Social care legislation

What is the Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act sets out:

  • When you can be admitted, detained and treated in hospital against your wishes.
  • Your right to appeal and the right to get help from an advocate.
  • How you can leave hospital and what aftercare you can expect to get.

More information on the Mental Health act and what it means can be found on the Rethink website. Frequently asked questions about the Act can also be found on the Mind website.

Code of practice

The code of practice provides statutory guidance to registered medical practitioners, approved clinicians, managers and staff of providers, and Approved Mental Health Professionals, (AMHP's) on how they should carry out statutory functions under the Mental Health Act.

Access to an Independent Mental Health Advocate

If you are detained under the Mental Health Act, you can use an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) to make sure you are supported in having your views heard.

For further information on Independent Mental Health Advocacy Services visit the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS website.


The Care Act

The Care Act came into force in April 2015. The Act places general responsibilities on local authorities for promoting people's wellbeing, focusing on prevention and providing a universal information and advice service. It also included:

  • The introduction of a consistent, national eligibility criteria for social care support
  • New rights to support for carers, on an equivalent basis to the people they care for,
  • Legal right to a personal budget and direct payment,
  • The extension of local authority adult social care responsibility to include prisons, and
  • New responsibilities around transition, provider failure, supporting people who move between local authority areas and safeguarding.

Detailed guidance

More detail on the Care Act from the Department of Health is available through the following links:

  1. Care Act 2014
  2. Department of Health Factsheets on the Care Act

What the law says about information and advice

Under the Care Act 2014 legislation, local authorities, health organisations and care providers have a duty to provide a universal information and advice service to all residents, covering:

  • what care and support is available;
  • how residents can access care and support;
  • where residents can find independent financial advice about care and support; and
  • how residents can raise concerns about the safety or wellbeing of someone who has care and support needs.

Information and advice strategy

The Surrey Information and Advice Strategy is designed for all key agencies working in health and social care, including the voluntary, community and faith sector who provide information or signpost residents to care and support.

Surrey's Health and Wellbeing Board supports the system wide strategy to ensure all residents can access the right information and advice to help them make informed decisions and prevent or delay care needs.

Accessible Information Standard

The Accessible Information Standard is the legal guidance developed by NHS England to help people understand, and be involved in, decisions about their care and support.

It requires health and social care providers to comply when they are delivering services to a person who has an information and/or communication need which is related to or caused by a disability, impairment or sensory loss.


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