The Care Act 2014
The Care Act 2014 simplifies, consolidates and improves existing legislation for carers. For the first time the legislation puts carers on an equal legal footing to those they care for. The Care Act defines a carer as:
“an adult who provides or intends to provide care for another adult (“adult needing care")
Click on one of the following headings to find out more:
The principle of promoting wellbeing is the driving force behind the legislation and local authorities have a duty to promote an individual's wellbeing. This means that they should always consider the impact of caring on your wellbeing including:
- Personal dignity
- Physical mental health
- Protection from abuse and neglect
- Control over day to day life
- Participation in work, education or training
- Social and economic wellbeing
- Domestic, family and personal relationships
- Suitability of living accommodation
The Care Act places a duty on local authorities to prevent, reduce and delay needs for care and support. This includes providing or arranging for the provision of services in their area which will prevent or delay the development of or reduce the need for support by carers.
This principle applies equally to carers and the person you care for.
The Care Act places a duty on local authorities to establish an information and advice service about how the system operates in their area, the choice and types of care and support, how to access care and support, how to access independent financial advice on care issues, and how to raise issues of concern. This includes the provision of information and advice to carers. North Tyneside Council funds the Carers' Centre to deliver an information and advice service to carers in the borough. Please click here to find out about information and advice available from the Centre.
The Care Act places a duty to provide independent advocacy to represent and support an individual if needed to facilitate their involvement in assessments and preparing support plans. This includes advocacy support for carers, carers of children at transition age and young carers at transition age. Please click here to read about Advocacy Support which is available from the Centre.
If the Local Authority is satisfied that there is a person who is appropriate to represent and support the person (and who is not being paid to provide care) the local authority is not required to provide an advocate.
Adult Assessments (i.e assessments for adults with care needs) establishes a right for adults to an assessment based on the appearance of need regardless of their financial resources or level of needs. This assessment must take into consideration the wishes of the adult and how the provision of care could achieve day to day outcomes. The adult with care needs, any carer, and any other adult requested must be actively involved in the assessment.
The Care Act places a new single duty for carers to receive an assessment regardless of their needs for support or their financial resources, or those of the adult that they care for.
The assessment must consider how the provision of support would enable a carer to achieve their desired day to day outcomes. The assessment must consider whether you are willing, and able, to continue to care and have regard to whether you are working, training or in education or wish to do so. The assessment must also consider what resources or support you can access from the wider community. You can refuse an assessment.
A carer’s right to an assessment is independent of the person you care for (e.g. you still have the right to an assessment even if the person you care refuses an assessment). If you agree, the Local Authority can undertake a joint assessment with the person you care for but you should always be given the opportunity to talk without the person you care for being present if needed.
The Care Act has introduced an national eligibility criteria which applies for access to services funded by the local authority to ensure a more equal level of provision across the country. Where your identified needs meet the criteria, the local authority must consider what could be done to meet these. If your needs do not meet the criteria the Local Authority must still provide a written record of advice on what could be done to reduce, prevent and meet needs.
The Care Act provides a new legal entitlement for carers to support. If you are an ordinarily resident or present in the Local Authority’s area and your needs meet the eligibility criteria, the Local Authority has a duty to meet your needs for support. This duty can be met through:
- Provision of support direct to you.
- Provision of care and support to the person you care for with their agreement.
If you or the person you care for is deemed to have eligible needs, the Local Authority should prepare a care and support plan for the person you care for and a support plan for you. Your plan must help you decide how your needs should be met and which (if any) would be met by direct payment. Where you have received a Carer’s Assessment but the Local Authority has assessed that you do not meet the criteria for support, you should be given written reasons for not meeting those needs, and information about what can be done to meet or reduce needs.
A carer’s personal budget is an amount of money that is made available to you to support you in your caring role. It is used to pay for support or services that you receive, not services to the person that you care for, such as respite.
The Care Act puts adult safeguarding on a legal footing and local authorities must make enquiries where they have ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ that an adult in their area, in need of care and support and incapable of protecting themselves, is at risk of abuse and neglect (this includes financial abuse).
The Care Act recognises the key role of carers in relation to safeguarding. For example, a carer may witness or report abuse or neglect; experience intentional or unintentional harm from the adult they are trying to support or a carer may (unintentionally or intentionally) harm or neglect the adult they support. The Local Authority must view the situation holistically and look at the safety and well-being of both the carer and the person they care for. The Act makes it clear throughout the need for preventing abuse and neglect wherever possible.
If you would like to find out more information about the Care Act, please contact the Centre on (0191) 643 2298.
If someone depends on you, you can depend on us.