Engagement exercise A-Z

Assistive Technology

Any product or service designed to enable independence for disabled and older people, including telehealth and telecare.

Attendance Allowance (AA)

A benefit for people aged 65 or over who have an illness or disability and need help with personal care. AA is a universal benefit administrated by the Department of Work and Pensions. There are two tiers of payment depending on an individual’s level of disability.


The term used to refer to payments made by the state to individuals or families to provide support. Some are universal, and others are means-tested.

Big Society

A partnership centred on the citizen where government, business and voluntary community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors, families and individuals all play their part. It is where power is shifted from the Government and put in the hands of individuals and communities and where they have the capability to use it to improve their own lives.

Capped cost model

A funding system in which individuals may be required to contribute towards the cost of the care they receive, but those contributions are limited to a certain level. Once an individual has paid that amount, under this funding model the state would then provide any further care free.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

An independent body that regulates and improves the quality of health and social care. It also looks after the interests of people detained under the Mental Health Act.


A carer spends a significant proportion of their time providing unpaid support to family or friends. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.

Carers Allowance

A benefit paid to help people who look after someone who is disabled.

Centres for independent living

Grassroots organisations run and controlled by disabled people. They aim to support disabled people to have control over their lives and achieve full participation in society. They work towards these aims by representing disabled people’s views locally and nationally, and by providing services which promote independent living.

Charging for residential care

Local councils are required to charge a person for residential care – that is, care in a care home. The local council must use regulations and statutory guidance issued by the Health Minister to carry out a financial assessment to work out what a resident can afford to pay. These are the National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992 and the Charging for residential Accommodation Guide (CRAG). Certain assets are not included in this assessment, including the resident’s home if certain relatives live in it.

Charging for non-residential care

Local councils have discretionary powers to charge (i.e. they are not required to do so) for non-residential care – that is, care in peoples’ own homes. Councils design their own charging policies within the framework of statutory guidance issued by the Department of Health. The guidance, Fairer charging Polices for Home Care and other non-residential Social Services states that charges should be reasonable and sets limits on the amounts service uses must be left with after charging.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

Groups of GPs and other healthcare professionals that will undertake commissioning roles under the reforms set out in the White Paper Liberating the NHS.

College of Social Work

An independent body representing the views of social work professionals. Established in 2009, the College will seek to improve public understanding and support of social work, in the same way that other colleges for other professionals do, such as the Royal College of Nursing

Commission on the Funding of Care and Support

Chaired by Andrew Dilnot, the Commission was an independent body established by the Coalition Government in July 2010 to review the funding system for care and support in England. The Commission published its report Fairer Care Funding in July 2011, providing advice and recommendations that the Government is now considering.


The process of ensuring that the health and care services provided effectively meet the needs of the population. Under the reforms set out in the Health and Social Care Bill, responsibility for commissioning health services will move from PCTs to Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Deferred payments agreement

To avoid the resident having to sell their home to pay for their care during their lifetime, local authorities have discretionary powers to make a deferred payments agreement. The local authority will place a charge against the value of the resident’s home, which is only collected at the end of the contract – usually when the resident dies.

Direct Payments

Those who qualify for assistance from social services can choose to receive payments directly from them. Direct payments are to buy the services needed to meet an individual’s needs. This is instead of receiving the services direct from the local council. The individual can then have greater choice over how their care is provided.


A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Disabled Facilities Grant

The Disabled Facilities Grant helps towards the cost of adapting a person’s home to enable them to continue to live there. A grant is paid when the local authority considers that changes are necessary to meet a persons needs, and that the work is reasonable and practical. Examples of work that are often eligible for such a grant include door widening or ramp installation.

Disability Living Allowance

A tax-free benefit for disabled children and adults to help with extra costs people may have due to disability. This benefit is universal, not means-tested.

Domiciliary care

Also known as home care or non residential care, domiciliary care includes personal care and general domestic assistance and help. It enables people to remain independent and living in their own homes. Organisations providing non-residential care may be run by local councils or independent organisations.

End of life care

A phrase used to refer to support for people who are approaching death, designed to help them live as well as possible until they die.

Extra Care Housing

Extra Care Housing is housing designed with the needs of frailer older people in mind and with varying levels of care and support available on site. People who live in Extra Care Housing have their own self-contained homes, their own front doors and a legal right to occupy the property. Extra Care Housing is also known as very sheltered housing, assisted living, or simply ’housing with care’.

Fair Access to Care Services

The name of the framework used by local authorities to determine at what level of need a person is eligible for social care assistance.

Financial Assessment

If a person is assessed as having an eligible need for care and support, their local authority will then carry out a financial assessment to decide what that person can afford to pay towards the costs of their care. This is sometimes called the means test.

Financial services

Money management services such as banking, investment, brokerage, and insurance

Health and wellbeing boards

A forum for local commissioners across the NHS, public health and social care, as well as elected representatives and representatives of HealthWatch to discuss how to work together to better the health and wellbeing outcomes of the people in their area.  The boards will be established on a statutory basis in every upper tier authority in England from 2013 and they will run in shadow form from 2012.


