Government announces a delay to Care Act funding reform
Funding reform was due to come into force in April 2016 as part of the Care Act. However, the Government has decided to delay implementation until April 2020.
The Government says that 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.
The elements that have been delayed include:
- The cap on care costs (to April 2020).
- The extension to the Means Test Thresholds (to April 2020).
- The Appeals system (pending the Comprehensive Spending review).
The government has said that they are still firmly committed to implementing the cap on care costs system. The additional time will be used to consider what else can be done to help people plan and prepare for the costs of care as well as considering feedback on how the system may be improved. This difficult decision has been taken in response to genuine concerns from stakeholders.
Despite this delay, Shropshire Council will continue to embed the changes that were introduced in April 2015 as part of the Care Act. It will also continue to talk much earlier, to those who fund their own care.
Key areas of change nationally include:
- Local authorities now have a general responsibility to promote people’s wellbeing, focusing on prevention and providing information and advice.
- The introduction of a consistent, national eligibility criteria. This gives people peace of mind that wherever someone lives in the country, or plan to move to within England, if their needs meet the threshold, they will be eligible for support. Also, if someone decides to move to another area, councils have to work together to guarantee that there is no gap in the person’s care.
- New rights to support for carers, so they have the same rights as the people for whom they care.
- Legal right to a personal budget and direct payment, for those who are eligible, to support their wellbeing and help them to remain independent for longer.
- The extension of local authority adult social care responsibility to include prisons.
- New responsibilities around keeping people free from harm and ensuring that their care and support is still maintained if external services fail
- Deferred payment agreements are now available across the whole of England. A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement with the council, enabling people to use the value of their home to fund care home costs without having to sell their home in their lifetime.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, said:
“We’re really pleased with how things are going with regards to the implementation of the first part of the Care Act – namely supporting people’s independence and promoting their wellbeing, which are both key aspects of the Act.
“We will continue our excellent work to ensure that people get the support they need more quickly. This ensures that people make better and more informed choices for their future, and remain independent for longer.
“We will also continue to work with our partners so that we can make the most of our resources and deliver services as creatively and cost-effectively as possible.”