Personal development plan social care workers
Photo: Burger/Phanie/Rex Features
The draft statutory guidance for the Care Act 2014 provides a blueprint for how councils should implement the legislation in April 2015 and how they should deploy social workers and other staff in doing so.
Below we set out some of the key provisions for social workers and what the draft guidance has to say about their role.
The Act places a duty on local authorities to provide or arrange services that reduce needs for support among people and their carers in the local area, and contributes towards preventing or delaying the development of such needs (section 2).
The draft statutory guidance states that preventive services should operate at three levels: primary prevention to stop care and support needs from developing among those who do not have them, for example through health promotion or action to reduce isolation; secondary prevention, for people at increased risk of developing needs, which could involve housing adaptations or telecare that prevent deterioration; and tertiary prevention for people with established needs to help improve independence, for example through reablement.
Assessments should seek to promote independence and resilience by identifying people’s strengths and informal support networks, as well as their needs and the risks they face, and asking what a good life means to them and how they think it can be achieved in partnership with professionals.
Information and advice
The draft statutory guidance sets out what topics councils should provide – or commission – information and advice on, and specifies that they must ensure that this is accessible and open to all who would benefit from it. It also sets out a clear role for social workers in supporting staff providing information and advice so that people with more complex needs can be identified as soon as possible.
“To help ensure that information and advice is proportionate to the needs of those for whom it is provided, a local authority should enable those providing information and advice to people contacting the local authority to have access to the support of registered social work advice when it is required, ” it says. “This can help ensure that the potential for complexity is recognised early on and the person receives help to access non-statutory services and/or initial statutory sector support proportionate to their needs.”
Sections 9-13 sets out the Act’s provisions on assessing adults and carers, including duties to assess adults if they appear to have needs for care and support, and carers if they appear to have needs for support. These are fleshed out in the draft statutory guidance.