The Care Act 2014: What Housing Providers Need to Know

The Care Act 2014 (“the Act”) will be coming into force on 1 April 2015. This Act will overhaul existing and piecemeal social care law to consolidate all care and support processes for adults. This will hopefully simplify the law and ensure greater compliance.


One of the biggest changes is the extensive reference to the role of housing and use of housing scenarios in the statutory guidance, as well as great emphasis on co-operation by housing providers.

Relevance to Registered Providers

The duties detailed in the Act by and large relate to Local Authorities (LAs) but there are a number of areas which will directly affect Registered Providers (RPs) and formally impose duties on them.

One of the objectives when drafting the Act was to include housing in the equation when dealing with adult social care given that this often plays a significant role in the health and well-being of individuals. In particular it has been recognised that housing providers can assist with early intervention by providing information only a housing provider would know.

Below are the key provisions of the Act RPs should be aware of:

1.Well-being and the importance of suitable living accommodation (s.1)

There is a new duty on LAs to ‘promote’ well-being when carrying out care and support functions for an individual. This includes ‘actively seeking improvements’ in the aspects of well-being set out in s1(2); one of which is ‘suitability of living accommodation’. This signifies the first reference to the importance of housing in the new Act.

The possible impact of this on RPs is as follows:

a. an increase in consideration of housing needs as part of care and support

b. an increase in requests from social care teams for assistance such as agreeing to carry out adaptions, transferring tenants or providing services.


2. Prevention and early intervention (s.2)

LAs must provide and arrange services, facilities or resources or take other steps which will prevent, delay or reduce individuals’, or carers’, needs for care and support. This duty arises for the LA in the provision of all of their services and not just when carrying out their duties under Part 1 of the Act.

A key element of this section is the LAs responsibility to identify adults and/or carers with care and support needs that are not being met. On a practical level, housing providers are going to have a much better insight into the potential needs of individuals or their carers at an early stage due to the access and frequency in which they interact with tenants.

The Guidance accompanying the Act suggests that LAs should clearly detail how they plan to fulfil their duty in respect of this section, presumably in a written policy. This will invariably require co-operation between different LA

department but also external agencies and organisations, such as RPs. As such, RPs are likely to be called upon to provide information or even adaptations.


3. Housing as part of integrated care, support and health service (s.3)

This section places a duty on LAs to exercise its functions under Part 1 of the Act ‘with a view to ensuring’ the integration of care and support with health and health-related provision ‘where it considers’ that integration would:

a. Promote well-being of adults with needs/carers

b. Contribute to prevention of delay to care and support needs being addressed

c. Improve the quality of care and support

‘Health-related provision’ explicitly includes housing with the view that this will lead to co-operative services and links between the LAs and RPs to ensure that the duty is complied with.


4. The housing provider’s duty of co-operation (s.6 and 7)

Co-operation has been mentioned a lot in this article and that is due to sections 6 and 7 of the Act which impose an express duty on ‘relevant partners’ to co-operate with LAs.

The purpose of the co-operation is to promote wellbeing, improve quality of care, smoothing the transition from children to adult services, safeguarding and case reviews.


5. Exception for housing (s.23)

The Act and Guidance recognises that suitable housing is necessary for the prevention and meeting care and support needs. However, the LA cannot meet care and support needs under the Act by doing anything that they are legally obliged to do, such as provide general housing. They have to show they have fully considered the full needs of the tenant.


6. Safeguarding (s.42-47)

RPs will already be aware of the need to make referrals to the LA if there is a concern about the safety or wellbeing of a resident. The Act now puts this on a formal footing.

Safeguarding Adult Boards (“SAB”) are mandatory and although housing and housing support providers are not required to have a presence, it is expected that RPs will generally be requested to be on SABs going forward due to the new duties detailed above. It important to note that the Statutory Guidance requires all housing and housing support providers to have ‘clear operational policies and procedures that reflect the framework set by the SABs in consultation with them’. This means that staff of housing providers must be trained to ensure compliance with policies and procedures, and most importantly, know who and when to report a safeguarding issue to.

The Act may be a turning point in the relationship between LAs and RPs as LAs are now likely to seek to co-operate with housing providers rather than avoid doing so.

RPs should bear in mind the provisions and in particular, the duty to cooperate and to report safeguarding issues.


For more information, please contact:

Samantha Grix, Solicitor

0207 880 4307


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