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Changes to Care Act 2014 guidance during the coronavirus pandemic

Paying for care

The UK government has determined that the provisions of the Care Act 2014 should be eased during the current crisis.

New guidance sets out how local authorities can use the new Care Act provisions, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to prioritise care and support for those who need it most.

The government is stressing that the provisions are temporary and should only be used when it is not possible for local authorities to comply with their duties under the Care Act 2014.

The main changes are that local authorities:

  •  Won’t have to carry out the usual expected detailed assessments of a person’s care and support needs. They will, though, still be expected to respond as soon as possible (within a timeframe that would not jeopardise an individual’s human rights) to requests for care and support, as well as consider the needs and wishes of someone needing care and their family and carers, and assess what care does need to be provided.
  • Won’t have to carry out the normal financial assessments. They will, though, be able to charge people retrospectively for the care and support they receive during this period, subject to giving reasonable information in advance about this, and a later financial assessment.
  • Won’t have to prepare or review care and support plans as would normally be expected. They will though still be expected to carry out proportionate, person-centred care planning – providing sufficient information to all concerned, particularly those providing care and support, often at short notice. Where they choose to revise plans, they must also continue to involve users and carers in any such changes.

Instead of a duty to meet eligible care and support needs, or the support needs of a carer, local authorities will have a power to ‘meet needs’. They will still be expected to take all reasonable steps to continue to meet needs as they do now, but if they are unable to do so, the powers will enable them to prioritise the most pressing needs. This might be, for example, enhanced support for people who are ill or self-isolating, and to temporarily delay or reduce other care provision.

You can find the changes in detail in the government document ‘Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities‘, which is intended to be read alongside the ethical framework for adult social care.


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