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MASTERCLASS: Applying the Care Act – making legally literate decisions about personal budgets

Friday 14 December 2018
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

MASTERCLASS: Applying the Care Act – making legally literate decisions about personal budgets
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The aim of this masterclass is for participants to improve their ability to make decisions about what is a sufficient budget to meet needs that represents value for money and good outcomes for the individual, by understanding how local authorities are sometimes applying the Care Act 2014 in ways that can be considered as unsatisfactory, and may be unlawful.

With councils under pressure to drive down the cost of care packages, social workers can be placed in circumstances where application of the legal rules and their professional judgements are compromised. Added to this, the highlighting of the resourcing of social care as a result of the proposed Green Paper, is raising the profile of the challenges that local authorities face in relation to resource allocation decisions. This masterclass will enable participants to consider what can be learned from the rising number of cases being dealt with by the Ombudsman, and also landmark judicial reviews. The aim is to improve the ability of participants to apply the Care Act and the statutory guidance in a legally literate way - by utilising the approach set out in ‘The Social Worker’s Guide to the Care Act 2014’.

The approach taken focuses on the social worker’s role in balancing legal requirements with good social work practice, whilst working within the context of the local policies and budget constraints. The emphasis will be on care and support planning, and how decision-making about the personal budget fits within this. Consideration will be given to reviewing and revising such decisions – particularly in circumstances where the personal budget can potentially be reduced.

Key Learning Objectives: 

  • Understand the significance of decisions made in Davey v Oxfordshire and JF v Merton, in relation to reducing the cost of care packages. 
  • Consider Ombudsman findings on disputes about the amount of the personal budget .
  • Explore the implications of the above for how social workers apply the Care Act to assessment, eligibility, care and support planning and reviews.
  • Review the application of the statutory guidance on professional judgement, cost to the local authority, value for money and adults/carers desired outcomes.
  • Better understand the circumstances where a local authority can reduce/increase the cost of an individual’s care package and the how this can be achieved.
  • Reflect on what needs to be done to prevent disputes developing into complaints to the Ombudsman or judicial reviews.
     

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