Legislation and statutory guidance

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The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 is all about adults with care and support needs and those who care for them.

This act, which came into effect on 1 April 2015, underpins all the information and support on this website.

How adult social care has changed with The Care Act

The Care Act 2014 replaced a number of different pieces of legislation with a single modern law and a new legal framework. This placed the wellbeing of individuals at the heart of care and support services.

From 1 April 2015

The new legislation and framework brought in a number of changes for local authorities. They must now:

  • promote wellbeing to residents with an aim to prevent or reduce potential care needs in the future and enable them to stay independent for as long as possible.
  • follow a new consistent, national eligibility criteria. This means that wherever someone lives in England, they have access to the same level of care and support (based on their needs) as someone who lives in another local authority (council) area.
  • work together to make sure that someone moving from one local authority area to another does not experience a gap in their care during the move.
  • provide adult social care to people in prison.
  • do everything possible to make sure someone is involved in the planning of their care and support. For people who may find it difficult and do not have anyone to support them with understanding adult social care processes, local authorities must arrange an independent advocate to support them.

The changes also mean that:

  • people who qualify for care and support have the right to a personal budget - with ‘direct payments’ paid to them, or someone they trust. This offers the option for someone to have far more control over the care and support they receive, which supports their wellbeing and helps them to remain independent for longer.
  • carers have the same right to receive support as the people they care for.
  • more emphasis is placed on keeping adults safe and free from abuse and neglect.
  • deferred payment agreements are now available throughout England. This is a loan agreement with a local authority that allows a property owner to use any value they have in their home to fund care home costs without having to sell their home in their lifetime.

From October 2023

In September 2021, the government set out plans to reform adult social care in England. This included:

  • the introduction of a £86,000 cap on the amount anyone in England will have to spend on their personal care over a lifetime. The cap will apply regardless of age or income. Daily living costs, such as food and drink while in a care home, will not count towards the cap. Only money spent on meeting a person’s personal care needs will apply.

  • a proposal to raise the upper capital limit from £23,250 to £100,000. This is the amount of assets someone would need to have before they did not qualify for help with their care and support costs.

  • a proposal to increase the lower capital limit from £14,250 to £20,000. This means someone could have £20,000 in assets before they are asked to contribute any money from their capital towards their care and support costs.

You can find out more about the proposed reforms for adult social care on the Department for Health and Social Care website.

Where to find out more about The Care Act 2014

This video produced by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) discusses The Care Act in more detail. It does not include the proposed reforms due to start in October 2023.