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What happens to my care when I move home?

People with care and support needs will sometimes want to move to a new area, just like anyone else - for instance, to get a new job, or to be closer to family.

The Care Act ensures that people receive proper 'continuity of care' when they move from one place to another. This "continuity" will mean that a person receiving care and support in one area will continue to receive care on the day of their arrival in the new area. This means that there should be no gap in care and support when people choose to move.

This will apply if: 

  • An adult is receiving care and support from one council, and wants to move to a new area
  • An adult is receiving care in a type of accommodation (e.g. a care home), which is organised by a different council to the one where the accommodation is located. The person wants to leave the care home but stay in the local area

In either of these circumstances, the adult (or someone on their behalf) must tell the council where they plan to live in future (known as the "second council") about their intentions.

After the second council has been informed, and is satisfied that the intention to move is genuine, it must then inform the council where the adult is currently living, or which is responsible for paying towards the adult's care and support at the current time (known as the "first council").

When the first council is informed that the adult is moving, it must do a number of things:

  • It must provide a copy of the adult's care and support plan, so that the second council knows what the adult's needs are
  • It must provide a copy of the "care account", if there is one 
  • If the adult has been arranging their own care and support, it must provide a copy of the "independent personal budget" (the total amount of money spent on their care), as well as the most recent assessment which the council has completed with them
  • It must also provide any other information that the second council requests, such as their financial assessment.

If the adult has a carer (for example a friend or relative) who will continue to look after the adult after the move, the first council must also provide a copy of the carer's support plan.

When it receives this information, the second council must carry out its own assessment of the adult's needs. If a carer is moving with the adult, then the second council must also assess the needs of the carer.

Both assessments can take place before the adult moves to the new area, to help ensure that the right care and support is in place when they arrive.

People's needs may change when they move home. For instance, if they are nearer to family, they may not need as much support from the council. Alternatively, being in a new place may mean that they have new needs. It is important that the new coucil assesses them, so that the person receives the right care and support for their needs.

If the second council finds any needs which are different to those which have previously been identified by the first council (and in the care and support plan or most recent assessment provided), it must explain in writing why that is the case.

The first council must keep in contact with the second council to keep track of progress on putting services in place, and it must keep the person informed about this contact and involve them in this part of the process. 

The above assessments should mean that the second council will know about the adult's needs before they arrive and will have services in place ready for the day of the move. 

If on the day of the move the council has not carried out the assessments, for example because it wants to assess the person in their new home, or if they have not yet put in place care and support, then something known as the "continuity duty" is triggered.

This legal duty requires the second council to start meeting any of the needs that were being met by the previous (first) council, from the day that the person arrives in the new area. (This also applies to the needs of any carer who will continue to look after the adult after the move). The second council will use the information shared in the care and support plan or recent assessment to decide what services to put in place to meet those needs.

The continuity duty continues until the second council has carried out its own assessment and put in place all necessary care and support on the basis of that assessment. This should ensure that that people won't experience any gap in their care

Remember that the normal process involves the person who is moving (or someone on their behalf) first contacting the council where they are going to move to.

But if you are unsure about what needs to happen when you move, and your move will involve one or more of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, or Hammersmith and Fulham councils, then you can contact those councils for more advice on what to do.