The Care Act: what it will mean for deafblind people

Sense and deafblind people have been campaigning on the Care Act for the last three years, trying to make sure that the Act and its regulations and guidance take account of the needs of deafblind people. Deafblind people have been meeting with officials, emailing and meeting their MPs, writing to the paper and generally raising the issue of support for deafblind people. The Care Act came into force on 1 April 2015.

Some of the key points are:

  • The right to specialist assessments is in regulations, not just statutory guidance. Statutory guidance is legally binding in most cases, but regulations are slightly stronger.
  • The statutory guidance, for the first time, sets out a minimum level of training for deafblind assessors – it is now clear that a deafblind awareness course is not sufficient for carrying out an assessment.
  • There are requirements for specialists to be involved in care planning for deafblind people.
  • If the care plan is to be signed off by a panel, at least one member of the panel must have deafblind specialist training.
  • The training materials designed to help local authorities train their staff in the new law include a hand out on deafblindness which should help raise the profile of the need for specialist assessments.
  • Deafblindness is mentioned in the guidance on information and advice provision.
  • The need to ensure sufficient communicator guides are available locally is mentioned in the market shaping guidance.
  • The fact that points-based RAS systems for setting a personal budget don’t work for deafblind people or people with complex needs is mentioned in the guidance.
  • The direct payments chapter includes a case study of supporting a deafblind man to use direct payments, and of a deafblind person needing support in hospital.
  • There is a case study in the transition chapter about ensuring that young people with complex needs have their transition assessment early enough to plan support.

You can read our information about your current rights to social care support, and these pages will be updated to reflect the Care Act.

What happens next?

The Care Act has to be implemented by local authorities. Sense will be supporting local authorities to do this for deafblind people. Find out more about the implementation of the Care Act.

 

First published: Thursday 7 June 2012
Updated: Wednesday 1 April 2015