The Care Act - what is changing
The second phase of the Care Act focuses on the government’s national long-term vision for reforming adult social care in England to make sure that it is fit for the future and fairer for everyone. This is to ensure that everyone receives the care they need, when they need it, to live the life they want to.
The government’s vision for social care reform sets out long-term aspirations for how people will experience care and support in the future and revolves around 3 objectives:
- People have choice, control and support to live independent lives
- People can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support
- People find adult social care fair and accessible
Social care reforms delayed
The government has announced that the adult social care funding reform planned for October 2023 will be delayed until 2025. It is expected that some of the other reforms to social care outlined in the white paper, People at the Heart of Care, are continuing.
The key improvements that the government is planning are below:
- Introduce a cap on personal care costs of £86,000 to protect people against unpredictable and potentially unlimited care costs, and a more generous means test so more people receive financial support with their care costs.
- Support sustainable care markets by paying providers a fair rate for care and strengthening local market-shaping and commissioning capabilities.
- Support local authorities to provide more supported housing for those who need it to help them live as independently as possible.
- Accelerate the digitisation of social care, making the most of technology to support people to live independently and improve their quality of care.
- There will be a new professional development plan for the social care workforce to improve care quality, make the profession an attractive career, and provide more mental health and wellbeing resources.
- A kickstart programme to improve services to support unpaid carers.
- Introduce an assurance framework for adult social care and a duty for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to review and assess local authority performance.
More information about the changes to adult social care can be found on The Department of Health and Social Care website.
Cap on care costs
The government is changing the way people in England pay for their care to make the system fairer.
At the moment, there is no limit to what care and support can cost, and this means that people with very high care needs may have to pay expensive bills. This protection will be called ‘cap on care costs’.
Cap on care costs means that no one will have to pay more than £86,000 towards the care element of the costs of meeting their eligible needs in their lifetime, and many people will pay much less. This applies to people funding their own care and support, as well as those helped by the council. Currently there is no limit on how much you might pay.
Alongside the cap on care costs, extended financial support will ensure that more people are eligible for help with care and support costs. The council will assess your finances and we may be able to offer extra help if you cannot afford to pay. Most people will still have to contribute something towards the cost of their care and support.
The changes will mean that people with £100,000 worth of assets or less, could be eligible to receive financial support for their care. The amount they receive will depend on an assessment of their finances and personal circumstances. We will look at what assets and income a person has and decide how much they can afford to contribute towards the cost of their care and support.
Note: Information on this page is subject to change pending further announcements from government.
Updated: 04 January 2023