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Durham County Council

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The Care Act 2014 - how it affects you


The Care Act 2014, which took effect from April 2015, is the biggest change to adult social care in 60 years. Find out what it's about and how it might affect you.

Many of us will need care and support during our lifetimes. You may need help with things like washing, dressing, eating, getting out and about, emotional support or keeping in touch with friends or family.  If you receive care and support, or you support someone as a carer, you may benefit from the changes introduced under The Care Act 2014. 

How will the changes help you?

  • They will help you plan for your future and put you more in control of the help you receive.
  • Any decisions about your care and support will consider your wellbeing and what is important to you and your family, helping you to keep healthy and remain independent for as long as possible.

What are the key points of The Care Act?

  • Everyone must be able to access the right information, advice and guidance to make decisions about their care and support.
  • The introduction of new minimum national eligibility and assessment criteria. 
  • Changes to the way care and support is funded.
  • Introduction of new rights to assessments for carers.
  • An emphasis on early intervention and prevention.
  • A statutory framework for safeguarding adults.

What we're doing to implement the changes

Our new website, Locate - care and support in County Durham, provides a central point for all information about care and support and the services available to support your needs.  It will also provide you with the tools and information to manage your care needs online. 

What were the key changes from April 2015?

  • We're promoting wellbeing and, along with our partners, take steps early on, to help you keep healthy and stay independent for longer thus reducing your need for care.
  • A comprehensive information and advice service has been developed to help you make the best decisions about your care needs.
  • National eligibility criteria has replaced local criteria to give fairer access to services - no 'postcode lottery'.
  • New rights to assessments for carers.
  • A legal right to a personal budget and direct payment if you have eligible needs.
  • Responsibility for the care and support of prisoners and others in approved premises.
  • Changes to deferred payments, adults who qualify can apply to have some or all of their care costs deferred, meaning that they do not have to sell their home during their lifetime.
  • New legal duties in relation to safeguarding adults.

Care Act funding reforms delayed

The Government has decided to delay implementing phase two of the Care Act until 2020. These are:

  • the Cap on Care Costs 
  • the extension to the Means Test Thresholds 
  • the Appeals system (pending the Comprehensive Spending review)

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. 

More information

Further details about the reforms can also be found at Gov.uk: care and support information. The Department of Health has produced Gov.uk: Care Act 2014 Part 1 factsheets and Gov.uk: care and support statutory guidance.