The person who does your assessment should let you know whether the local authority will provide care or arrange it for you, and give you a copy of your care plan.
Your care plan should include:
- A summary of your needs
- Details of what support you’ll need to meet your needs
- An explanation of any charges you’ll need to pay (following a financial assessment)
- Information about the help carers and others can give you
- A date when your assessment and services will be reviewed.
If you’re eligible for funding
If you qualify for financial support but would prefer to arrange the care yourself, you're free to do so. You should ensure the care provider can meet your needs, has availability and that their costs are within the personal budget you've been set by the Adult Social Care team.
Once you've found a provider, inform your local authority and they'll be able to discuss payment arrangements with you and the provider.
If you’re self-funding
You have the ‘right to request’ help from the local authority to find services that meet your assessed needs for care at home. The authority has a legal duty to help, but they're allowed to charge you a reasonable ‘arrangement fee’ for this service.
For care in a care home, a local authority will generally only arrange this if you lack mental capacity and can’t make these arrangements yourself. If you can’t make arrangements and have no family to help you, then the authority still have a duty of care to assist you in finding a home.
If you think the outcome of your care needs, carers or financial assessment isn’t right, you should first ask for an explanation of the local authority’s decision in writing. You can then ask them to reconsider the areas where you feel they’ve reached the wrong conclusion, giving them any additional information they’ll need to change their decision.
- Contact your local authority and ask for a copy of their formal complaints procedure and contact details for the Local Government Monitoring Officer. Their role is to make sure the local authority is following all relevant guidance and legislation.
- Make your formal complaint and send a copy to the Monitoring Officer.
- If the local authority doesn’t change its decision, they’ll explain how to take your complaint to the Care Ombudsman.
- Keep your complaint focused on where you feel a mistake has been made in the assessment process.
- Share any evidence you have, like bank statements or medical reports.
- Give details of any correspondence you’ve had with the local authority, including names and dates.
- It isn’t necessary for you to have legal representation, but you can if you wish to.
- Typically, you have 12 months to make a complaint from the date you receive the care assessment decision. The local authority should respond within six months, but often it’s quicker.
If you can’t resolve things with the local authority, you can ask the care ombudsman to take a look at your complaint. In England, this is called the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO). In Wales you can escalate your complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman. In Scotland, it’s the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and in Northern Ireland, it’s called the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman.
Understanding your options
While they’re the most well known, care homes aren’t your only option. Find out about other potential options, such as home adaptations.
Paying for care
If you want to find out how you could pay for a retirement home, use our Care Costs Calculator.
Whether you need some help at home or want to find out more about Care Homes in your area, we have information on where to search and what questions to ask.