will contribute towards the cost of support arranged with their local authority, with most of these changes coming into effect in 2020.
The Care Act: Key Principles
The Care Act outlines key principles for health and social care professionals to work with people:
Respecting Your Views: Professionals consider your views, wishes, feelings, and beliefs in decision-making.
Focus on Well-being: The main aim of professionals is to focus on your well-being, reducing your need for care and support and lessening the likelihood of future support needs.
Consideration of Relevant Circumstances: Decisions take into account all relevant circumstances.
Involvement in Decisions: You are actively involved in the decisions regarding your care and support.
Balancing Well-being: Professionals balance your well-being with that of your family and friends who are involved.
Protection from Abuse and Neglect: Professionals work to protect you and others from abuse and neglect.
Preserving Your Rights and Freedom: Actions taken to support and protect you aim to affect your rights and freedom as minimally as possible.
The Care Act aims to empower people and their carers, promote well-being, and ensure a fair and transparent system of support across the country.
For unpaid carers: Carers UK offer practical advice and support including health, financial and work guides.
For older adults: Age UK can support you with financial concerns, finding care and support and advice about benefits you may be entitled to.
Connect With Other Carers
Find out about news, information and benefits for unpaid carers by joining Care Begins at Home. This online group is for anyone caring for someone at home and offers free expert advice and support.