Social care and coronavirus – temporary changes to the law

Posted on: April 2nd, 2020

Over the past few weeks we have been advising those with care needs, and the people supporting them, about how their needs can continue to be best met in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Those reliant on others to meet their care needs or who are delivering care have been posed with a unique set of challenges during this period of lockdown.

Yesterday the Government published guidance to help councils, who have responsibility for arranging and funding care, to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance has been created under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and aims to ensure support is given to the people who need it most. They make temporary changes to the responsibilities of councils including:

  • Councils will not have to carry out detailed assessments of people’s care and support needs. They are still expected to respond as soon as possible to requests for care and support, and to consider the needs and wishes of people needing care and their family and carers, and they must still make an assessment of what care needs to be provided.
  • Councils do not have to carry out financial assessments at this time. They are, however, able to charge people retrospectively for the care and support they receive during this period, as long as ‘reasonable’ information is given about this and once a financial assessment has been carried out.
  • Councils do not have to prepare or review care and support plans until further notice. They are however still expected to carry out proportionate, person-centred care planning. Where authorities choose to revise plans, they must continue to involve people using services and their carers.
  • Councils’ duties to meet eligible care and support are replaced with a power to prioritise the most pressing needs. Councils should still take all reasonable steps to continue to meet needs as now, but, if they are unable to do so, the powers will enable them to offer, for example, enhanced support for people who are self-isolating, and to temporarily delay or reduce other care provision.

The full guidance on Care Act easements is available on the Government website. We are assisting clients to understand how these changes might impact them and to help them best plan for any expected further changes ahead.

For more information, please contact a member of the Court of Protection team or fill in the enquiry form.