Journal Article

English Local Authority Powers, Responsibilities and Guidelines for Managing the Care Home Closure Process

Jacquetta Williams and Ann Netten

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 6, pages 921-936
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
English Local Authority Powers, Responsibilities and Guidelines for Managing the Care Home Closure Process

Show Summary Details


In England, the majority of older people living in care homes are publicly funded and the majority of publicly funded places are purchased from the independent sector. While the sector is subject to regulation, there is currently no statutory guidance aimed specifically at how care home closures are managed. This article reviews the powers and responsibilities of councils and the rights of residents during care home closures, before describing the prevalence and content of existing council guidelines. Just over a third of councils in England responded to inquiries and, of these, two-thirds reported having guidelines. This suggests that a considerable proportion of councils have no guidelines in place. Existing guidelines also varied. Differences included approaches to allocating responsibilities and providing help, and assessment to self-funding residents. The large number of arrangements and activities described suggest that some sort of plan or guidance is warranted to support the task of front line care managers. At the national level, the variation found in the guidelines combined with the lack of national guidance specific to closures suggests that clarification of councils’ legal responsibilities and powers during a care home closure is needed. Clarification of the role and responsibilities of the national regulatory body would also be useful.

Keywords: care homes; older people; closures; social services; guidance

Journal Article.  6721 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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