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Care Act 2014: Implications for councils with housing 06/08/2015

26/2015

 

The Care Act 2014 provides a new statutory framework for adult care and support which, with limited exceptions, came into effect in April 2015. It applies primarily to unitary and county councils but has significant implications for all housing authorities.

 

We summarise the implications of the Act for councils with housing:

 

Key points

 

  • Local authorities responsible for care and support are given an explicit duty to promote the well-being of every adult. The definition of well-being includes "suitability of living accommodation"
  • Local authorities responsible for care and support are expected to integrate their services with those provided by the NHS (National Health Service) and other health-related services, including housing
  • Local authorities are required to provide an information and advice service on care and support, and related matters, including housing and finance
  • All local authorities, including housing authorities, are required to cooperate with each other in relation to the provision of care and support. This includes a duty on each local authority to secure cooperation between adult social care, housing, public health and children's services.

 

Background

 

The Act provides a comprehensive, modernized framework for the planning, funding and provision of adult care and support. While primarily focused on the social care responsibilities of unitary and county councils, it has significant implications for housing departments in unitary and district councils.

 

Most provisions of the Act came into force in April 2015. The main exception is the proposal to cap the total amount any individual will pay towards their care costs during their lifetime at £72,000. This was due to come into effect from April 2016 but has now been deferred.

 

The Act is in three parts:

 

  • Part 1 sets out the responsibilities of local authorities in relation to social care
  • Part 2 seeks to improve care standards by putting people and their carers in control of their care and support
  • Part 3 establishes Health Education England and the Health Research Authority.

 

The first seven sections of Part 1 set out the general responsibilities of local authorities. These apply primarily to unitary and county councils, but there implications for all housing authorities.

 

Section 1 creates a new statutory principle that applies to all the functions under Part 1 of the Act (including care and support and safeguarding) and means that whenever a local authority makes a decision about an adult they must promote that adult's well-being. The section provides a broad definition of well-being, which explicitly includes "suitability of living accommodation".

 

Section 2 requires local authorities to ensure the provision of preventative services - that is, services that help prevent, delay or reduce the development of care and support needs. This includes the improvement of housing conditions where these will contribute to prevention, reduction or delay in the need for care and support.

 

Section 3 places a duty on local authorities to carry out their care and support functions with the aim of integrating care and support services with those provided by the NHS or other "health related services" wherever this would improve well-being, prevent, reduce or delay care needs or improve the quality of care. Housing is defined as a health-related service for these purposes.

 

Section 4 creates a duty for local authorities to provide information and advice on care and support available to all the people in a local authority's area. The statutory guidance to the Act makes clear that this duty extends to information and advice about related housing and finance matters, and that these are interconnected.

 

Section 5 creates a general duty for local authorities to promote diversity and quality in the market of care and support providers for people in their local area.

 

Sections 6 and 7 create a general duty to cooperate between the local authority and other organisations which have functions relevant to care and support. This includes a duty on the local authority itself to ensure cooperation between its adult care and support, housing, public health and children's services. It also includes a duty for shire district councils to cooperate with their county councils where necessary, including in relation to housing functions.

 

 

The remaining sections of Part 1 deal with the assessment of care and support needs, specific powers and duties in relation to the provision of care and support, including powers to charge and to operate deferred payments schemes where care costs become a charge on a person's home to be repaid after their death.

 

Sections 15 and 16 introduce a cap on the total amount an individual may be charged for care during their lifetime, initially to be set at £72,000. This was due to be introduced from April 2016, however the government recently announced that implementation will be delayed.

 

Sections 42-47 set out a local authority's responsibilities for adult safeguarding for the first time in primary legislation. They include responsibilities to ensure enquiries into cases of abuse and neglect and to share information, and establishment of Safeguarding Adults Boards on a statutory footing.

 

To view the Act and Statutory Guidance, click below:

 

The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014: Statutory Guidance

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