Commission in move to simplify social care laws

Local authorities will have a legal duty to produce a care and support plan and allocate an individual budget for those in need of social care as part of reforms recommended to the Government.

Last week, the Law Commission, which is an independent body that recommends reforms to the Government, published its latest report on adult social care. It recommends simplifying and bringing together social care laws and responsibilities under a single adult social care statute for England, with a separate statue for Wales.

The legal framework would cover the local authority provision of services such as care homes, homecare and day centres for those needing extra support, including older people, those with disabilities and carers.

The Law Commission says local authorities should have a duty to provide information, advice and assistance about social care services in their area.

Local authorities would have a duty to assess a person’s social care needs and produce a care and support plan to show how those needs will be met. Care and support plans would have to show the personal budget or the sum of money that has been allocated to meeting a person’s social care needs and how it has been calculated.

Law commissioner Frances Patterson, QC, says: “This report signals a significant step in moving us closer to a clearer and more coherent framework for adult social care.”

Partnership managing director for care Chris Horlick says: “This is a much needed rationalisation by the Law Commission. It provides a clear, modern and effective legal framework for the provision of adult social care services.”

The report marks the conclusion of the commission’s adult social care project which it has been working on since 2008.

The Government will introduce legislation to implement the recommendations next year.