A new consumer champion for both health and social care to be established in April 2012. It will ensure that patients and carers are involved in decisions about care and that their views are considered when providers commission services. Local involvement networks will become local branches of HealthWatch.

Independent living

A phrase used to refer to all disabled people having the same choice, control and freedom as any other citizen – at home, at work, and as members of the community. This does not necessarily mean disabled people ‘doing everything for themselves’, but it does mean that any practical assistance people need should be based on their own choices and aspirations.

Integrated working

An organising principle for coordinated delivery of care with the aim of improving patient outcomes.

Intermediate care

A term to cover a range of services that aim to avoid unnecessary admission to hospital, support timely discharge from hospital or avoid admission to a long term care home.

Law Commission

An independent group set up to investigate existing laws and recommend reform where it is needed. The Law Commission produced a report recommending reform of adult social care law in May 2011.

Health and Social Care Bill

The Government’s proposals for modernisation of the NHS and public health.

Long term condition

A phrase used to described a condition that cannot be cured, but can be managed through medication and/or therapy.

Mental Capacity Act

A law designed to protect people who can’t make decisions for themselves or lack the mental capacity to do so. This could be due to a mental health condition, a severe learning difficulty, a brain injury or a stroke.

Multidisciplinary teams

A phrase used when professionals from different disciplines – such as social work, nursing, occupational therapy, work together.

NHS Funded Nursing Care

The NHS has responsibility for funding the cost of nursing care, and contributes a standard weekly rate towards the cost of a place in a care home with nursing for those people assessed as requiring the help of a registered nurse.

Outcomes Framework

Broadly speaking, when people talk about ‘outcomes’ they mean ‘results’. The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework is a document published by the Department of Health which sets out the expectations of the Secretary of State for Health  from organisations such as local authorities, who commission adult social care services


The principle that public services should be organised around individuals and tailored to their needs, enabling them to exercise independence, choice and control, leading to improved outcomes and better overall experience.

Personal budgets

Personal budgets are allocations of funding given to people assessed as eligible for social care support that can be used to meet their needs, thereby giving people greater choice and control over how their care and support is arranged.

Personal health budget

A personal health budget is an amount of money that is spent on meeting the health care and wellbeing needs of people, generally those with a long term illness or disability. At the heart of a personal health budget is a care plan agreed between the patient and their healthcare providers.


A term used to describe a variety of processes that help people to leave hospital more quickly, regain independence back at home with the support they need, and to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

Recognised, valued and supported: Next steps for the Carers Strategy,

A Department of Health publication from November 2010, that sets out priority areas for supporting carers in the current Spending Review period.

Residential care

Residential care refers to nursing homes and residential care homes that provide around-the-clock care for vulnerable adults who can longer be supported in their own homes. Homes may be run by local councils or independent organisations. Admissions to residential care can be made on a temporary or permanent basis.

Safeguarding adults

The prevention and reduction of harm, abuse or other types of exploitation of adults in vulnerable situations.

Sheltered housing

A term covering a wide range of rented housing for older or disabled people. Most commonly it refers to grouped housing, such as a block or “scheme” of flats or bungalows. Sheltered housing schemes are generally owned, run and maintained by a housing trust, usually a not-for-profit organisation, which works closely with and is part-funded by the local authority.

Social care

A wide spectrum of activities which support and help people live their daily lives. It can include: intimate personal care, managing finances, adapting housing conditions, and help attending leisure pursuits and support for carers

Social work

Social work is a profession centred around people. The profession works with vulnerable people to enhance relations, help families to stay together where possible and to enable people to live fulfilled lives as independently as possible.

Spending Review

The report that fixes spending budgets for each Government department. The 2010 Spending Review set budgets from 2011/12 to 2014-15, and focused on shifting power away from central government to the local level.


The monitoring of health through technology including measures such as blood pressure, blood oxygen levels or weight. Through the use of electronic sensors or other equipment, these readings are automatically transmitted to a clinician who can observe health status without the patient leaving home.


The use of technology to allow people to independently in the home for longer. Electronic sensors and aids are used to make the home environment safer. Examples include pendant/community alarms worn around the neck, or bed sensors to check that someone has got back to bed after going to the toilet at night. In the event of an incident, the sensors automatically raises the alarm by contacting, via a call centre, a family member, friend, neighbour or warden.

Top-up payments

A person can choose to go into a care home that costs more the local authority will normally pay for a person with their needs, provided the resident or a third party can pay the difference between the local authority payment and what the care home charges. This is known as a top-up payment.

Vision for Adult Social Care

A document published by the Department of Health in November 2010 that sets out how the Government wishes to see services delivered for people by putting personalised services and outcomes centre stage.


A phrase used when referring to the people involved in the provision or support of social care. It can refer to both people working for private, voluntary or statutory sectors. The social care workforce in England comprises over one million people working in people’s own homes, care homes, day care, hospitals, and in the wider community.


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