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Guide to the Care Act

A short overview of The Care Act 2014 and how it impacts you.

What's it all about?

The Care Act 2014 is the most significant change to adult social care in over 60 years. The Act embeds people's rights to choose and taking control of their care and support. The Act has:

  • Recognised the council's broader care and support role in the community, focussing more on universal services which enable people to remain as independent as possible
  • Created a consistent, fair and streamlined legal framework which focuses on individual needs and outcomes
  • Introduced a new approach to assessments and the provision of services.

What happened in April 2015?

A new emphasis on wellbeing was introduced The Act has placed a duty on the local authority to promote wellbeing when carrying out any care and support function.

A comprehensive information and advice service was developed and established

The Act places a duty on local authorities to ensure that information and advice on care and support is available to everyone when they need it. Locate is a new website which contains a wide range of care and support products and services which can help people to live as independently as possible. This includes signposting people to independent financial advice.

We have new responsibilities for early intervention and prevention

The council have reviewed preventative services contracts and are targeting our approach towards early intervention and prevention.

Eligibility for social care has changed

A national minimum eligibility threshold is now in place to determine whether the individual has eligible needs.

Changes to assessments and who we will assess

Anyone, including carers, with the appearance of needs for care and support, are now entitled to an assessment, regardless of their financial situation. The assessment focuses on outcomes and wellbeing. There are also new arrangements in place for the assessment of prisoners with care and support needs.

Adults with eligible needs will have a legal right to Personal Budgets and requests for Direct Payments

We have updated our approach on the allocation of Personal Budgets and requests for Direct Payments including introduction of pre-payment cards for Direct Payments.

A diverse range of quality care providers is available

We have engaged with providers through the Market Position Statement and are developing a diverse and high quality range of care and support services for people to choose from.

Deferred payment agreements have changed

Anyone in a care home who cannot meet the full cost of their care and has a property can request a deferred payment if they meet the eligibility criteria and can provide adequate security. This means that a person, if they qualify, can defer paying some of their care costs so that they do not have to sell their home during their lifetime. We have reviewed the council's existing deferred payment scheme to meet Care Act requirements.

New legal duties to safeguard adults

A new statutory framework through the County Durham Safeguarding Adults Inter-Agency Partnership has been established. Safeguarding duties are in respect of adults who:

  • Have need for care and support
  • Are experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect


  • As a result of their care and support needs are unable to protect themselves from abuse or neglect

Transition from Children's to Adult Services

The 14-25 Navigation Team is a joint adult and children's team which responds to the needs of disabled children and young persons aged between 14-25 years during their transition from children to adulthood.

Unpaid carers are formally recognised as having their own needs

The Care Act reformed the law in relation to carers whereby carers are recognised in the same way as the 'cared for'. We have reviewed and revised our carers assessment procedures and operating processes in relation to carers.

Contact us
First Contact/Social Care Direct
03000 267 979
0191 383 5752