What is the Care Act?
The legislation sets out how people’s care and support needs should be met and introduces the right to an assessment for anyone, including carers and self-funders, in need of support.
The Care Act in England focuses on the activities someone can do, rather than those they cannot.
The act’s “wellbeing principle” highlights a local authority’s duty to ensure people’s wellbeing is at the centre of all it does. There will be more emphasis on helping people to connect with their local community.
Also, for the first time, the rights of those providing care for relatives and other loved ones are on the same legal footing as those they care for. Local authorities have a legal duty to put support in place for carers when the impact of their caring role reaches the nationally set eligibility threshold.
The other key change is that carers have a clear right to an assessment of what impact their caring role has on them, their family finances, ability to work and their health and wellbeing (given that they might be sleep-deprived or feeling pushed to breaking point).
The Care Act develops in law important principles about how care and support should be provided. It should be designed around the needs and wishes of the individual and take into account the impact of disability and long-term conditions on the whole family with solutions put in place that support complex caring needs and responsibilities.
Why was the Care Act introduced?
The changes aim to enable people to have more control over their own lives, with the long term aim of helping people stay independent.
When does it come into effect?
Many of the changes came into effect on 1 April 2015, though there is expected to be an extensive settling-down period stretching into 2016.