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The Care Bill: Where is it up to? Safeguarding implications Some of the key issues?

Under the Care Bill local authorities will take on new functions. This is to make sure that people who live in their areas:

•receive services that prevent their care needs from becoming more serious
•can get the information they need to make good decisions about care and support
•have a good range of providers to choose from.

The Bill gives local authorities a responsibility to assess a carer’s own needs for support. This replaces the existing law, which says that the carer must be providing “a substantial amount of care on a regular basis” in order to qualify for an Assessment. This will mean more carers are able to have an assessment. This is comparable to the legal right of the people they care for. The Bill also says that Carers will have the right to services based on their assessed need.

The Bill says that if a child, young carer or an adult caring for a child (a ‘child’s carer’) is likely to have needs when they, or the child they care for, turns 18 the local authority must assess them if it considers there is significant benefit ’ to the individual in doing so. This is regardless of whether the child or individual currently receives any services or requests an assessment.

The Children and Families Bill creates a new birth to 25 years’ Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC) for children and young people with special educational needs and offers families personal budgets so that they have more control over the type of support they get . In some cases where a person is over 18 the ‘Care part of the EHC plan will be provided for by the Care Bill”

£72,000 cap when it is introduced in April 2016 i.e. maximum people will have to pay out of their savings (For those of state pension age and over, for younger people there are more generous allowances). There will be help for those who have resources up to £118,000, however people will be expected to pay £12,000 a year towards their care costs once the £72k reached. Only covers the amount that local authority will agree to pay – so not top up costs.

The Care Bill provides a legal right for the very first time for councils to contract out mainstream social work functions related to assessment, resource allocation and care planning. The outsider could actually apply the threshold, make the decision, and bind the council for whom it was acting.

If the service provider messes up by misunderstanding the law governing social care assessment, resource allocation and care planning, the council is the liable party, in relation to remedies. If a service provider is to be the assessor, as well as the provider, can that organisation’s employee properly straddle the two horses without ‘bigging up’ the approach to what is needed?