The long-awaited guidance on setting eligibility criteria for
adult social care has been published alongside a new implementation
timetable – but no new funds, writes Lauren
Councils with social services responsibilities have until 7
April 2003 to review and consult on their existing eligibility
criteria for adult social care to bring it in line with the new
guidance – a year later than the draft guidance suggested
when it was published in July 2001.
From April 2003, the revised criteria should be applied to all
new referrals and requests for help. Cases already open must be
reviewed according to the criteria by April 2004.
The guidance does not differ hugely from the draft, although the
thresholds for determining seriousness of risk to independence
– critical, substantial, moderate, and low – appear to
have been set marginally higher in the final version.
More positively, greater emphasis has been placed in the final
guidance on rooting out age discrimination, on the use of direct
payments to meet eligible needs, and on arrangements for
transitions between councils and between children and adult
Although there are several references to councils taking their
resources into account when drawing up their criteria, the final
guidance stresses that upper-cost parameters for care packages must
only be used “as a guide”, and that services should be tailored to
each individual’s circumstances.
Councils which only provide certain services to particular
groups of service users, or who have blanket policies about not
providing other services including those geared towards prevention
are also directed to “review their policies”.
‘Fair Access to Care Services’ from www.doh.gov.uk/scg/facs