Care Act

From April 2015, the Care Act will help to make care and support more consistent across the country.

‘Care and support’ is the term we use to describe the help some adults need. This help allows them to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like washing, dressing, eating, getting out and about, and keeping in touch with friends or family.

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If you receive care and support, or help to care for someone, you could benefit from the changes.

The new law is very detailed. You can download some short leaflets below, which explain the main changes:

  • For the first time, all councils in England will consider the same national level of care and support needs when we assess what help we can give you.
  • Carers may be able to get more help so that they can carry on caring and look after their own wellbeing.
  • Deferred payments will be available for people who need to move into permanent, residential care. This means that people should not usually have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for their care.

You can also read an Easy Read summary of the Care Act in Cornwall. The government has published further Easy Read leaflets about the changes (please be aware that these do not use Photosymbols):

More changes to the way people pay for care and support will be introduced in 2016. These will protect people with the highest needs from facing unlimited costs, and include a proposal to introduce a cap on care costs of £72,000.

The exact details are subject to a government consultation, so we regret that we are unable to give more information or to discuss the proposed care cap at this time. Please contact us in the autumn.

For more information, read our leaflet, Help with the cost of your care.

If you already receive care and support from the Council, nothing will change without us talking to you first. If you think the new law might affect you or someone you know, please get in touch:

If you are a care provider, there is a providers' page containing further information. 

The Care Act is the most fundamental change in legislation relating to the provision of care and support. It is important to bear in mind that the Care Act applies to Cornwall Council as a whole, including all its directorates, as it does to other public sector organisations; not just to Education, Health and Social Care. The Care Act became law in May 2014 and is being implemented in two parts. The first part started in April 2015 introducing:

  • The wellbeing principle and safeguarding as themes running through all aspects of care and support
  • More rights for carers to an assessment and support that may be required
  • National Eligibility Criteria for care and support, which has a three stage approach:
    • A diagnosed condition
    • 2 or more outcomes that are unmet
    • Significant impact on the person’s life
  • Duties on local authorities to provide information and advice, including signposting to independent financial advice
  • A new statutory framework for safeguarding for vulnerable adults that is now similar to that for children and young people
  • A new duty for local authorities to provide independent advocacy to adults who may have substantial difficulty engaging with the assessment and care and support planning and also safeguarding
  • New arrangements for prevention services
  • A duty on local authorities to offer deferred payments for people requiring permanent residential care and own their own home

All of the above are now being implemented, and work continues to ensure that existing arrangements are meeting the requirements of the Care Act. 

The second part of the Care Act which will be introducing:

  • Care Cap – the amount that someone is expected to pay towards their care and support in their lifetime. Proposed to be set at £72,000
  • Care Account – a way of monitoring a person’s progress towards the cap
  • Independent Personal Budgets – for those who are fully funding their own care and support and would like their care and support costs to count towards the cap
  • Funding thresholds for financial assistance from the council to help with the costs of care and support to be increased
  • Appeals process – process where people are able to appeal against a decision or outcome that has been made on their care and support

These changes were expected to be in place from April 2016. Following a government announcement on 17 July 2015, this has now been delayed until April 2020.

Next Steps

Despite the delay in putting in the changes for Part 2, work will continue in making sure that the changes that have been put in place are working and meeting the needs of people accessing care and support; and their families. This will include:

  • Ensuring that the wellbeing principle is considered throughout the care and support process
  • Reviewing information and advice that is given, and whether any improvements are needed

You can read more detail about the changes in the Department of Health's guide, Care and support: what's changing? You can also download a series of helpful factsheets and the Government's full guidance and an Easy Read summary.