The Care Act (2014) will come into force on the 1st April 2015. This includes many duties which are aligned with the interests of True Voice. The general duties upon public bodies introduced by the Act could provide a raft of tools that could lead to more people being listened to, and more in control of the care and support that they get.
The duty to promote individual well-being provides a remarkable opportunity for advocates and others to use a legal lever to move to more person centred support. The focus on preventing needs for care and support gives weight to the long standing demand for more proactive and preventative services. The duty to provide information and advice (which includes advocacy in some cases) could give people the ability to truly know and understand their rights and options, and the duty to promote diversity and quality in provision of services could provide a boost for locally based services, small providers and a more mixed care sector.
As ever, this positive view needs to be moderated by the experience of many at the moment. Access to services is difficult. Funding for providers is getting stretched. In some cases we know that legal duties are not being met (see previous posts on IMHA provision). Which brings us neatly, if uncomfortably, onto the right of access to independent advocacy* within the Care Act.
In the coming months I intend to write a bit more on the wellbeing principle, but today I’ve decided to launch a survey to find out how the commissioning of Care Act Advocacy is progressing. With fewer than 80 days until the Act goes live we should expect commissioning to be well advanced.
If you are a provider of advocacy services feel free to take the survey.
The survey will be open until the 20th of January 2015 and a summary of results will be posted here shortly after. Here’s hoping that we can say that people can be confident of being able to use the rights that The Care Act has given to them.
*in certain, specific cases