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The Care Act 2014 and care and support statutory guidance is the legal framework for Adult Social Care. It places a duty on councils to support and promote the wellbeing and independence of working age disabled adults and older people, and their unpaid carers and gives them more control of their care and support.

Phase 1 of the Care Act was implemented in April 2015 and included:

  • A new national level of care and support needs to make care and support more consistent across the country.
    New rights for carers who were placed on the same legal footing as those they care for.
  • A duty to protect adults at risk from abuse or neglect including establishing a safeguarding adults board. A greater emphasis on prevention - local authorities and other providers of support must encourage and assist people to lead healthy lives, which will reduce the chances of them needing more support in the future. A requirement to provide clear information and advice, which will help the public to make informed choices on their support arrangements and enable them to stay in control of their lives. New rights for people funding their own care and support (known as self-funders), giving them access to information and advice and a range of universal and preventative services as well as an assessment free of charge.
  • A duty to shape the local provider market and a duty to temporarily ensure there is continuity of care in the event of service interruption as a result of business or provider failure and other service interruptions.

Adult social care reforms and the Health and Care Act 2022

The second phase of the Care Act focuses on the government’s national long-term vision for reforming adult social care in England to make sure that it is fit for the future and fairer for everyone. This is to ensure that everyone receives the care they need, when they need it, to live the life they want to.

The government has announced that adult social care funding reforms are delayed until 2025. Other reforms to social care including the Adult Social Care Assurance Framework are continuing.

Updated: 30 November 2023

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