Care Act Implementation
The Care Act 2014 represents the most significant reform to social care for over 60 years. Implementation of the Act is scheduled to take place in two phases:
Phase 1 (from 1st April 2015) introduced far-reaching care and support reforms, including the introduction of national eligibility criteria, new rights for carers and a focus on ‘wellbeing’;
Phase 2 will reform the funding regime for social care and introduce new arrangements for complaints and appeals and for market oversight. Funding reform was due to come into force in April 2016 but the Government has decided to delay implementation until April 2020. The Government has said that the delay will allow time to be taken to ensure that everyone is ready to introduce the new system and to look at what more can be done to support people with the costs of care. See more here.
The Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors and Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Department of Health (DH) are working in partnership to support local areas in implementation of the Care Act in the context of the other changes and challenges for local health and care systems, including the Better Care Fund.
There are three priorities for 2016/17:
- To embed the care & support reforms introduced in April 2015;
- To monitor and mitigate the impacts of the changes in care & support; and
- To prepare for the further reforms being introduced in 2016.
West Midlands ADASS is coordinating the support offered to individual areas around these three priorities, with a broad ranging package of support being directed through the region’s Improvement Networks.
Care Act Stocktakes
A key feature of the national programme has been a series of ‘Care Act Readiness’ stocktakes. There were three stocktakes during 2014/15 and a further four between June 2015 and May 2016. The stocktakes provide important evidence of progress and will increasingly help us to understand the impact of the Act on operational practice and on our residents. They also allow us to target resources at those themes and councils that are most in need of support:
Resources and support
Our support arrangements reflect the principles of peer support and action learning, and we have developed a regional training plan for 2015/16 that will allow a wide range of staff from across the region to access support and learning activities that are relevant to local needs.
A significant array of resources and case studies has been developed and are published on the LGA website. New resources – including those developed within the West Midlands – are being added all the time to provide a library of implementation products that is designed to avoid duplication and wasted effort.
There is a huge amount of written material relating to the Care Act and the region produces a regular Care Act Update as a synopsis of key developments. An important feature is the ‘Share and Support’ section, which reflects both requests for and offers of support from within the region and nationally.
- Care Act Update July 2015
- Care Act Update October 2015
- Care Act Update January 2016
- Care Act Update February 2016
The Care Act Lead Officers network meets regularly to discuss progress with implementation and to share ideas and practice.
Other resources and useful links:
- Care Act implementation and Mental Health – report on work with DWMHT
- Review of West Midlands Regional Activity – Care Act Implementation (March 2016)