Latest Public Sector News


Care Bill becomes law

After passing through the House of Lords, the government’s Care Bill has received royal assent, becoming law on May 14, and bringing with it sweeping reform for care and support across the country. 

Under the legislation, there are provisions in place for delivering a minimum eligibility threshold – a set of criteria that makes it clear when local authorities will have to provide support to people. 

Care minister Norman Lamb said: “Until now, local authorities have been able to decide this threshold themselves, meaning decisions varied from place to place. And, in the face of financial pressures, a number of councils have raised their threshold level in recent years. 

“In future, councils will not be allowed to tighten their thresholds beyond this minimum threshold, giving those who are eligible peace of mind that they won’t have their care taken away from them because of some arbitrary change to the criteria.” 

Additionally, local authorities will have a duty to consider the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the individual needing care. They will also have a new duty to provide preventative services to maintain people’s health. The care system will also be built around each person – through Personal Budgets. 

But the measures, which include plans to introduce a £72,000 cap on care costs in England (not including accommodation costs) and safeguards for data-sharing of medical records, have been labelled “modest” and a “Frankenstein Bill” by Labour. 

In defence of the Bill, Lamb said: “All too often we see people falling through the cracks between the NHS and care and support provided in the community – different parts of the system don’t talk to each other or share appropriate information, so people don’t get the support they need. That’s why we have made a commitment to make joined-up health and care the norm by 2018. 

“Of course, we have to find a way to fund all these changes. That’s why the £3.8bn announced in the Spending Review settlement to bring together health and social care budgets, and make sure everyone gets a properly joined up service, is so important,” he added. 

The Bill also includes provisions to introduce mandatory training and certification of health and care support workers (HCSWs). 

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said that by introducing mandatory training and certification, the country is one step closer to consistent training and accountability – meaning better care for patients. 

He stated: “The new Care Certificate is intended to give reassurance to patients about the skills, attitudes and competence of the people looking after them. The RCN will be interested to see the outcome of the forthcoming pilots, and to ensure that the certificate is fit for purpose prior to the wider implementation from March 2015.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


C Lingham   20/05/2014 at 16:29

At last some common sense has prevailed ( I hope) For some years, we in the care industry have been waiting with empty beds for those in hospital we know shouldn't be there and who would benefit from a little more TLC whether it be permanent or temporary. However, One of the things that concerns me is that the government are setting thresholds as to who is eligible for care but there is no threshold as to what the various councils must pay for that care. Everyone wants a certain standard of care; the Government, the Council, the CQC,the resident, their families, but nobody in authority bothers to check how much this standard of care is actually costing to maintain or even improve. Granted, Laing & Buisson come up with a figure but it is largely ignored by both Government and Councils, mainly, I believe, because some councils have got so far behind the true cost of care with their contributions, that to bring it in line with anywhere near what they should be paying would add millions to their budget. Meanwhile, the care industry is suffering. Now the powers that be are advocating more training: You cannot train care into someone, it is a human trait that is more prevalent in some more than others. Poor care is due to poor management and supervision, restrictive employment laws and poor pay and conditions. With regard to the mandatory training for Health Care Workers. Roughly what form is this training to take? How long will it take? Who is going to pay? Will this training have to be completed before the carer is allowed to start work? And, when are Nurses going to do 'care training'? Their training should not be down to hospitals it should be done in good care homes who cater for some dementia residents selected by ???? and for at least 3 months. Training is good for theoretical knowledge but there is no substitution for hands on experience. I'd like to know who sits on these committees that develop these 'Bills'? As usual it's a one rule fits all and merely burdens small business with yet more time consuming, money consuming, bureaucracy and this element will do nothing to improve the care system.

Add your comment

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >