Health and Social Care

Care Act Guidance 

How to get the right support from your local authority  Caring couple

The Care Act 2014 came into force in 2015. It clarifies what kind of care and support people can expect from adult social
care in England. It also sets out in one place, local authorities’ duties in relation to assessing people’s needs and their eligibility for publicly funded care and support. The Care Act brought together several old laws and some new ones into one modern piece of legislation.

The rights of adult carers who care for another adult are also set out in the Care Act 2014. It gives all unpaid carers the legal right to an assessment of their own needs. The Care Act relates mostly to adult carers. This is because young carers (aged under 18) and adults who care for disabled children can be assessed and supported under children's law.

How to get the right support from your local authority - a guide to the Care Act 2014 and other laws - has been written by Hft for family carers of an adult with learning disabilities and/or autism. Hft have included what they think are the most important aspects for family carers to be aware of.

There’s useful advice on how to challenge when things aren’t right, what wellbeing means, advice on what should and must happen in an assessment and what must happen in care and support plans. The importance of carers having an assessment of their own needs is also addressed.

Read an overview of the Care Act 2014 by Luke Clements, Cerebra Professor of Law at Cardiff University.  

Guidance has been published about assessments, provision and eligibility of care under the 2014 Care Act by the Department of Health and Social Care.  


Health and Social Care Services

A person with a learning disability will have both health and care needs. 

Health needs are medical needs and services are provided by the NHS. These are free for UK and EU citizens.

Social care needs are non-medical support needs such as personal care – getting washed and dressed. These are not free and are means-tested. If your needs are assessed as ‘eligible’ you will need to complete a financial assessment to determine how much, if anything, you need to pay to contribute to the costs of your social care. 

Local authority social care services are responsible for supporting vulnerable adults and children, their unpaid carers and families. They arrange care and support services for adults and children who are vulnerable because of learning or physical disabilities, long-term health problems (including mental health) or age. Help might be with personal care, aids, equipment and adaptations, home and day care services and respite care.

Support available for people with severe learning disabilities/difficulties can include support to:

  • find somewhere to live
  • go to school or college or work
  • meet new friends
  • take part in sports and other activities
  • find a day service
  • access health services

Reading Borough Council is responsible for social care services. To find out how you can get support, please call 0118 937 3747. Information about services for people with a learning disability can also be found in the Reading Services Guide.


Safeguarding adults and children

What is safeguarding? Download an Easy Read guide to support someone to understand safeguarding and their rights.

Safeguarding means looking out for people who might be at risk of being mistreated or neglected by others or who are not attending to their own health or wellbeing. It is for children and adults who have disabilities or difficulties that meant they need the support of others. If you think someone is at risk because they are not looking after themselves or you know they are being mistreated by others, please contact Reading Borough Council.

Adult abuse and neglect – if you are being abused or are concerned about someone - Safeguarding Adults 0118 937 3747

Child protection – if you are concerned about a child or young person – Children’s Single Point of Access 0118 937 3641

Domestic abuse – if you are experiencing domestic abuse – BWA Helpline 0118 950 4003

In an emergency, if someone is in danger call the police on 999.

Abuse can be:

Physical - being slapped, pushed or punched

Sexual – being touched inappropriately or forced to have sex

Emotional – being shouted at, humiliated or threatened with harm

Financial -  having money and valuables taken without permission, being prevented from accessing own money or being pressured to give or leave money or things in a will

Neglect – not being given support that’s needed to stay well; for example, not getting medicine, adequate food and/or drink

Discrimination – being treated badly because of age, disability, race or religion

Self-neglect – an adult who lacks mental capacity and doesn’t look after themselves, their home or health.

Abuse can happen anywhere – at home, at work, in a care home, day centre or hospital or any public place.

Anyone can be an abuser – a partner, relative, carer, neighbour, friend or staff.


Reading Voice

A new all-in-one service, Reading Voice, is now providing the four types of advocacy people are legally or locally entitled to for free.

Reading Voice offers:

NHS Complaints Advocacy – to help any Reading resident resolve their concern or complaint about the NHS.

Social Care Complaints Advocacy – to help any Reading adult with a complaint about social care that has been arranged for them by the council.

Care Act Advocacy – to help vulnerable adults to have their say on care plans.

Independent Mental Health Advocacy – to help any Reading resident who is detained for mental health treatment to know their rights, understand their care and have their say.

Reading Voice has a team of 11 local advocates with the expertise to help a wide range of people.

Advocacy is about supporting people to understand their options and rights, to have their say over their needs and to gain control over their lives.

An advocate can speak on the person's behalf if needed but does not tell the person what to do or make decisions for them. Advocates don’t tell people what to do or work for the NHS or Reading Borough Council.

The Reading Voice advocacy hub is run from the 3rd floor of Reading Central Library. Find out more at or email


Healthwatch Reading

Through Healthwatch Reading you can make a complaint about hospitals, GPs, mental health services, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, 111, walk-in centres, NHS-funded private care and more.

Healthwatch Reading's advocacy team can help:

  • Explain how the NHS complaints process works.
  • Listen to your concerns and answer your questions.
  • Explain your rights.
  • Discuss all your options.
  • Get your complaint to the right people.
  • Put you in touch with other organisations.
  • Prepare with you for local resolution meetings.
  • Build up your confidence to speak for yourself.
  • Attend meetings with you.
  • Speak on your behalf if you are unable to.
  • Refer you to more specialist advocates if needed.
  • Help you go the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, if you are still dissatisfied

For more information visit the Healthwatch website or contact them on  or call 0118 937 2295.


Reading Walk-in-Health Centre, 1st floor, Broad Street Mall

From 1 April 2020, the centre is closed to walk-in patients.

It is now open for people with coronavirus symptoms who have already gone through a medical triage system and require clinical assessment.

For more information about the health centre, visit or call 0118 902 8300.


Children's Single Point of Access

If you have any concerns about the welfare of a child or you would like to ask for extra support for a child or family in Reading, contact the Children's Single Point of Access.

0118 937 3641 - Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.

For urgent enquiries out-of-hours, please call the Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786 543.


Accessible Information Standard

All organisations that provide NHS or Adult Social Care must now follow the Accessible Information Standard by law. This includes doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies and social workers.

The standard aims to ensure that patients and people who use services and their families and carers are provided with information they can easily read or understand, and with support they can communicate easily with health and social care services.

How does the standard work?

If you have a learning disability it means that NHS or Adult Social Care services need to:

  1. Find out your communication and information needs
  2. Record these communication and information needs clearly and consistently on your record
  3. Flag these needs, so when a member of staff opens your record it is really clear what your communication or information needs are
  4. Share your information and communication needs when needed, for example if they are referring you to another service.
  5. Take action to give you the right support.  For example, offering you easy read information or making sure there is someone there to support you with communication.

National Mencap has produced an easy read guide to the Accessible Information Standard.