One year on for the Care Act

More information, better choice and greater control: Somerset County Council is today (1 April) celebrating the impact the Care Act on its first anniversary.

The new legislation came into force a year ago with the aim of making care and support more consistent across the country and much has changed in Somerset.

People can now access better information and advice by visiting the Somerset Choices website (www.somersetchoices.org.uk). The site allows people to make choices about their care and support and people can search a directory of services to find things like, exercise groups, mobility equipment, dementia cafes, care homes and help at home, plus much more.

Somerset is creating more choice when it comes to who provides people’s care. Somerset’s micro-enterprise project has helped over 60 new small care and support providers set up in the local area to offer alternative care and support options. Micro-providers can offer anything from home help and care at home to social groups and gardening services. All of which help people to stay independent and living in their own home. These services can be found on the Somerset Choices website.

Somerset people have more control over their care. The Care Act legislation states that people must have a personal budget to cover the full costs of their eligible care needs, and that people should make a contribution towards their care based on what they can afford to pay. Somerset County Council has updated its Charging Policy which will come into effect from April 2016. Going forward everyone will have a personal budget that they can spend on care and support services of their choice.

Carers in Somerset have more control. Carers now have a right to an assessment of their needs as a result of the Care Act and may be able to get more help to support them in their caring role or to have a life outside of caring. The County Council has been working with Carer’s Voice Somerset to listen to carers needs and has started working with carers to develop local services that meet their needs.

Cllr William Wallace, Cabinet Member for Adults Services, said: “The Care Act benefits many people. It has made things fairer and gives people more choice and control over their care.

“People can find out about lots of activities going on in communities across the county using Somerset Choices so they can keep themselves healthy and get support when they start to feel that they need some extra help. And everyone the Council supports will now have a personal budget so they can clearly see what the money is being spent on and make choices about who provides their care and select the services they want.”