Wednesday 11 May 2011
A major revamp of adult social care law in England and Wales is needed to ensure fairer access to services, the Law Commission says. The government advisory body said the current framework, covered by more than 40 laws, was "out-dated and flawed". Instead, it said there should be a single piece of legislation so people were clear about their rights.
The report on Adult Social Care is the first of two reviews ministers will use to reform social care in England in the coming years. An independent commission has also been set up to look at how social care - which is currently means-tested - should be funded.
Law Commissioner Frances Patterson QC said: “Today signals a significant step in moving us closer to a clearer and more coherent framework for adult social care. Our recommendations will bring much needed clarity and accessibility, and have a major, beneficial impact on the lives of many of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Peter Watt, Chief Executive, Counsel and Care hailed the Commission’s recommendations: “We have long campaigned for the entrenchment of quality advice and information in adult social care policy. The recommendation to increase the role of Local Authorities in ensuring that all adults, even those ineligible for council-funded services, receive advice and information is welcome.
Self-funders and carers who are not eligible to receive council services should have the right to needs assessments, guidance, and assistance in planning their immediate or future care. We welcome the empowerment of Local Authorities to help adults to make informed decisions in their best interests. And in a ‘Big Society’ landscape, the role of voluntary organisations to help deliver this will become more and more central.”
“We are still concerned, however, that the recommendations do not recognise that many councils are moving from providing substantial to critical care services only. This will have a severe and long-term negative impact on older people needing care and is not consistent with the messages of prevention and wellbeing. We would ask the Law Commission what they will do to prevent further instances of councils evading their duties to adults needing social care in future.”
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