The Care Act – 18 months on

By October 14, 2016Care, Law

A toothless wasteland of impossible breadth or strong beginnings against a fast flowing tide of austerity.

Carers’ Trust have just published a study of surveys with carers and professionals working with them asking about life since ‘The Care Act’. Unsurprisingly the findings were mainly negative but are there chinks of lights to be found amongst the darkness?

My main concerns about the Act were:

  • The lack of reporting requirements against its key criteria
  • The intangibility of the key concepts (such as wellbeing)
  • The omission of legal duty on the NHS to comply and engage
  • The totally oversight on parent carers
  • The introduction of law clearly designed to focus on upstream low level preventative services against a backdrop of austerity and funding cuts to the third sector – who are the main providers of these types of service

On the plus side I was delighted (after 10 years in a carer focused environment) to see them being given parity of esteem in all areas, being recognised and respected in their own right as people with needs as well and I was hoping (albeit without too much fervour) for great things to come.

I spent many hours learning, researching and training frontline voluntary sector staff on the Act. My training lasted 3 hours and often ran over with questions and follow up. We soon learnt that this was substantially more input then the local statutory sector staff were receiving. As a result we achieved some fantastic local successes through knowledgable and carefully planned challenge.

Now, away from that arena, and looking into it from outside I can see that many of my worries were well founded. Indeed several legal cases are now pending on what exactly is ‘wellbeing’, Carers Trusts findings have shown that assessments are still not being done, not proving beneficial or going unnoticed (and changes to Local Authority data recording and reporting are hiding this well) and almost everybody seems powerless as nobody truly has grasped (and has the funding available) to fulfil the core concepts.