Today’s Queen’s speech announced that the Government will shortly publish a draft Care and Support Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny (PLS) in Parliament, and for wider engagement amongst the care and support sector.
This follows the Government’s engagement, Caring for our future, which was co-led with the care and support sector at the end of last year in order to understand people’s main concerns and priorities for reform of the system.
The Government is due to publish its White Paper on care and support shortly, which will set out our reform priorities, and will describe our approach to legislation.
What are the aims of the Bill?
- To modernise care and support law to ensure that public services are organised seamlessly around the needs and experiences of people, rather than expecting them to adapt to what is available locally.
- To put people in control of their care and give them greater choice, building on progress with personal budgets.
- To consolidate the existing law by replacing provisions in at least a dozen Acts with a single statute, supported by new regulations and statutory guidance.
- To simplify the system and processes, to provide the freedom and flexibility needed by local authorities and social workers to allow them to innovate and achieve better results for people.
- People have told us that they find the system confusing and difficult to navigate. The Bill will give people a better understanding of what is on offer, help them plan for the future and ensure they know where to go for help when they need it.
Why publish a draft Bill and undertake PLS?
- The Department wants to build on the positive engagement of Caring for our future last autumn, which has been central to developing our vision and ambition for care and support.
- Carrying out PLS will enable Government to listen to people with experience and expertise, and make the most of this unique opportunity to reform the law. Many people in the social care sector have called for such an opportunity to engage.
- This is the first time such a reform of the law has been attempted in over 60 years. This Bill will bring together a patchwork of legislation dating back to the 1948 National Assistance Act. We want to create a new, clear Act to make the system robust and sustainable for the future.
- It is imperative that we get it right, and we want to hear the views of people to help us do that.
- The Department received the report from the Law Commission last year and has moved quickly to draft a Bill that will be a key part of how we deliver our White Paper on care and support, which will be published shortly alongside a progress report on funding.
You can read more about the Queen’s Speech on the Number 10 website.