The information below explains the current legal and policy context for the delivery of adult social care services. This is an overview and should not be taken as a comprehensive summary of all the council’s legal duties.
Adult social care policies
Local authorities have a statutory duty to carry out an assessment of need for any adult or carer who appears to have any level of care and support services and determine whether any of those needs are eligible for support from the local authority. (Care Act 2014).
Eligibility for a service provided by the local authority must be determined following an assessment of need in line with the national eligibility framework. This is prescribed by the Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014 and subject to the Care and Support Statutory Guidance.
Under Section 2 of the Care Act, the local authority has a duty to take action to prevent or reduce an adult’s or carer’s needs for care and support.
Sections 39 to 41 of the Care Act and the associated Care and Support (Ordinary Residence) (Specified Accommodation) Regulations 2014 provide the legal framework for determining where an adult is ordinarily resident for the purpose of identifying where responsibility lies between different local authorities for the funding and / or provision of care for adults with eligible assessed needs. There is additional guidance in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance (Chapter 19).
The Care and Support (Ordinary Residence Disputes etc) Regulations 2014 provide the framework for resolving disputes between local authorities.
Once a local authority has undertaken an assessment and concluded that a person has needs that meet the national eligibility criteria, then the authority must meet those needs (Care Act section section18).
The local authority has a power to meet needs without carrying out an assessment if those needs are urgent. It also has a power to meet needs that are not eligible under the national eligibility criteria if it chooses to do so. (Care Act section 19).
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) applies to anyone over 16 who is unable to make all or some decisions for themselves. The MCA should be considered by everyone involved in the assessment or provision of care, treatment and support for people who may lack capacity.
The MCA provides the framework for best interests decisions, lasting powers of attorney, court appointed deputies, deprivation of liberty safeguards, the Court of Protection.
Guidance on all aspects of the Mental Capacity Act and links to the Office of the Public Guardian can be found on Ministry of Justice.
Local authorities have overarching duties to safeguard both children and vulnerable adults from abuse. It is everyone’s responsibility to recognise suspected or actual abuse and to take appropriate action.
The Care Act 2014 provides the statutory framework for adult safeguarding and for Safeguarding Adults Boards. Chapter 14 of the Care Act Statutory Guidance covers safeguarding and replaces the No Secrets guidance.
An updated Statement of Government Policy on Adult Safeguarding (May 2013) sets out the key principles for all agencies involved in safeguarding and how these should translate into outcomes for individuals.
The Equality Act 2010 requires all organisations that provide a service to the public to make “reasonable adjustments” to those services to ensure they are accessible for disabled people. Reasonable adjustments are not limited to removing physical barriers to accessing services but include changes to the ways in which services are delivered and ensuring that policies, procedures and staff training all enable services to work equally well for people with disabilities.
Government policy is that everyone who receives social care support, regardless of their level of need, in any setting, will have choice and control over how that support is delivered. This means that individuals exercise control over their care. Personal budgets, preferably as direct payments, are provided to all eligible people. Information about care and support is available for all local people, regardless of whether or not they fund their own care.
The Department of Health Vision for Adult Social Care, Capable Communities and Active Citizens (2010) describes the Government’s policy in this area. Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) is the national partnership responsible for driving forward personalisation and community-based care. TLAP’s framework, Making it Real sets out the main characteristics that people expect from a truly personalised service.
Direct Payments are cash payments in lieu of a service made directly to individuals with eligible assessed needs and carers so that they can purchase the assistance or services they need, instead of the authority providing those services.
Sections 31 to 33 of the Care Act provide the legal framework for direct payments, along with the Care and Support (Direct Payments) Regulations 2014. Chapter 12 of the Care and Support Statutory Guidance provides additional guidance.
The Care Act 2014 provides the framework for local authorities to charge people who are in receipt of adult social care services. Any contribution to the cost of care is made in line with statutory guidance.
The Council will only ask people to contribute what it is practicable for them to pay and any contribution will be based upon a financial assessment and be fair and transparent.
No one will be asked to contribute more than the cost of the service to the Council.