The Coronavirus Act’s Easements to the Care Act 2014: A Pragmatic Response or a Red Herring?

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Easements to the Care Act 2014 were introduced in England in Spring 2020 to support local authorities who were dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on adult social care. They were adopted by a small number of local authorities who that only kept them in place for a very short period. This article draws on the limited literature covering easements and on a synthesis of the views of 20 key informants with professional experiences of social care policy, advocacy, practice and law. It covers the way they were introduced and the opposition which they attracted, as well as contrasting views on the nature and necessity of easements. It also records the perceptions of interviewees on the rationale for the decisions taken to adopt or not adopt them. The article examines the reasons why government thought they should be in place and the concerns of some of those in the voluntary, human rights and legal sectors who challenged their introduction and operation. While the findings contain messages for how to approach the management of a similar crisis in the future, the study identified a lack of evidence of the impact of easements on those using social care as well as their carers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2022


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