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Department of Health

Care Act 2014: How should local authorities deliver the care and support reforms? Please give us your views

Transition to the new legal framework

The chapter on transition to the new legal framework covers key considerations for local authorities in advance of many elements of the Care Act coming into force in April 2015.

The guidance also sets out actions for local authorities in preparing for the funding reform elements of the Care Act that come into force from April 2016, including assessing demand, raising awareness, early assessments, ICT and workforce capacity.

The draft guidance on transitional provisions covers:

  • transition to the new statute in 2015/16 for people receiving care and support, and carers
    • the status of previous assessments and eligibility determinations under the Care Act
    • the role of care planning and review in implementation
  • preparing for funding reforms in 2016/17:
    • understanding the likely demand
    • awareness raising
    • approaches to carrying out early assessments and managing capacity
    • other systems implications

Read Factsheet 6: care and support funding reforms

The guidance details key considerations around previous assessments, financial assessments, eligibility determinations and care plans – and how they should be treated under the Care Act.
Respond to question 81 below.

Appealing decisions

It is important to ensure that there are effective arrangements in place for people with care and support needs and their carers to challenge decisions that impact on their ability to access care and support. Current complaints provision for care and support is set out in regulations.

The provisions of the regulations mean that anyone who is dissatisfied with a decision made by the local authority would be able to make a complaint about that decision and have that complaint handled by the local authority. The local authority must make its own arrangements for dealing with complaints in accordance with the 2009 regulations.

We recognise that, as a result of the reforms in the Care Act, more people will be brought into contact with the local authority. Given these changes, it is vital that individuals have confidence in the system, and that they are able to challenge decisions without having to resort to judicial review. That is why we held a wide-ranging consultation during the second half of last year to seek opinions on how best we could ensure this.

Following this consultation, we recognised the need for change in this area, and the Act provides a power to establish an appeals system. The appeals system would come into force from April 2016, in line with wider reform of adult social care funding.

Our intention with a new system is to provide for the establishment of a bespoke appeals mechanism that has an element of independence from the local authority, although with some local authority representation. This would mirror arrangements for other areas of public sector decision-making, such as for decisions relating to NHS continuing healthcare funding and schools admissions.

There are a range of approaches to resolving complaints and providing redress. We believe that it is advantageous to have a flexible system that works well and efficiently at a local level and in a manner that is proportionate to the type of complaint. Our current assumption is that a formal tribunal process would be likely to slow down the process of resolving complaints and add significant costs, introducing a further burden on the system.

We will develop detailed proposals for a system of reviewing local authority decisions which will be set out in regulations. These proposals will be developed in conjunction with stakeholders, and working closely with local government, in keeping with the spirit of co-production that has characterised work on other areas of the Care Act and associated regulations and guidance. We will then hold a public consultation on these more detailed proposals later in 2014.
Respond to question 82 below.

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