Care Act Toolkit
Navigating the Care Act with the VOICES toolkit
The aim of the Care Act 2014 is to ‘make the law fair and consistent’ and to remove ‘anomalies, which treat particular groups of people differently’ regardless of the provision they need or when they need it (DH 2013). The Care Act 2014 was introduced in England on 1st April 2015. It rescinds former legislation, including the NHS and Community Act 1990, with the aim of creating a single consistent route to establishing entitlement to publically funded care and support. This may mean that people who were frequently passed over by adult social care on the grounds that they did not come within a certain user group defined in legislation, such as homeless people, will no longer be excluded (Mandelstam 2013).
For the VOICES coordination team, issues quickly came to light in relation to access to adult social care. Coordinators found it difficult to negotiate the initial customer services screening processes and to secure an assessment for their customers.
A key lesson to emerge from VOICES early work, centred on the importance of communicating with adult social care in their own language. We recognised that our referrals to adult social care often provided a narrative account of our customers’ circumstances, which were rarely acted upon by social workers. What worked from an advocacy perspective, was ensuring that referrals clearly specified how presenting needs mapped onto the ‘eligibility regulations’ contained in the Care Act 2014. Eligibility is important because it triggers a legal duty for the local authority to meet a person’s needs.
The videos below are intended as a guide to understanding and using the toolkit in your own work.
< 2 minute introduction to the Care Act 2014 and what it means for people experiencing care and support needs linked to homelessness, substance use, mental ill health and offending behaviours.
2 minute description of what is meant by multiple needs. >
< 2 minute description of how the toolkit bridges the gap between individuals and the social care system by framing multiple needs in the language of social care.
1 minute description of how the toolkit records different viewpoints side-by-side so that people with multiple needs and their supporters can record and communicate their needs as effectively as possible. >
< 9 minute page by page guide on how to use and complete the toolkit.
1 minute description of the impact of the toolkit on professional practice and how it has increased confidence among voluntary sector workers and social workers to explore how multiple needs impacts on the need for care and support. >
< 3 minutes that talks through a case study of how the toolkit empowered an individual to get the help he needed.