Last reviewed 2 August 2022

The Government has selected a sixth authority to trial its social care funding reforms, including the cap on care costs, before full implementation next year.

Oxfordshire council will join Blackpool, Cheshire East, the London Borough of Newham, North Yorkshire and Wolverhampton as trailblazers for the reforms.

These trailblazers will implement the new adult social care charging reform system early, ahead of the national rollout in October 2023. They will “generate valuable evidence and insight that will help Government to monitor progress and improve its understanding of the barriers to implementation”, according to the Government’s operational guidance on the reforms.

Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Tim Bearder said: “We know reform in adult social care is needed to remove the unpredictable care costs people face as they get older. Oxfordshire is a national leader in adult social care and being a part of this small group of early adopters gives us the opportunity to influence how the programme will be rolled out and share our best practice with national government.”

Under the Care Act 2014, the reforms will place an £86,000 cap on people’s liabilities for their personal care and extend means-tested support to people with eligible assets of up to £100,000 (previously £23,250) from October 2023.

Self-funders will also be able to ask their local authority to arrange their placement in a care home at council rates, although this will be phased in over 18 months until April 2025. All local authorities will be expected to start to carry out early assessments of current self-funders who want to take advantage of the reforms from April 2023 to avoid excessive demand in October next year. However, legislation will enable the trailblazers to start this work earlier.

The Government’s charging reform will be funded by the Health and Social Care Levy, which is set to raise more than £5.4 billion, including £3.6 billion to reform the way people pay for their social care.