The Government has published guidance for the Care Act easements in place to help councils with the coronavirus pandemic.
The easements have been created under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and aim to ensure support is given to the people who need it most. They make temporary changes to the responsibilities of local authorities set out in the Care Act 2014, including:
- Local authorities will not have to carry out detailed assessments of people’s care and support needs. They are still expected to respond as soon as possible to requests for care and support, and to consider the needs and wishes of people needing care and their family and carers, and they must still make an assessment of what care needs to be provided.
- Local authorities do not have to carry out financial assessments at this time. They are, however, able to charge people retrospectively for the care and support they receive during this period, as long as 'reasonable' information is given around this and once a financial assessment has been carried out.
- Local authorities do not have to prepare or review care and support plans until further notice. They are however still expected to carry out proportionate, person-centred care planning. Where authorities choose to revise plans, they must continue to involve people using services and their carers.
- Local authorities' duties to meet eligible care and support needs, or the support needs of a carer, are replaced with a power to prioritise the most pressing needs. Local authorities should take all reasonable steps to continue to meet needs as now, but, if they are unable to do so, the powers will enable them to offer, for example, enhanced support for people who are self-isolating, and to temporarily delay or reduce other care provision.
Additional information does state that local authorities must still be able to give providers enough information about a person's needs and circumstances that they are able to make an informed decision on whether or not to accept the referral.
The full guidance on Care Act easements is available on the Government website.