The Care Act was enacted in May 2014 and brings about a number of significant changes to social care in England.  It replaces many previous pieces of legislation and creates one clear, coherent description of social care.

The Care Act 2014 is the most significant change in social care law for 60 years. The legislation sets out how people’s care and support needs should be met and introduces the right to an assessment for anyone, including carers and self-funders, in need of support.

The Act is in two parts: care and support reforms (effective from April 2015) and funding reforms (from April 2016).  It creates new duties and responsibilities and will require some changes in the way Local Authorities work.

While the Care Act itself is new, the majority of what it describes has been best practice or law for years.  It’s about change to the care and support system nationally, with the aim of addressing inconsistencies and creating a fairer and clearer system for the years to come.

This means that you’re likely to be familiar with a lot of what the Care Act and the associated guidance describes.  The guidance is jargon-free and clear so it is well worth looking at the chapters that are relevant to your work.

From April 2015 local authorities will have new duties in relation to people’s wellbeing, prevention and information and advice.

They’ll also have to develop a responsive, diverse and sustainable market and produce a market position statement. From April 2016, there’ll be changes to the way care and support is funded.

The Department of Health has produced the guidance mentioned above and some useful factsheets and the Local Government Association has identified some of the implications for providers.