Social care

Find out more about social care in England and the role of housing with the introduction of the Care Act 2014.

Many people will require social care (extra care or support) at some point in their lifetime. 

The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 overhauls much of the care system in England. The Act introduces:

  • National eligibility criteria to ensure that everyone across England is eligible for the same level of social care wherever they live
  • Formal recognition of the rights of carers and support for those eligible
  • A number of important new duties on local Government

The Government recently announced the delay until 2020 of the funding reforms in the Care Act, including the planned cap on care costs an individual will pay over their lifetime of £72,000.

Housing and the Care Act 2014

Our lobbying resulted in the Government making a number of changes to the Act that recognise how crucial housing is to a person’s care, including:

  • The definition of the core well-being principle, which local authorities have a duty to promote, includes the suitability of living accommodation
  • Housing is now explicitly referenced as part of local authorities’ new duty to promote the integration of health and care.
  • Registered providers of social housing are now explicitly listed as one of the partners a local authority must co-operate with when considering and planning a person’s need for care and support

The Federation also secured a significant number of changes to the statutory guidance, including:

  • Strengthening the prevention guidance to go beyond traditional health and social care services and include housing
  • Recognition of the role housing plays in providing information and advice to tenants
  • Within the guidance on market shaping and commissioning, setting out housing’s role in promoting choice and wellbeing, and calling for local authorities to encourage the development of services such as extra care and supported living
  • Encouraging local authorities to engage with housing providers when developing market shaping plans
  • Working with the Care and Support Alliance, to ensure the new eligibility criteria include relevant outcomes such as “being able to make use of the adult’s home safely”, and “maintaining a habitable home environment”

Key areas of interest to housing include new duties on local authorities on prevention, information and advice on care, market shaping (promoting diversity and quality in provision of services) integrating services, and market oversight (the legal responsibilities on local authorities where a provider of care services fails). The Care Act also introduces new guidance on safeguarding which all housing providers should follow if they are working with vulnerable people who are at risk of abuse, regardless of whether they are the care provider. You can find out more about housing associations new safeguarding responsibilities, and download useful resources, from the Housing and Safeguarding Alliance webpage.

Find out more

Find out more about what the new duties for local authorities mean for housing associations in our briefing on the Care Act 2014.