During 2005/06 to 2009/10, the number of councils which set their local eligibility at the “substantial” banding within the existing guidance increased by nearly a third, and the number of councils setting their eligibility at “moderate” decreased by a similar proportion. This indicates councils making restrictions in access and eligibility over this period.
The following table sets out the percentage of councils in each of the bandings between 2005/06 and 2009/10. The bandings were set out in 2003 guidance and updated in 2010 by Prioritising Need in the Context of Putting People First: A whole system approach to eligibility for social care, which retained the same eligibility framework based on four bandings.
Percentage of LAs at Critical
Percentage of LAs at Substantial
Percentage of LAs at Moderate
Percentage of LAs at Low
Source: The Care Quality Commission. This is provided as % as the total number of local authorities (LAs) providing social care changed over this period.
To resolve substantial and longstanding concerns from people with care needs that the existing framework is opaque and not applied consistently across England, the Government is introducing a national minimum eligibility threshold for adult care and support from 1 April 2015. This will provide more clarity on what level of needs are eligible for care and support. LAs will no longer be able to tighten the criteria beyond this threshold, but they will have the flexibility to meet other needs that are not eligible, if they chose to do so.