Shropshire Council

The Care Act

Care and support is changing for the better – the Care Act in Shropshire

The Care Act is the biggest change to English adult social care law in over 60 years, reforming the law relating to care and support for adults and their carers.

The act replaces a number of different pieces of legislation with a single modern law and a new legal framework that has the wellbeing of individuals at the heart of care and support services.

This information is to help you understand the act and how we are responding in Shropshire, and to provide further information and contact details which you might find helpful.

What has changed?

The act came into effect on 1 April 2015. Key areas of change nationally include:

  • Local authorities now have a general responsibility to promote people’s wellbeing, focusing on prevention and providing information and advice
  • The introduction of a consistent, national eligibility criteria. This will give people peace of mind that wherever someone lives in the country, or plan to move to within England, if their needs meet the threshold, they will be eligible for support. Also, if someone decides to move to another area, councils will have to work together to guarantee that there is no gap in the person’s care
  • New rights to support for carers, so they have the same rights as the people for whom they care
  • Legal right to a personal budget and direct payment, for those who are eligible, to support their wellbeing and help them to remain independent for longer
  • The extension of local authority adult social care responsibility to include prisons
  • New responsibilities around keeping people free from harm and ensuring that their care and support is still maintained if external services fail
  • Deferred payment agreements will be available across the whole of England. A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement with the council enabling people to use the value of their home to fund care home costs without having to sell their home in their lifetime

Changes to the way that adult social care is funded will be effective from 1 April 2020 (a delay from the original date of 1 April 2016), including:

  • A lifetime ‘cap’ of no more than £72,000 for individuals on reasonable care costs to meet their eligible needs, and
  • An increase in the capital threshold for people in residential care who own their own home

Implementing the Care Act in Shropshire

We're already redesigning our service in line with the act. This has enabled us to better focus on the things that really matter, and help us to support people’s independence and promote their wellbeing - key aspects of the act.

We want to enable people’s aspirations to flourish, whether those aspirations are to cook their own meals, go shopping or find employment. We don't want people to develop a dependency on care services.

We want to talk to people about what they can do, rather than what they can't. We need to ensure that people can be part of their community, just like everyone else.

All councils are facing unprecedented financial pressure and in Shropshire we have to reduce our budget by 27% over the next three years – that's £24.4 million. This is clearly a big challenge and we therefore have to make sure that we make the most of our resources and deliver services as creatively and cost-effectively as possible.

We're actually increasing the amount of money being spent on prevention and enablement, so by working differently we can still provide services for people who need support, just in a different way.

To help us change the way we work we've used the national ‘Making it Real’ statements. These have been shaped by what older and disabled people, carers and citizens expect to feel and experience when it comes to personalised care and support.

One of the ways in which we've changed the way we do things is by making it easier for people to get the support they need more quickly, via things like our First Point of Contact service and Let’s Talk Local sessions.

Lots more work is also going on behind the scenes to make sure that we and our partners are ready to respond to any other changes brought about by the Care Act.

Do you want to find out more?