Social Care Services (also known as Community Care) help people who are in need of support due to illness, disability, old age or poverty. Social care services are available to everyone, regardless of background, and can also support the families or carers of people who receive social care.

Local authorities (councils) are responsible for providing community care services for those who need them. These council-funded social care services may be provided by ‘independent providers’ – firms or charities who specialise in providing social care services.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities took on new functions. This is to make sure that people who live in their areas:

  • receive services that prevent their care needs from becoming more serious, or delay the impact of their needs;
  • can get the information and advice they need to make good decisions about care and support;
  • have a range of providers offering a choice of high quality, appropriate services.

To achive this  Local Authorities must:

  • carry out an assessment of anyone who appears to require care and support, regardless of their likely eligibility for state-funded care
  • focus the assessment on the person’s needs and how they impact on their wellbeing, and the outcomes they want to achieve
  • involve the person in the assessment and, where appropriate, their carer or someone else they nominate
  • provide access to an independent advocate to support the person’s involvement in the assessment if required
  • consider other things besides care services that can contribute to the desired outcomes (e.g. preventive services, community support)
  • use the new national minimum threshold to judge eligibility for publicly funded care and support.

The main provisions of the Care Act came into force from April 2015. A series of 13 fact sheets  detailing the Care Act are available from GOV.UK

A guide to understanding what the changes may mean to you or to a relative is available at the following links:

The Kings Fund

The King’s Fund has pulled together a range of ‘bite-sized social care’ content to help explain social care in England including a series of short videos on what social care is, how it’s provided and paid for, and how it works with the NHS and other services available at this link.

Referral to Local Council

There are a number of ways in which your situation can be brought to the attention of the local authority including:

  • Self-referral
  • Referral from a car Counciler, friend or family member
  • Referral from a professional such as your GP, with your permission.

A template letter (MSWord Download) requesting adult social care assessment is availble at the following link:

Once the local authority is aware that you may have needs, it has a duty to carry out a "needs assessment "after which it will decide whether or not it should provide or arrange community care services for you under its eligibility criteria.

A template letter (MSWord Download) of appeal for Community Care is availble at the following link:

Having established that your identified needs meet the eligibility criteria the local authority then has legal duty to arrange or provide services for you to meet these needs.

It will usually carry out a financial assessment (means test) to establish how much you should contribute towards the cost of providing services to meet your assessed needs.

A care and support plan must always be discussed, agreed and written down. This documents the services you have been assessed as needing and how they will be arranged and will be reviewed on an on-going basis. If you have any concerns you can ask for a review assessment at any time.

Guides to Community Care and the Services

For a full guide to Community Care and the Services that are available go to the NHS web-site.

Alternatively a guide to assessment services and community care is available for download at

More information is about Support and Care is available at the following links:

To locate Care homes and Domiciliary care services  near to you follow this link.

Hospital Stays

It is probable that may be admitted to hospital at some point and this can be both stressful and unsettling. AgeUK have produced a downloadable guide explaing what to expect when going into hospital, while you’re there and when you’re discharged, available at this link.

Further information

For a guide to your Rights to Care and to complain go to

For details of all Benefits and financial support if you're disabled or have a health condition, go to GOV.UK

For more information about benefits, see Benefits for people who are sick and disabled.

For more information about travel concessions, see Help with the Cost of Transport options if you're disabled.

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