1 Promoting individual well-being
This clause provides for a set of legal principles, which frame how local authorities are to carry out their care and support functions for adults needing care and carers under this Part. The “well-being principle” in subsection (1) is directed at local authorities (and their officers) making decisions about adults throughout the Part. It is not intended to be directly enforceable as an individual right, but to carry indirect legal weight, where a local authority’s failure to follow the principle may be challenged through judicial review. “Well-being” is not defined precisely. However, subsection (2) lists outcomes which develop the concept of well-being. These outcomes are not a series of requirements, but serve as a description to aid understanding.
(1) The general duty of a local authority, in exercising a function under this Part in the case of an adult, is to promote that adult’s well-being.
(2) “Well-being”, in relation to an adult, means that adult’s well-being so far as relating to any of the following—
(a) physical and mental health and emotional well-being;
(b) protection from abuse and neglect;
(c) control by the adult over day-to-day life (including over the care and support provided to the adult and the way in which it is provided);
(d) participation in work, education, training or recreation;
(e) social and economic well-being;
(f) domestic, family and personal relationships;
(g) the adult’s contribution to society.
(3) In exercising a function under this Part in the case of an adult, a local authority must have regard to the following matters in particular—
(a) the importance of beginning with the assumption that the adult is bestplaced to judge the adult’s well-being;
(b) the adult’s views, wishes and feelings;
(c) the need to ensure that decisions about the adult are made having regard to all the adult’s circumstances (and are not based only on the adult’s age or appearance or any condition of the adult’s or aspect of the adult’s behaviour which might lead others to make unjustified assumptions about the adult’s well-being);
(d) the importance of the adult participating as fully as possible in decisions relating to the exercise of the function concerned and being provided with the information and support necessary to enable the adult to participate;
(e) the importance of achieving a balance between the adult’s well-being and that of any friends or relatives who are involved in caring for the adult;
(f) the need to protect people from abuse and neglect;
(g) the need to ensure that any restriction on the adult’s rights or freedom of action that is involved in the exercise of the function is kept to the minimum necessary for achieving the purpose for which the function is being exercised.
(4) “Local authority” means—
(a) a county council in England,
(b) a district council for an area in England for which there is no county council,
(c) a London borough council, or
(d) the Common Council of the City of London.
(5) “Adult” means a person aged 18 or over.