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Local authority care and support plans

Local authorities must help adults in need of care and support to decide how to have their needs met, and to prepare a care and support plan.

This content applies to England

Care and support plans

Where a local authority has a duty to meet an adult's eligible care and support needs (or decides to exercise its power to do so) it must prepare a care and support plan.[1]

The plan must be drawn up in consultation with the adult and, where appropriate, with the adult's carer, or any other person at the adult's request. The plan must comply with the guiding principles of the Care Act 2014, which are to help people achieve the outcomes that matter to them in their life, and to actively seek to improve the adult's well-being. Well-being is 'at the heart of care and support'.[2]

A care and support must specify:[3]

  • the needs identified

  • whether, and to what extent, those needs meet the eligibility criteria

  • which needs the authority will meet and how

  • how meeting needs will affect the outcomes the adult wishes to achieve

  • the adult's 'personal budget', ie the cost to the authority of meeting those needs that it will meet

  • how the adult might delay or prevent future needs arising

There is no duty to draw up a care and support plan where the authority is not responsible for meeting eligible care and/or support needs (for example where the adult makes their own arrangements).

Where any needs will be met by direct payments, the plan must include information on the amount and frequency of charges.

The authority must take all reasonable steps to reach agreement with the adult about how their needs will be met.[4] A copy of the care and support plan must be given to the adult, and to anyone else at the adult's request.[5]

In one case, the High Court quashed the council's care plan because the council had not adequately considered whether it may be under a duty to provide accommodation.[6]

Reviews and challenges of care and support plans

Local authorities must keep care and support plans under review to ensure that they remain accurate and up-to-date.[7] The authority must review the plan on the reasonable request of the adult who is the subject of the plan.

Where the adult's circumstances, such as their needs or finances, have changed to an extent that affects their care plan, the authority must carry out a fresh needs assessment and revise the plan as appropriate.

Where an adult is receiving care and support under legislation prior to the Care Act, their first review after April 2015 must consider whether their existing plan fulfils the requirements above, for example, does it contain the adult's personal budget? If not, steps must be taken to bring it into line.[8]

Find out more from the Care Quality Commission about making a complaint about an adult social care service.

Last updated: 26 March 2021


  • [1]

    s.24 Care Act 2014; ch 10 Care and Support Statutory Guidance, October 2014.

  • [2]

    para 1.1 Care and Support Statutory Guidance, October 2014.

  • [3]

    s.25 Care Act 2014.

  • [4]

    s.25(5) Care Act 2014.

  • [5]

    s.25(9) Care Act 2014.

  • [6]

    R (on the application of SG) v Haringey LBC [2015] EWHC 2579 (Admin).

  • [7]

    s.27 Care Act 2014.

  • [8]

    para 23.20 Care and Support Statutory Guidance, October 2014.