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Health and social care rights

Explains your rights to health and social care for your mental health. Includes information on eligibility for social care and how local authorities may meet your needs.

What's care and support planning?

If your local authority has decided that you have eligible needs for care and support, then it will plan with you what support you can be given. You should be involved in the care and support planning process.

The law says that the local authority must:

  • Prepare a care and support plan, and give you a copy of that plan. This should happen within a reasonable time – the law does not set a time limit. If your needs are complex, your plan may take longer to prepare
  • Tell you which of your needs which it can meet with direct payments
  • Help you decide how to have your needs met

How will I be involved in the care and support planning process?

The law is clear that you must be genuinely involved in planning your care and support. This means that:

  • You're the person who best knows what your needs are
  • You should play an active role in planning your care and support

The process is described as 'person-centred' and 'person-led'.

The plan belongs to you. The planning process should be built around your wishes and feelings and your needs, values and aspirations. The law says that the local authority must take all reasonable steps to reach agreement with you about how to meet your needs.

What if I lack capacity to make care and support planning decisions?

In care and support planning, the local authority shouldn't assume that you lack capacity to make decisions. But if it thinks that you may lack capacity, it should carry out a capacity assessment. This is to assess whether you have the capacity to make decisions about your care and support.

If you lack capacity to make these decisions, then you may be supported by an appropriate person like a:

  • Family member
  • Carer
  • Friend

If you don't have someone to support you, the local authority should appoint an independent advocate to assist, support and represent you.

What will my care and support plan cover?

Your care and support plan should set out:

  • What your needs are
  • How your needs will be met
  • How the plan will help you achieve your needs and wishes

Someone from the local authority will work with you to prepare it.

The laws of England and Wales are slightly different on what care and support plans must cover.

If you're in England, your care and support plan will set out:

  • What your needs are
  • Which of these are eligible needs
  • Which needs the local authority will meet and how they will meet them
  • How the care and support provided will help your wellbeing, and help you achieve the outcomes you want to achieve
  • Information about which of your needs are met by a carer, and if they're able and willing to continue to meet those needs
  • Information about your personal budget
  • Advice and information about reducing your needs or preventing them from developing in the future
  • Information about direct payments, if this is how some or all of your care and support is going to be provided

If you're in Wales, your care and support plan will set out:

  • What your eligible needs are
  • What your personal outcomes are
  • What the local authority will do to meet your needs and help you achieve your personal outcomes
  • How the local authority will monitor how you're achieving your personal outcomes
  • The arrangements for reviewing the plan
  • Information about direct payments, if this is how some or all of your care and support is going to be provided.

The law says that there must be a named individual to coordinate how the plan is going to be prepared, completed, reviewed, delivered and revised.

Can my care and support plan be connected to other plans?

Yes. If appropriate, care and support plans can be combined with plans for other people. They can also be combined with plans provided by different organisations. For example, you may have plans that relate to your healthcare, such as under the Care Programme Approach (CPA) or Care and Treatment Planning (CTP). Or there may be plans involving other people who are relevant to your care and support. For example, another member of your household or your carer.

At the start of the care and support planning process, the local authority should check whether you have plans with other agencies. If there's a combined plan, one organisation should take the lead on monitoring your plan. You should be given the name of a lead professional to be your point of contact.

Will my care and support plan be reviewed?

Yes – your needs may change over time, so it's essential that your plan is kept under review and changed if necessary. However, reviews of your care and support plan should not be used as a way to make cuts to services provided to you.

The purpose of reviewing your plan is to:

  • Monitor progress and changes
  • Consider how the care and support plan is meeting your needs and allowing you to achieve your personal outcomes
  • Keep your plan up to date
  • Determine what, if any, services might be needed in the future

When will my plan be reviewed?

Your care and support plan should be reviewed:

  • 12 months from when it was first set up
  • Every 12 months after that

However, it might be reviewed more frequently if:

  • You have few friends or family members supporting you
  • Your circumstances change. For example, if your condition worsens
  • There are problems with the delivery of your care and support, such as a care worker providing poor care and support or a change in a care provider

You have the right to request a review of your care and support plan. If your request is reasonable, the local authority should carry out the review within a reasonable time.

There must be a review if your care and support plan is going to be closed.

How is a review carried out?

The way the review is carried out should be agreed with you and should be appropriate to your circumstances. It can be carried out in a number of ways:

  • Self-review. This is when you review your own care and support plan and submit it to the local authority for them to sign off. This method is generally only appropriate if you have a stable, longstanding support package with fixed or long-term outcomes.
  • Peer-led review. This includes, for example, a group of friends or family helping you review your plan.
  • Review from a distance. This could be by phone or online.
  • Face-to-face review. This is where you sit down with your social worker and go through your plan.

The local authority must involve you when carrying out the review. If you'll have difficulty involving yourself in the review process, the local authority should appoint an independent advocate for you. It should also involve:

  • Your carer
  • Your family
  • Anyone else you request, if that's appropriate and what you want

What will the review focus on?

The review should focus on matters such as:

  • Have your circumstances or needs changed?
  • What's working in the plan? What isn't working? What may need to change?
  • Have the outcomes set out in the plan been achieved?
  • Do you have new outcomes you want to achieve?
  • Could improvements be made to achieve better outcomes?
  • Is your personal budget appropriate and appropriately managed? (England only)
  • Are there changes to your support network?
  • Are you at risk of neglect or abuse?
  • Are you satisfied with the plan?
  • If you have a carer or advocate, are they satisfied with the plan?

What happens after the review?

If no changes are needed, your care and support plan will continue as before.

Your plan will be revised if there's a need to make changes to it. When revising your care and support plan, the local authority will look at the same issues as it would when it assesses your needs.

You must be involved in any decision to revise your care and support plan. Your carer and family should be involved if you want them to be. The local authority should provide you with an advocate if you have difficulty being involved in the process.

This information was published in February 2023. We will revise it in 2026. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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