Changes to the Care Act that allowed local authorities to suspend their assessment, care planning and review duties during the pandemic have been removed from the statute books.
The changes, made under the Coronavirus Act 2020, were passed as law on March 31 and were intended to enable authorities to prioritise resources.
Councils were also able to refuse to meet needs providing they did not breach the individual’s human rights.
But provisions in the Act have now been removed from the statute books under the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Early Expiry) Regulations 2021.
Only a small number of councils used these easements, and only for a limited time. In July 2020, the CQC said there were no local authorities in England applying for easements of their duties under the Care Act.
Matthew Wort, a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, commented: “In practice the use of the Care Act easements by local authorities has been low so their removal is unlikely to have significant impact.”
He added: “The bigger challenge providers face remains ensuring local authorities do comply with their obligations under the Care Act which is often a challenge due to their own limited budgets and resources dedicated to ensuring a sustainable social care market.”