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As of today (1 April 2015) the Care Act 2014 comes in to force, introducing new responsibilities for local authorities to promote individual wellbeing, integrate health and social care services, provide information and advice, and encourage co-operation with partners and communities. 

It also means, for the first time, Adult Safeguarding is spelt out in the law, placing a duty on local authorities to make enquiries if an adult is, or is at risk of, being abused or neglected.

Many adult services departments will have already prepared to implement the Act, which will include the new legal duties of: 

  • Establishing and maintaining an information and advice service, including information on the new rights and entitlements under the Act, advice for self-funders and signposting to universal services. 
  • Commissioning independent advocacy services to support sustainability and ensure choice, with a focus on wellbeing, workforce development, pay and appropriate pricing of services. 
  • Needs or carers assessments, which must be carried out to assess people’s needs and eligibility for funded care and support. This will be against a national minimum threshold. Once an assessment has been made, there is a duty on local authorities to produce care and support plans and to offer people a personal budget. 

The funding reforms, which are also part of the Care Act, are due to come into effect in April 2016. Significantly, this will see a cap of £72,000 placed on the amount people have to spend on the care they need. A Care Account for each person requiring care for eligible needs will be held by the local authority to record their progress towards the cap. 

Various products and initiatives have been introduced to help local authorities meet the requirements. We’ve also explored the importance of digital technology in adult social care; of which the Care Act places a greater emphasis on.   

Let us know your thoughts on the Care Act – is your local authority ready to meet the requirements? Leave your comments below or tweet us @SanctuarySW #CareAct  

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