The Care Act 2014 came into effect on 1st April 2015 and represents the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years, putting people and their carers in control of their care and support. The Act combined various existing pieces of legislation that shaped how social care was arranged in Britain, and aimed to make it easier for the public to understand why things happen in a particular way. It also changed many aspects of how support is arranged, including for carers, and gave greater control and influence to those in need of support. Some of the most significant elements of the Act are:
- Rights for carers which put them on the same footing as the people they care for. All carers are entitled to an assessment. If a carer is eligible for support for particular needs, they have a legal right to receive support for those needs, just like the people they care for.
- A set of criteria that makes it clearer when local authorities have to provide support to people, and aims to ensure a fairer national system which reaches those most in need.
- A change to the way local authorities complete assessments with those in need of support. People in need of support will be encouraged to think about what outcomes they want to achieve in their lives. These outcomes can be anything that enables them to feel a greater sense of physical or emotional well-being.
- An emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable people in our society from abuse and neglect.
- An emphasis on prevention as local authorities and other providers of support encourage and assist people to lead healthy lives which will reduce the chances of them needing more support in the future.
- An emphasis on local authorities providing clear information and advice which will help the public to make informed choices on their support arrangements, and enable them to stay in control of their lives.
- An emphasis on existing Personal Budgets which give people the power to spend allocated money on tailored care that suits their individual needs as part of their support plan.
- An emphasis on those most in need being given access to someone to speak up on their behalf when they are dealing with social care professionals.
- Greater regulation for those who provide professional care and support, and tougher penalties for those who do not provide care and support of a high enough standard.
Some useful links
Carers UK: their FAQ page
Carers Trust: their Care Act 2014 page
Sheffield Carers Centre: our Carers Needs Assessment page
Revised 03 January 2018