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The Coronavirus Act 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 is a law designed to help the UK cope with the pandemic. It allows a number of changes to current rules, including changes to local authority provision of care and support packages in England and Wales. This is to allow local authorities to spread resources more evenly and respond to the most urgent cases.

On 21st April 2021 regulations to expire the easements were laid, and will come into force when approved by parliament.

Key points:

  • Local authorities must still follow the relevant care law (in England this is The Care Act 2014 and in Wales this is the Social Services and Well-being Act 2014)
  • Before any changes take place, local authorities must prove that to continue to follow the relevant care law would put lives at risk (for example, by proving that they no longer have enough carers)
  • Local authorities must report this decision to the government and tell service users and care providers

The Coronavirus Act only affects certain parts of care law, not all. Local authorities don’t have to:

  • Complete detailed financial assessments (but they must make sure that any charges are fair overall, and they must complete an assessment after the crisis is over)
  • Complete detailed needs assessments (but they must still respond as quickly as possible, respect a person’s human rights and respect their needs and wishes)
  • Complete detailed care and support plans (but they must do enough planning to make sure human rights are respected and lives are not put at risk)
  • Meet all eligible needs (but they must meet the most urgent needs)

Read the full Coronavirus Act here. An easy read version is available here. A video guide is available here. More information from The British Institute of Human Rights is available here. Read the guidance for local authorities on Care Act easements here.

What next?

  • You will need to contact the local authority where your disabled brother or sister lives to get the most up-to-date advice on what they are currently able to provide
  • It is possible for family members to be paid direct payments for providing care – read this advice from the government here
  • Your local advocacy service may still be running – contact them if your brother or sister needs support
  • More information at Carers UK – A-Z of changes to benefits, assessments and support – COVID-19


This page was last updated: 19th July 2021

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