The Care Act and the ‘easements’ to it

Page last updated: 12 May 2022

The Care Act

The Care Act 2014 is the law that sets out how adult social care in England should be provided. It requires local authorities 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 high quality, appropriate services to choose from
  • have more control over how their care and support is organised.

This law also sets out what local authorities (and some other organisations in the care sector) must do related to:

  • safeguarding adults (including by setting up a Safeguarding Adults Board in their area)
  • promoting people’s wellbeing
  • promoting integration of care and support within health services
  • providing information and advice
  • promoting diversity and quality in provision of services
  • assessing people’s needs and deciding how to meet them
  • imposing charges and assessing people’s finances
  • planning care and support and reviewing those plans
  • setting personal budgets (the amount the authority will pay towards someone’s care)
  • making direct payments to people to enable them to buy their own social care services.

You can find out more by reading the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) guidance on the Care Act on the website.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Care Act ‘easements’

As part of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, some temporary changes have been made to the Care Act. These changes – called ‘easements’ – took effect on 31 March 2020 and make it possible for local authorities to reduce their usual duties.

They mean local authorities won’t have to complete all the assessments or meet all the needs usually expected of them. This will only apply where authorities are unable to meet their usual duties and only for the temporary period the powers are in place.

You can find out more by reading DHSC’s guidance on the Care Act easements on the website.

We are not responsible for monitoring local authorities but we’re publishing information about the easements to help people understand how and where they’re being used. We get information about local authorities using the easements every weekday morning. We will update this page when there is any change to the list.

Local authorities that have exercised the easements

When a local authority decides to use the easements, we will speak to them to understand the reasons for the decision. We will ask them what impact they expect on adult social care services in their area. We will use this information to help us prioritise our monitoring of providers.

There are no local authorities in England currently using the easements.

If you have queries about the easements being put in place, please contact the relevant local authority.

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We've changed the way we work during the coronavirus pandemic to support care services.