By Anastasia Lungu-Mulenga
The Care Act 2014 is intended to update and simplify social care legislation which had largely remained the same for many years. The reforms are expected to have significant cost implications for boroughs.
Some of the key changes defined in the Act will require high levels of resourcing to be appropriately delivered and we have been lobbying government to ensure that the reforms are appropriately funded.
With some of the measures coming in 2015 and the rest in 2016, it is critical that local authorities are ready and prepared to deliver their statutory responsibilities as set out in the Act.
From 1 April 2015, some of the reforms introduced by the Care Act 2014 such as those around the extension of rights to carers will have to be implemented by councils. The reforms regarding how people will pay for their care will be implemented from 1 April 2016.
The draft regulations and guidance for implementing the cap in 2016 is currently being consulted on. The final regulations and guidance are expected to be finalised in October 2015.
We have done a considerable amount of policy analysis and lobbying on the funding and other implications of the Care Act 2014 on London over the last two years.
For our submissions during the parliamentary process which also highlights some of our funding concerns alongside other issues, please see here.
For a step-by-step guide on how the cap on care costs will affect over 65s see here.
Our response to the consultation on draft regulations and guidance to implement the cap on care costs (March 2015)
We responded to the Department of Health's consultation on how the care cap will work in 2016/17 and beyond. The consultation also set out the Department's proposal for a new appeals system for use by service users.
In our response we asked that:
Implementation of the Care Act must not distract the next government from addressing the wider, long-term underfunding of adult social care as a priority in the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Implementation of the Care Act 2014 must be fully funded in 2016/17 and beyond, in line with the new burdens commitment.
The approaches being developed to monitor the cost of the reforms in 2015/16 must be extended to cover the implementation of the further reforms from 2016/17 and the next government must commit to recompensing local authorities for any shortfall in funding in 2015/16 as well as reflecting true costs in future allocations.
Cap on Care Accounts
iv. The funding allocations formulae must take into account the impact of regional differences in costs of care.
v. To reduce the risk of challenge, the government must run a clear public information campaign on the cap and its real-world implications so that people understand that they will still face some costs.
Independent Personal budgets
Clarify and simplify the legislation on independent personal budgets to prevent local authorities being subject to challenges and additional bureaucracy.
Where both an individual and local authority are contributing to care, metering towards the cap should not include the local authority contribution it should just count the person’s contribution.
Working Age Adults
Government should not put in place different care cap thresholds based on age. There should be one threshold for all ages. London Councils therefore supports option 2 – a cap of £72 000 for both working age and those over 65 years of age.
The Appeals System
ix. We seek further evidence to justify the introduction of a new appeals system.
Our response to the consultation on implementation of Part 1 of the Act in 2015/16 (August 2014)
We responded to the consultation on the care and support statutory guidance and regulations for the Care Act.
We made 10 over-arching requests to Government. You can read them here.
Our response to the consultation on reforming what and how people pay for their care and support (November 2013)
Our research found that the cornerstone of the reform agenda – the introduction of a capped care system and raising the eligibility threshold - will have significant costs on councils both in terms of preparation and implementation.
For the full report see Caring for the future
Care and support funding reform – cost implications for London (July 2013)
After the government announced that from April 2016 a cap will be introduced limiting the amount of money people will have to pay towards their care, we analysed the cost implications of these reforms.
We particularly looked at the additional cost pressures that can be expected by London boroughs.
For the full report see Care and Support Funding Reform - Cost implications for London