Understand the Care Act 2014 from A-Z

Improve your Care Act practice by understanding the meaning of key terms in the legislation and its statutory guidance

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Photo: ALDECAstudio/Fotolia

As well as changing the legal landscape of social care in England, the Care Act 2014 has also changed its language. To help social care practitioners navigate this new terrain, Community Care Inform Adults has produced an A-Z of the Care Act 2014, providing definitions and interpretations of 69 key Care Act terms.

Out have gone concepts such as ‘welfare’ and ‘community care’, replaced by ‘wellbeing’ and ‘care and support’. Terms that had been in general usage, such as ‘support plan’, now mean something different. And some phrases that appear similar on the surface – joint assessment and combined assessment, for example – have different meanings under the act.

The A-Z has been written by Pete Feldon, a freelance Care Act consultant and trainer. It provides a list of words and phrases followed by a definition based on what the act, regulations or guidance say that they mean. In addition it provides further explanation about the terms and comment to assist with clarification, provide relevant other information and identify where the meaning is not as clear as it could be. An example of what the guide offers, for the term ‘care and support plan’, is provided below.


A care and support plan is a document prepared by a local authority setting out:

  • a person’s care and support needs
  • which of those needs are eligible
  • the needs that are going to be met by the local authority, and how these will be met
  • the personal budget for the adult concerned
  • information and advice on how to meet or reduce the person’s needs for care and support and prevent or delay the development of such needs, including non-eligible needs (paragraph 10.36, Care Act statutory guidance).

[Source: Section 25(1) of the Care Act]

Further explanation

A local authority must prepare a care and support plan whenever it is required to meet a person’s needs or where it chooses to meet a person’s needs (Source of duty: Section 24(1)).

Section 25(1) sets out the required information the care and support plan must contain and is the way plans should be drawn up is elaborated on in chapter 10 of the statutory guidance.


For many local authorities and providers the term ‘care and support plan’ will replace the existing terminology of ‘support plan’. Under the Care Act, a ‘support plan’ refers to the document that local authorities must prepare for carers whose needs they are meeting.

Find out more

The A-Z is free to access for subscribers to Community Care Inform Adults. It is part of Inform Adults’ knowledge and practice hub on the Care Act, which includes legal information, practice guidance and training sessions to help bolster your Care Act practice. Inform Adults is available only through corporate subscriptions purchased by organisations employing social care professionals and by universities, for use by staff and students.



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5 Responses to Understand the Care Act 2014 from A-Z

  1. David Gaylard July 25, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    This is a great resource but corporate membership is prohibitatively expensive. ….any chance of starting practitioner or student rates so that it can be accessed by a wider audience?

  2. K8 July 25, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    I agree – I wanted to join but they said it was corporate only!

  3. Jane July 26, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

    I agree – I asked about joining and was told its organisations only

    • Mithran Samuel July 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

      Hi All
      Thank you for your comments. I’m sorry you are not able to access the piece. I have amended the article to make clear that Inform Adults is available only through corporate subscription.

  4. Caz Lawson July 29, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    It is not good enough that after asking time and time again the increasing numbers of independent social workers, practice educators and practice assessors cannot access Inform Because of the corporate requirement and fee. Most of us need to keep up to date without help from an organisation, which is difficult and expensive enough without being excluded from the biggest resource for the profession. Shame!