"Thanks so much for all your help, advice, patience and effort from day one to today - I can’t imagine how this would have turned out without your skill and stamina."
- A son acting for his mother in a care fees dispute
"Your impact has definitely been felt by all involved, it’s efficient, intelligent and dynamic. I can feel that the opposing party are raising their standards, as soon as they hear from you."
- Sister of disabled man challenging care package
When considering the delivery of services to vulnerable people, local authority social services departments must go through the steps that are set down in the Care Act 2014. They are:
- Assessment: Where it appears to a local authority that an adult may have needs for care and support, they must assess whether they do have needs and what those needs are. The assessment must be made by a person with the training qualification and experience to understand the needs of the person.
- Identification of eligible needs: The government has made regulations as to the minimum needs all local authorities must support. The authority must identify those needs from the assessment.
- Identify the council's duty to meet needs: The council must decide whether the adult needs financial support in having their eligible needs met. If they do, the council must meet their needs, unless they are already being met other than by the provision of paid for care (see carers section). The council also owe a duty to meet the eligible needs of people who are above the financial limits but who lack capacity and have no one to arrange their care for them.
- Care planning: Having identified that it has a duty to meet needs the council must prepare a care and support plan for the adult , tell the adult which (if any) of the needs that it is going to meet may be met by direct payments and help the adult decide how to have the needs met. The care plan produced must identify all the needs of the person whether eligible or not and explain which of needs identified are to be met and how.
A central aim of care planning should be to maintain the independence of the adult. This usually means helping them to live in their own home. (See rehabilitation section)
In practice there is often an upper limit to the resources that a local authority will use to keep a person at home. That is the equivalent cost of placing the adult in residential care. The authority cannot consider only cost when making a judgement on how much to spend maintaining independence.
Social services care plans and the amount of money offered to pay for the provision can be appealed.