Quick Exit

Eligibility Criteria

The Care Act (section 1) introduces the concept of ‘wellbeing’ for adults who are in need of care and support. The Act also states that abuse and neglect negatively impact on adults wellbeing, and as such those agencies who are obliged to respond to safeguarding concerns do so because the adult’s wellbeing may be affected.

The eligibility threshold for adults with care and support needs is set out in the Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014 (the ‘Eligibility Regulations’). The threshold is based on identifying how a person’s needs affect their ability to achieve relevant outcomes, and how this impacts on their wellbeing.

In considering whether an adult has eligible needs for care and support, local authorities must consider whether:

  • The adult’s needs arise from or are related to a physical or mental impairment or illness
  • As a result of the adult’s needs the adult is unable to achieve two or more of the specified outcomes (which are described in the Care Act Statutory Guidance paragraphs 6.105 to 6.112)
  • As a consequence of being unable to achieve these outcomes there is, or there is likely to be, a significant impact on the adult’s wellbeing

Significant impact is not defined and should be understood to have its everyday meaning. An adult’s needs are only eligible where they meet all three of these conditions.

Section 42 of the Care Act states that safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:

  • Has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and;
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect

Under paragraph 14.63 of the Statutory Guidance, local authorities must make enquiries, or cause others to do so, if they reasonably suspect an adult who meets the criteria above is, or is at risk of, being abused or neglected.

Local authority statutory adult safeguarding duties apply equally to those adults with care and support needs regardless of:

  • Whether those needs are being met
  • Whether the adult lacks mental capacity or not
  • Setting (other than prisons and approved premises)