The Care Act (2014)

The Care Act 2014 replaced most previous law on carers and people being cared for. It outlines how local authorities should:
  • carry out carer’s assessments and needs assessments
  • determine who is eligible for support
  • charge for both residential care and community care

It also places new obligations on local authorities.

The Care Act is mainly for adults in need of care and support, and their adult carers. There are some provisions for the transition of children in need of care and support, parent carers of children in need of care and support, and young carers. However the main provisions for these groups (before transition) are in the Children and Families Act 2014.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities must:

  • carry out an assessment of anyone who appears to require care and support, regardless of their likely eligibility for state-funded care
  • focus the assessment on the person’s needs and how they impact on their wellbeing, and the outcomes they want to achieve
  • involve the person in the assessment and, where appropriate, their carer or someone else they nominate
  • provide access to an independent advocate to support the person’s involvement in the assessment if required
  • consider other things besides care services that can contribute to the desired outcomes (e.g. preventive services, community support)
  • use the new national minimum threshold to judge eligibility for publicly funded care and support.

Find out more about eligibility criteria for Care Act assessments here.

There are also additional rights for carers which put them on the same footing as the people they care for. All carers are be 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.

Under the Care Act local authorities must arrange an independent advocate to facilitate the involvement of a person in their assessment, in the preparation of their care and support plan and in the review of their care plan, if two conditions are met:

  • the person has substantial difficulty in being fully involved in these processes
  • there is no one appropriate available to support and represent the person’s wishes.

Find out more about Care Act Advocacy here.