There are now no local authorities in England applying easements of their duties under the Care Act, the Care Quality Commission has said.
The government published guidance in April on changes to the Care Act 2014 that would allow councils to suspend their assessment, care planning and review duties during the pandemic.
The changes, made under the Coronavirus Act 2020, were passed as law on March 31 and are intended to enable authorities to priorities resources.
Eight out of 151 local authorities had previously applied these easements, but this is now no longer the case.
The CQC said on its website: “There are no local authorities in England currently using the easements.”
The news follows an announcement from Solihull Council on June 30 that it had returned to full compliance with the Care Act.
The council said on its website that the pandemic had created additional demand for care and support services in Solihull as a result of its impact on the people it supports and because many staff were unable to work.
“We want to minimise the impact to the people we support as much as possible. Most care and support services continue. However, because we want to make sure we continue to support those who most need it, we have made changes and reduced support for some people,” it said before the update on June 30.
“We have contacted the people affected individually before making any changes and have worked with them and their families to help find alternative arrangements, including making use of support from the voluntary and community sector. We are monitoring the situation closely and regularly so that full service can be restored as soon as is reasonably possible.”
It is still possible that for councils in England to introduce the easements and this does not represent a change in the legal position.
However, the government has insisted that the easements should only be exercised by councils when it is not possible for them to comply with their duties under the Care Act 2014.
“A local authority should only take a decision to begin exercising the Care Act easements when the workforce is significantly depleted, or demand on social care increased, to an extent that it is no longer reasonably practicable for it to comply with its Care Act duties,” the guidance states.
“The changes] are temporary. The Secretary of State will keep them under review and terminate them, on expert clinical and social care advice, as soon as possible.”
Read the guidance in full here