Biggest shake-up in adult care law in 60 years proposed

The government has signalled the biggest reform of adult care law in 60 years after a three-year review proposed sweeping changes to adult safeguarding and carers' rights, and the extension of direct payments to residential care. Care services minister Paul Burstow (pictured) described the reforms as the foundation for change.

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The government has signalled the biggest reform of adult care law in 60 years after a three-year review proposed sweeping changes to adult safeguarding and carers’ rights, and the extension of direct payments to residential care.

The Law Commission’s proposals to simplify and modernise the law on adult care, published today, will inform government legislation next year. Although ministers have yet to say which recommendations they will accept, care services minister Paul Burstow said: “This report provides foundation for the most significant single reform of social care law in 60 years.”

[Read our full analysis of the Law Commission’s proposals.]

Among the commission’s recommendations are:

• A set of statutory principles setting out the purpose of adult social care.

• The introduction of direct payments for residential care.

• A statutory basis for adult safeguarding boards.

• A duty on councils to investigate adult safeguarding cases.

• A duty on councils to assess carers without them having to request an assessment.

• A duty on councils to produce a care and support plan for all eligible users and carers, including self-funders.

• Separate care laws for England and Wales.

“Today signals a significant step in moving us closer to a clearer and more coherent framework for adult social care,” said law commissioner Frances Patterson. “Our recommendations will bring much-needed clarity and accessibility to this important area of the law, and have a major, beneficial impact on the lives of many of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The government is set to consider the commission’s recommendations alongside those of the Dilnot Commission on long-term care funding, which will report in July.

Further coverage of the report

‘Service users should get direct payments for residential care’

Law review backs off giving social workers powers of entry

Legal analysis: Don’t let jargon ruin the Law Commission’s reforms

What do you think? Have your say on CareSpace

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Law Commission reassures over future of adult care duties

Law Commission to draft new adult social care law

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