Ordinary residence and determining local authority responsibilities under the Care Act and the Mental Health Act

'Ordinary residence’ is an important concept relevant to determining which local authority is required to meet a person’s care and support needs under the Care Act 2014 and the Mental Health Act 1983.

A new guide published by the Local Government Association has been commissioned by the Transforming Care programme to improve services and support for children, young people and adults with learning disability, autism or both, and has been endorsed by the executive council of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) for use with all adults.

This guide is applicable to all adults whose care is commissioned in an area that is different from where they hold ordinary residence, including those whose services are governed by the Mental Health Act.

The 27 page Ordinary residence guide has been created to support partners to understand and apply the concepts of ordinary residence – in particular, recognising that many of the people supported have experienced complex care and support arrangements, including inpatient settings over a number of years, in different geographical areas and where guidance and policy may have changed during this time. These complexities can be challenging for partners – minimising disputes being a stated aim of the guide. The guide states that formal referral to the Secretary of State should be the last resort with local authorities encouraged to make all efforts to resolve disputes locally wherever possible.

Health commissioners should also find the guide a valuable resource for helping to determine ordinary residence in those situations where GP registration is not the relevant determinant.

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