The Act's major principles include: enable people to have normal life in the community setting, provide adequate level of the care and support to people in their struggle to achieve independence and basic living skills, give people the opportunity to chose how they live and what services they use, promote partnerships between users and providers in all healthcare sectors, and ensure that the resources are available to meet the needs of individuals in the most effective way.
Local authorities already had some responsibility for assessing the needs of disabled people and were obligated to provide the set of special services to them; however, the Act has strengthened their obligation and added that not only the needs of disabled should be assessed but also needs of those individuals who need community care service, including old-aged. One of the arguments is that the Act does not give a clear definition of "need" and does not include the list as well as explanation of the services that have to be provided. For this reason, the service provisions vary greatly between the different local authority areas.
The Act has changed the financial side of service provisions - the transfer of funds has been made from De...
The Act has given the opportunity to service users to choose from the greater number of service providers. For old and disabled people the choice will greatly depend on expenses associated with the service and for this reason, the choice between using the service offered by local authority or the one the individual wants is done in favor of local authorities.
After the introduction of the Community Care Act, the role of the local authorities has changed. Since 1990 local authorities became planner and enablers of public services rather than providers. Local authorities assumed the responsibility for ensuring the service delivery by the large number of providers. The primary function of the public services is to arrange the provision of the care in accordance to the needs of customers. Such service can be provided from different sources. Thus, local authorities became arrangers and purchasers of the care services, and not merely providers.
Community care is a vehicle of the public sector marketization and Community Care Act has played a major role in stressing the need for social services and departments to develop further, specify the processes, and monitor the delivery of these services. Two major outcomes of the Act are the organization of the service delivery through devolved budgets and decentralization of the whole system. Since 1990 local authorities are empowered to promote the service - user choice, encourage the service delivery to homes and targeting the needs of people.
Community Care Act became the first step in urging social service departments to gain commitment from professionals and develop the strategy to meet the needs of old people better.