Parliament has approved the Care Act 2014, ushering in significant reforms to adult social work.
Care minister Norman Lamb said the Act, which has now received Royal Assent, “represents the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years”.
The Act introduces numerous changes including putting personal budgets on a legal footing and placing a duty on councils to provide preventive services to support people’s health.
The legislation also introduces a national minimum eligibility threshold council-funded social care and a limit on the amount people will have to pay towards their own care costs.
To help social care professionals and managers get to grips with what the Care Act means for them, Community Care is holding a conference on the legislation on 17 September in London. Register now for a discounted place.
“Care and support is something that nearly everyone in this country will experience at some point in their lives,” said Lamb.
“Even if you don’t need care yourself, you will probably know a family member or friend who does, or you may care for someone. And many more of us will need care in the future, so it is important for us to have a modern system that can keep up with the demands of a growing ageing population.
“Until now it’s been almost impossible for people who need care, carers, and even those who manage the care system, to understand how the previous law affecting them worked.
“Over nearly 70 years it has been added to again and again and is out of date and confusing. The Care Act has created a single, modern law that makes it clear what kind of care people should expect.”
Other measures in the Act include:
- A duty on councils to consider the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of individuals in need of care;
- New powers for the chief inspector of social care to hold poor-performing providers to account;
- A requirement for councils to offer deferred payment schemes so that individuals do not have to sell their homes to pay for residential care in their lifetime;
- New rights for carers including the right to an assessment of their needs and the right to get support if they meet eligibility criteria;
The Department of Health will launch a consultation of the draft regulations and guidance connected to the measures within Act in the near future.