Department of Health gives go-ahead for legal review of adult care


The Department of Health have given the go-ahead for a full review of adult social care law in England and Wales, updating all outdated, overlapping and inadequate legislation to create a single over-arching statute similar to the Children Act 1989.

At present there is no single modern statute which disabled people, carers and social care staff can look to, which is something this review is hoping to change. The review should help ensure that organisations, professionals and individuals understand the law and its application and are able to challenge it when it is not followed. Care services minister Phil Hope said:

“The law in relation to adult social care has not been systematically reformed since 1948. This demonstrates the importance of the review we’ve asked the Law Commission to do.

“It is vital that we create a clear, efficient and sustainable legal framework, which is easy to understand and can accommodate future changes to government policy.”

The review which will be undertaken by the Law Commission will also examine the legal framework for safeguarding adults, including powers to remove people from their homes and enter premise.

Alice Maynard, chair of disability charity Scope, said the review was “urgently needed” if the government was to deliver on its pledge of equality for disabled people by 2025. She added:

“We are particularly pleased that the commission has highlighted ordinary residence rules and eligibility for services as key areas that need clarifying. The current framework is unfairly and inconsistently applied across the country and we would like to see this changed so that disabled people are able to access the services they need and have the same freedom in their choice of home location as non-disabled people.”