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Adult social care reforms and the Health and Care Act 2022

The Adult Social Care Reform White Paper 'People at the Heart of Care' published in December 2021 is part of a wider set of mutually reinforcing reforms including the Health and Care Act 2022 and the Integration White Paper 'Joining up care for people, places and populations'.

The White Paper builds on the Care Act 2014 with its focus on wellbeing and sets out the government’s long-term aspirations for how people will experience care and support in the future. It revolves around 3 objectives:

  1. People have choice, control and support to live independent lives
  2. People can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support
  3. People find adult social care fair and accessible

Social care funding reforms delayed

The government has announced that the adult social care funding reform planned for October 2023 will be delayed until 2025. Funding reforms includes the introduction of a cap on personal care costs of £86,000 to protect people against unpredictable and potentially unlimited care costs, and a more generous means test so more people receive financial support with their care costs.

Next steps to put people at the heart of care

Following the delay of the social care funding reforms, the government set out the next steps to achieve its vision for social care reform. The key improvements at the centre of this plan include:

  • Supporting sustainable care markets by paying providers a fair rate for care and strengthening local market-shaping and commissioning capabilities through the Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund
  • Supporting local authorities to provide more supported housing and adaptations for those who need it to help them live as independently as possible
  • Accelerating the digitisation of social care, making the most of technology to support people to live independently and improve their quality of care
  • Improving recognition of the skills and experience of people working in care including a new professional development plan for the social care workforce to improve care quality, make the profession an attractive career, and provide more mental health and wellbeing resources
  • Introducing an assurance framework for adult social care and a duty for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to review and assess local authority performance from April 2023.
    Introducing person-level data collection from April 2023 providing better insights into care journeys and outcomes will help to show which interventions work best and we can improve how people move between health and social care
  • More joined up support for unpaid carers in recognition of the enormous contribution they make

Find out more about Adult Social Care assurance.

Updated: 01 December 2023

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