Local authorities must promote wellbeing when carrying out any of their care and support functions in respect of an individual.
This ‘wellbeing principle’ enshrines people’s needs and desired outcomes as the heart of the care and support system.
The Act sets out the areas that wellbeing relates to, as well as further matters that local authorities should consider in promoting wellbeing, such as starting from the assumption that an individual is best placed to judge their own wellbeing. These areas focus on the most relevant outcomes that people want to achieve.
The Act also signifies a shift from existing duties on local authorities to provide particular services, to the duty to ‘meet needs’. This is the core legal entitlement for adults to public care and support. It establishes one clear and consistent duty for all people who need care and support, and an equivalent duty for carers.
The concept of ‘meeting needs’ recognises that everyone’s needs are different and personal to them, and local authorities will have to consider how to meet each person’s specific needs rather than simply considering what service they will fit into.
The draft guidance on wellbeing covers:
- the definition of wellbeing
- the principle of wellbeing
- how the concept of wellbeing is reinforced throughout the provisions in the Act