On 11 July 2012, the Government published a white paper and draft bill setting out reforms for the care and support system in the UK. The white paper, Caring for our future: reforming care and support, proposes reforming the current system to focus on promoting personal independence.
The Draft Care and Support Bill creates a single modern piece of law for adult care and support, replacing the existing more complex legislation. The Bill is divided into three parts:
- Part 1: Care and support, which deals with the responsibilities and duties of local authorities
- Part 2: Health, which deals with the establishment of Health Education England (HEE) and the Health Research Authority (HRA)
- Part 3: General, which deals with interpretation and commencement
This draft bill, if enacted, will radically overhaul the current care and support system. Several of the draft bill’s proposals are aimed at increasing independence but at the same time encouraging personal autonomy and less reliance on state-provided care and support. Whilst the Government has pledged to invest a further £300 million over the next three years in joint funding between the NHS and social care, local authorities are likely to be concerned about precisely how this money is going to be spent, given the Government has at present declined to implement the £35,000 cap on care fees suggested by the Dilnot Commission, which potentially could give rise to more costs for local authorities.
The consultation on the draft Bill closes on the 19 October 2012.