Introduction to the Care Act 2014

Big Ben at Houses of Parliament

The Care Act is a new law about the care and support of adults and carers. It brings lots of pieces of legislation into one new law.

The Care Act is the biggest change in Adult Social Care legislation for 60 years. It includes everyone.

Choosing a home

The main purpose of the Care Act is to support people to get the outcomes that matter to them in their life.

It has to focus on the needs and goals of the person and put them at the centre.

Help with filling in a form

The Care Act says local authorities must make sure all adults in their area have access to information and advice on their care and support and to keep them safe from abuse and neglect.

The Care Act includes prisoners.

What does the Care Act do?

Person centred
The Care Act applies equally to adults with care and support needs and their carers. In some cases, it applies to children and young carers. It also applies to young people over 16 who are in transition to adult services.

The person's wellbeing has to be at the centre of every decision that is made.

9 areas of wellbeing

Wellbeing covers a big area, the Care Act guidance says it covers 9 areas

  • personal dignity and treating the person with respect
  • physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • protection from abuse and neglect
  • control by the person of their everyday life. This includes how and where their support is provided.
  • being involved in work, education, training and leisure
  • social and economic wellbeing
  • domestic, family and personal relationships
  • living in a suitable place
  • being involved in the community

The local authority needs to look at the parts of the person's wellbeing that are most important to them.

Local authorities must

  • involve people in decisions that are made about them and their care and support
  • help people to express their wishes and feelings. Support people to make choices and help them to make their own decisions.

Care Act Advocacy

Help with information Not understanding assessment
Independent advocacy is about giving the person as much control as possible over their life. It helps them understand information, say what they want and what they need.

Not everyone is entitled to advocacy under the Care Act. There are 2 conditions

  • the person has substantial difficulty in being fully involved with their assessment, care and support planning and review or safeguarding
  • there is no one appropriate and available to support and represent their wishes

Help with a letter Explaining something Care Act Advocacy referral form
what does substantial difficulty mean?
  • understanding relevant information
  • remembering information
  • using information to help them be involved in making decisions
  • communicating their views, wishes and feelings

what does appropriate to support mean?

The Care Act says it is not enough to love the person and know them well. They have to be able to support the person to be involved in their care and support. They cannot be employed by the local authority or paid to support the person in another role.

Some people may not have anyone suitable or the person may not want them to be involved.

If the person meets these 2 conditions, the local authority must refer for an independent advocate.

Hospital patient Disagreement
There are 3 situations where an advocate must be involved even if there is an appropriate individual to support them. These are
  • if a person is in hospital for more than 4 weeks
  • if a person is in a care home for more than 8 weeks
  • if there is a disagreement between the local authority and the appropriate individual and all agree that the involvement of an advocate would benefit the person

When to refer for an advocate

First contact
Referrals should be made as soon as it is clear that someone will have substantial difficulty being involved and no appropriate individual has been identified to support them. Advocacy should be considered from the first point of contact, request or referral (including self-referral) and at any subsequent stage of the care and support process
Help with a referral
If a referral is not made immediately, perhaps because advocacy was not required at that time, a referral can be made at any stage in the care and support process.
Assessment before 1 April 2016
To support the transition of people currently receiving council arranged care in England to the Care Act, reassessment of eligibility will not be required until the next care review. However, any reassessment must be carried out before 1 April, 2016.
People in their community
The right to an advocate applies in all settings regardless of whether the person lives in the community or a care home, and includes prisons (except with safeguarding enquiries or Safeguarding Adult Reviews).

What is the advocate's role?

Assessment with advocate Safeguarding alert
Advocates get involved in
  • a needs assessment
  • a carer's assessment
  • a transition assessment
  • the preparation of a care and support or support plan
  • a review of a care and support or support plan
  • a safeguarding enquiry
  • a safeguarding adult review
  • an appeal or complaint about a local authority decision
Accessing medical records
Advocates have the right to look at the person's health or social care records to support people with their
  • assessments
  • care planning
  • reviews
  • safeguarding

Who are advocates?

Advocates must have
  • a suitable level of experience
  • appropriate training and the National Advocacy Qualification within 1 year
  • integrity and good character
  • be independent
  • have regular supervision
Group of friends
Advocates do not
  • choose for the person
  • be their friend
  • give advice
  • take other people's side

Make a referral to this service

To make a referral go to the Referral page of this website

If you need help with your referral or if you have any questions please call
0345 310 1812
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
Calls cost 3p per minute, plus your phone company's access charge. Charges may vary.