Care Act Conversations with CASCAIDr – and – Podcasts on Principles

In ‘Care Act Conversations‘, a series of podcasts first delivered in 2023, CASCAIDr (the charity) provided insights into adult social care law.

Belinda Schwehr, Gerry Nozowska (from Effective Practice) and Sara Wilcox (Pathways through Dementia) talked through what ‘should’ happen and what tends to go wrong these days (post-Covid, in the 2020s) when people need care and support, and how you can uphold your rights.

Belinda also delivered a set of ‘Podcasts on Principles’ – 14 sessions on the most fundamental principles of public law that govern all health and social care services decision-making, by public bodies – later on in 2023.

CASCAIDr CIC has acquired the rights to broadcast all these recordings.

The ‘Conversations’ series can be found on Apple or Spotify (‘Care Act Conversations’) or on this page below.

You can use our YouTube channel, here (for the ‘Podcasts on Principles’ series) or just stay on the site, to find out more about the aim, by clicking here.

Care Act Conversations

Each of the 12 episodes took an area of social care law that affects a lot of people, for example, assessment for care, eligibility for services or direct payments for care and support.

  • The speakers give an overview of what the law says.
  • They then explore some of the potential pitfalls and common errors, and how to avoid them, based on experience of advising hundreds of people and reading hundreds of complaints and legal reports.
  • The CASCAIDr Conversations provide advice on how to respond if you think something unlawful is happening.

Care Act Conversations featured:

  • Belinda Schwehr, the founder of CASCAIDr the charity) now a co-director of CASCAIDr CIC. Belinda practised as a barrister, taught Public Law in University Law Schools, and then re-qualified as a solicitor. She developed a specialist practice in adults’ social care law, before moving into training and then setting up CASCAIDr to right legal wrongs.
  • Sara Wilcox, who oversaw CASCAIDr’s triage service for free advice, before its closure in 2024. Sara has extensive experience in providing advice and information to adults, carers and families and runs Pathways through Dementia, a registered charity.
  • Gerry Nosowska, one of the charity’s former case workers, who is also a registered social worker. Gerry has worked in local authority social care and runs a practice improvement consultancy called Effective Practice.

Care Act Conversations offers clear, understandable information for people who are grappling with the adult social care system. People giving advice and support to adults and carers can signpost them to this resource. The CIC hopes that decision-makers in local authorities and the NHS will also see this as a valuable source of information, for the future.

Episode 1 – Using the Care Act Backwards

In this episode, Belinda, Gerry and Sara, talk about the issue of getting the Care Act backwards, when councils start with what care is available and then work backwards to eligibility and needs. We highlight what the law says should happen in assessment and care planning, and how you can push for your entitlements.

Episode 2 – Hospital Discharge

In our second episode, we discuss the complexity and confusion around hospital discharge. We advise on what can go wrong, including decision making and funding. And we go over the important areas for you to clarify if you or a loved one is in hospital.

Episode 3 – Plugging away at the gap

In this episode, we talk about the gap between what the Care Act says must or should happen, and what can happen in practice. We focus in on the assessment gap and highlight some legal remedies if you find yourself waiting for a Care Act assessment.

Episode 4 – Plugging away at the gap (part two)

In this episode, we highlight the Carer’s Support gap. This is the gap between what the Care Act says must or should happen in terms of carers’ entitlements, and what can happen in practice. We highlight some legal remedies that carers can use to prevent or respond to legal issues.

Episode 5 – Plugging away at the gap (part three)

In this episode, we highlight the Care Planning gap. This is the gap between what the Care Act says must or should happen in terms of people having a plan, and care being provided to meet eligible needs, and what can happen in practice. We highlight the law and the action you can take to get your entitlements and respond to legal issues.

Episode 6 – Mental Capacity Mix-ups

In this episode, we explore how the Mental Capacity Act relates to Care Act duties. We talk about issues that come up in the context of Care Act processes and decisions that are to do with mental capacity. We highlight important areas for you to be aware of, and how you can ensure that your wishes and wants are taken into account in the future. We recommend that everyone uses and refers to the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Episode 7 – Top-Up Travesties

In this episode, we discuss the many and frequent ways that people get pushed into paying additional fees for care homes, above what the state will cover. We highlight the questions you need to ask before agreeing to any top-ups or to challenge top-ups that are in place, to ensure that are only used when there is a genuine choice and the payment is for a want rather than a need.

Episode 8 – Ordinary Residence Ordeals

In this episode, we delve into the mysteries of ordinary residence, deemed ordinary residence and, ultimately, which Council has responsibility for meeting duties under the Care Act 2014. We go through the law and principles, and provide sound advice on how to ensure that wrangles don’t get in the way of your entitlements.

Episode 9 – Direct Payment Disarray

In this episode we start our two-part exploration of direct payments by looking at what they are and how they can be used. We talk about some of the issues that arise – including sufficiency of the payment and flexibility – and what the law says, so that you can uphold your rights

Episode 10 – Direct Payment Disarray (Part Two)

In this episode we finish our two-part exploration of direct payments by looking at how they are managed. We give you a ‘who’s who’ of roles and highlight important aspects of these to help you understand what you are taking on.

Episode 11 – Charging Challenges

In this episode, we dive into the topic of charging for adult social care. We talk through the law, regulations and guidance that cover this. We explore the financial implications and accountabilities when you are planning, arranging or receiving adult social care.

Episode 12 – Care Act processes, meeting eligible needs, direct payments and mental health s117 aftercare

Community Care law faces the double challenge of insufficient resource to deliver duties and lack of legal aid to make challenges. In this episode we highlight issues in these areas: Care Act processes, meeting eligible needs, direct payments and mental health s117 aftercare. We give some pointers about how you can question these issues if they come up for you.