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The Care Act (2014)

The Care Act 2014 sets out how care and support in England should be provided to adults with care needs, including older people, and how it is paid for.

It supports the personalisation of care services, putting the person at the centre of the process. 

Our key duties under the Care Act are:  

  • promoting individual well-being 
  • preventing needs for care and support 
  • promoting integration of care and support with health services
  • providing information and advice 
  • promoting diversity and quality in provision of services 
  • assessing people’s needs and deciding how to meet them 
  • planning care and support and reviewing those plans 
  • safeguarding adults. 

Other aspects of the Act cover:  

  • care standards, including the role of Care Quality Commission 
  • ratings for hospitals and care homes 
  • health 
  • setting personal budgets and financially assessing what a person can pay towards the costs of their care support.  

The Act is built around people and supports councils to:  

  • make sure that people's well-being, and the outcomes which matter to them, are at the heart of every decision that is made 
  • put carers on the same legal footing as those they care for 
  • focus on preventing and delaying needs for care and support, (rather than intervening at crisis point), and on building on the strengths in the community 
  • embed the rights to have choices, through care plans and personal budgets, and make sure a range of high-quality services are available locally.  

The Act aims to make care and support clearer and fairer, and:  

  • extends financial support to those who need it most 
  • provides for a single national threshold for eligibility to care and support 
  • supports people with information, advice, and advocacy to understand their rights and responsibilities, access care when they need it, and plan for their future needs 
  • supports continuity of care when people move between areas 
  • includes new protections to make sure that no one goes without care if their provider fails, regardless of who pays for their care.  

Changes to the Care Act  

The latest additions include carers entitlements and rights:

  • if you are a carer, you will be entitled to your own assessments to see if you are eligible for support 
  • advocacy: if you find it very difficult to be involved at any stage of your assessment or care planning and there is no family member or friend to speak for you, an independent advocate must be provided who will represent your best interests to get the services you need. Find out more at Dorset Advocacy.
  • safeguarding: telling councils what to do to help keep you safe from abuse or neglect.  

Eligibility for care and support  

All councils use the same national level of care and support needs to assess what help they can give you. We will look at how your needs affect your ability to achieve your relevant desired outcomes and if this has a significant impact on your wellbeing.  

If you decide to move to another area, we’ll work with other councils to make sure that there’s no gap in your care.  

Care planning  

If you receive care and support, the Care Act puts you more in control of the decisions that affect you, including putting together a care plan tailored to your needs.   

Your plan will work out how you can do the things that are important to you and your family, with the right level of care and support. You will know how much it will cost to meet your needs and how much we will contribute towards the cost. You will also have more control over how that money is spent.  

Everyone's needs are different. They may be physical or emotional. You may find that the support you need could be met in your local community, such as services organised by local charities or other support networks.

Whatever your level of need, we aim to put you in touch with the right organisation to support your wellbeing and help you to remain independent for longer.

Who is a carer?

Many people provide unpaid care or support to an adult family member or friend, either in their own home or somewhere else. This can include helping with their washing, dressing, eating, taking them to regular appointments, keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious, and many other types of support.

If this sounds like you, you may be able to get more help so that you can carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing. Visit our Carers Resource Information Support Programme (CRISP).   

Carer's assessment  

Carers are recognised by law in the same way as those they care for.  

If you are a carer, you are entitled to an assessment of your own needs, even if the person you care for does not have care and support needs met by the council. 

You should ask for a carer’s assessment from the local council for the person you care for. This may be us, or if the person you care for lives outside of the BCP area, this will be the council that provides services to them.

A carer's assessment looks at the different ways that caring affects your life and the support you need to carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family. Your physical and emotional wellbeing will be at the heart of this assessment.

As a result of the assessment, you may be eligible for practical support from us, such as respite care or a direct payment. We will also offer you advice and guidance to help you with your caring responsibilities and can put you in touch with local support groups.     

Deferred Payment Agreements  

A deferred payment is a loan agreement you make with the council so that you can use the value of your property, usually your home, to fund residential care home costs. You can delay repaying the council until you no longer need assistance to pay your care costs, such as when you sell your property. 

Deferred payment agreements will suit some people's circumstances better than others. There are administration costs and interest charges on the amount owed to the council to support the running of the scheme, the council will never make a profit from these loans. A deferred payment agreement is only one way to pay for care. To find out more about the options available, you can speak to a financial adviser or seek advice from an independent organisation such as Money Helper.  

Useful links

The Care and Support Statutory Guidance, published by the Department of Health and Social Care, provides councils with information about how they 'must', 'should', or 'may', meet the legal obligations placed on them by the Care Act and its associated regulations.

For more information as to how we work within the Care Act and statutory guidance, please visit our adult social care and health page. 

Our policies are designed to make sure that we comply with the Care Act and that we deliver what the statutory guidance says we 'must' or 'should' do.

Please visit our Strategies, plans and policies page to view our Adult Social Care policies, including: 

To learn more about how we protect a person’s right to live in safety and free from abuse and neglect, please visit the BCP Safeguarding Adults Board

Carers can find more information from our Carers Resource Information Support Programme (CRISP).