We want to make the assessment process simpler and easier for people to understand. The new legal framework, set out in the draft Care and Support Bill, replaces a number of different laws to create a single duty for local authorities on assessment. This emphasises the need to involve users and carers in the assessment process.
We will also develop and test options for a new assessment framework and an eligibility framework to make sure that the role of assessment evolves in line with the wider reforms to the care and support system. Any new framework will seek to be more consistent, streamlined, and focused on the outcomes that people want to achieve.
From April 2015 we will introduce a national minimum eligibility threshold for care and support in England. The ‘eligibility threshold’ is the minimum level of need that someone must have to be entitled to care and support from their local authority. At the moment different local authorities have different thresholds. But in the new system the minimum eligibility threshold will be the same across England. This will make the system more consistent and fair. We will also make it easier for people to move between local authorities, removing the worry that they may lose the care they need.
The Government has also been clear that local authorities do not need to increase their eligibility thresholds over the rest of this Spending Review period – up to March 2015.
Moving to a different area
People who use care and support will be able to move between local authority areas without facing a gap in the care and support they receive. Carers who move with the person they care for will also receive continuity of support.
The draft Care and Support Bill introduces a new duty for local authorities to make sure that people do not experience a gap in their care provision when they move to a different area in England. It also requires the local authorities involved to share information, to make sure the move is as seamless as possible.
These developments on ‘portability’ will address one of the key problems identified with care and support, which was raised during the ‘Caring for our future’ engagement.