Councils must implement the new Fair Access to Care Services
eligibility criteria whether they are ready to or not, according to
revised guidance from the Department of Health which says they have
“had plenty of time” to prepare, writes Ruth
Amended practice guidance on the implementation of the FACS was
published on 6 March in response to local authority queries.
It makes it clear that new eligibility criteria for community
care services must be applied to all new cases from 7 April 2003
without exception, whether staff are trained and policy finalised
Care plans for all cases which were open on 7th April
should be reassessed using the new criteria within 12 months.
The guidance also emphasises local authorities responsibilities
for housing adult asylum seekers with care needs in the light of
the Law Lords judgement in the case of Westminster City Council v
the National Asylum Support Service (NASS).
It states: “Where destitute asylum seekers have assessed care
needs… no matter whether these care needs fall within or
outside councils eligibility criteria, councils should accommodate
such asylum seekers under section 21 of the National Assistance
Act. Services provided must be sufficient to address their
For futher information contact the Department of Health on 0207