Government backs calls for simpler, clearer social care laws


The government has backed calls for new, simpler laws on social care to replace the current “piecemeal” state of the legal framework.

The Department of Health (DoH) was responding to a public consultation by the Law Commission on reform of social care laws.

The commission, which advises the government on law reform, set out draft plans in February to replace 38 different laws and thousands of pages of guidance with “a single, clear and modern statute” as part of a radical overhaul launched under the last government.

The DoH said it agreed with the Law Commission that social care laws were “outdated” and lead to “confusion and inefficiencies for users, carers and professionals”.

It described the laws as “cumbersome, opaque, complex and susceptible to different, often unhelpful, interpretation” and said this leads to money being wasted on legal proceedings “that could be avoided”.

The DoH added: “Expectations have changed and the social care system needs a legal framework that promotes personalised care, increases choice and control and can be used and understood by those that need to access support.

“Our intention is to simplify and greatly reduce the number of pieces of legislation and guidance that govern social care.”

But in a number of controversial areas – such as the portability of services, safeguarding adults  at risk of serious harm, the possible abolition of local authority registers of disabled people, and whether prisons should be included in the provision of adult social care – the DoH said it had yet to reach a decision.

16 September 2010

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