1. Co-Operating Generally
Under section 6 of the Care Act each relevant partner of the Local Authority must co-operate generally (and vice versa; the Local Authority co-operate with its Relevant Partners) in order to complete their respective functions relating to adults with needs for Care and Support or a carer with needs for Support. Co-operation also applies when fulfilling more localised functions and processes relating to statutory duties and responsibilities.
The following are examples of occasions when general co-operation support may be sought under the Act:
- To promote the Wellbeing of people with needs for Care and Support and of carers in the Local Authority's area,
- To improve the quality of Care and Support and Support for carers provided in the Local Authority's area (including the outcomes that are achieved from such provision),
- Smoothing the transition for young people from children's services to adult Care and Support services;
- Protecting people with needs for Care and Support who are experiencing, or are at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- Identifying lessons to be learned from cases where people with needs for Care and Support have experienced serious abuse or neglect and applying those lessons to future cases.
The following are some of the people that work for recognised relevant partners who a Local Authority may therefore consider it appropriate to co-operate with:
- A Manager from a Domiciliary Care Agency who provides services to meet an adults' needs for care and support;
- A GP, Dentist, Optician or Pharmacist;
- A Nurse or Consultant within a non NHS hospital;
- A Registered Provider of social housing.
2. Co-Operating in Specific Cases
General Co-operation applies at all times but in specific situations the Local Authority may make a formal request in writing for the co-operation of a relevant partner agency or another Local Authority in the exercising of one or more specific functions or duties (for example when arranging a Cross Border Placement). Likewise, a relevant partner agency or another Local Authority can formally request the same of the Local Authority.
The Local Authority or agency receiving the request has a duty under section 7 of the Care Act to comply with it unless it considers that doing so:
- Would be incompatible with its own duties; or
- Would otherwise have an adverse effect on the exercise of any other of its functions.
A person who decides not to comply with a formal co-operation request must give the person who made the request written reasons for the decision.