Local Authorities Duties To Adults With Learning Disabilities

Wed, 09 Feb 2011

By Olivia Chaffin-Laird
The system concerning the eligibility for social care has been subject to scrutiny. The previous guidance: Fair Access to Care Services [FACS] was issued in 2003 and had become out of date and unworkable, raising new questions and issues than it resolved. 
 
Many local authorities had raised their eligibility criteria to such an extent that many who were in need of resources were deemed ineligible. The system was complicated and did not safeguard those in need for any length of time. 
 
That has now been replaced. New guidelines have now been issued by the Department of Health relating to the eligibility for social care and provides guidance on eligibility criteria for adult social care. It came into effect in April 2010. 
 
It seeks to support fairness, transparency and consistency in the application and receipt of care nationwide. It sees to avoid a postcode lottery and simplify the system. It hopes to reiterate good practice and the obligations upon local authorities to conduct assessments of need both appropriately and thoroughly. It urges local authorities to seek to implement a preventative measure rather than attempt to cure a more complicated issue further down the line. 
 
The new guidelines reassert to local authorities their responsibilities, duties and obligations under statutes, statutory instruments and guidelines. It goes on to describe the duties owed towards “adults in need,” the manner in which local authorities should assess the level of need and provide services to meet it. 
 
It seeks to reflect the increased focus on “personalisation”, i.e. giving an individual greater choice about how they receive support and personal control over resources. It hopes to prevent vulnerable people needing social care for as long as possible. 
 
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