Care Act will add pressures

The Care Act is a new law about care and support for adults in England that comes into action from April 2015 and risks adding extra pressure on to adult social services in Telford and Wrekin.

Care Act will add pressures

A report to the Council’s cabinet says that the act will simplify much social care legislation, give service users greater choice and control over their care and encourage greater co-operation between care providers.

The Council says that the changes, which come into force in two phases in April 2015 and April 2016, are likely to lead to a significant increase in assessments that it will have to carry out as people receiving care, including self funders, may want their needs reviewed to ensure they are getting what they are entitled to under the new Act.

The Care Act will determine the care that people should be able to get and what councils will have to do to provide this. Among the Care Act’s main themes are:

  • Independence and wellbeing: having greater choice and control in the care and support people receive to live independently
  • Prevention - stopping problems before they start, or stopping them getting worse as early as possible.
  • Integration – working with other organisations to provide the support people need
  • Carers entitlements and rights: carers will be entitled to their own assessments to see if they are eligible for support
  • A lifetime cap on care costs: there will be a limit to the amount people will have to pay for care (from April 2016)
  • A national eligibility criteria and changes to assessment for care: there will be the same rules about who can get care and support all over the country
  • Keeping adults safe: This is the first time there is a law telling councils what to do to help keep adults safe from abuse or neglect, including councils having a Safeguarding Adults Board

A consequence of the Act is that Telford & Wrekin will set up its own Safeguarding Adults Board, which has overall responsibility for the protection of vulnerable adults, by next April. Until now it had shared this with Shropshire Council.

The report, which will be considered by Telford & Wrekin’s cabinet next week, says that it is “fairly confident” that the Council will be in a position to deliver the Care Act reforms by April 2015.

However it says that the Council has concerns about funding to fully support the reforms in the Act, particularly at a time when the Council faces very significant pressures on adult care services.

Cllr Arnold England, cabinet member for adult social care, said; “The Care Act is great opportunity for us to simplify and improve the social care landscape for everyone involved, health providers, councils, service users and carers and this is welcome.

“However introducing such wide ranging reforms at the same time as we have to make record savings in adult social care budgets because of cuts in Government grant will pose some very significant challenges.

“The first phase of the act which comes into force in six months, will see increasing demand for assessment, services and deferred payments for example

“We can expect to see a significant increase in the demand for assessments particularly in the run up to the second phase of Act in 2016 and it is not yet clear how we can meet this extra work.”