Care Act 2014 – Housing – More than a foot in the door…….  

Hotly anticipated Guidance for the Care Act 2014 has been issued by the Department of Health. The full guidance can be found here – The Act as it is to be found on the statute books can be found here.

Headline news in this guidance is the recognition that “Housing is a crucial component of care and support as well as a key health related service.”

The Care Act 2014 has been highlighted by Norman Lamb as “the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years, putting people and their carers in control of their care and support”. Important changes include a new prevention duty placed on local authorities, improved information and advice, introduction of national eligibility criteria, and a cap on the contributions that people have to pay towards the cost of their care. The main legislation will be supported by regulations and guidance to help local authorities with implementation and will include specific advice on links with housing.

The guidance is divided into 8 sections and is intended to provide localities with ‘on the ground’ guidance for implementing the Act. Critically, there is a section specifically dedicated to Working with Housing, resulting from a stronger understanding within government at both central and local level, of the critical role housing has to play in both integration and personalisation.

The Housing section of the guidance (sections 15.54 to 15.74) highlights the connections between housing and relevant clauses in the legislation including:-

  • Clause 1 on Wellbeing
  • Clause 2 on Prevention
  • Clause 3 on Integration of Care and Support services with health and health related services
  • Clause 4 on Providing Information and Advice
  • Clauses 6 and 7 on Co-operation Duties
  • Clause 23 on the Exception for the Provision of Housing

This consultation provides an opportunity to review the strength of understanding demonstrated of housing and housing related support in contributing to this critical agenda. Do you feel that it goes far enough? Can you identify additional case studies or information that could be incorporated to strengthen the guidance? The Act makes prevention a key focus, but do you feel it says enough about housing’s role in this? Are Better Care Fund plans showing housing at the table in high level integration plans?

Make sure you get your voice heard………..

A)     Contribute as an individual or organisation to the consultation by visiting the Department of Health website and share your submission with Sitra

B)     Attend a Sitra consultation workshop, where you will hear directly from both the Department of Health and a Local Authority representative with responsibility for the implementation of the guidance. Book a place on these workshops via the Sitra website

As noted, the Act also incorporates putting for the first time, a cap on the amount anyone will have to pay towards the costs of their care. Sitra worked with the Office of Public Management last year to try and unpick some of the issues that will be prevalent in the implementation of this complex reform, particularly in relation to self funders. Our full report on this can be found here.

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