This chapter sets out the initial considerations that will need to be made as part of the process to determine whether care and support can be provided to a person with NRPF:

  • Whether the local authority will be responsible for meeting needs
  • What the person’s nationality and immigration status is, in order to:
    • ascertain potential eligibility for welfare benefits or asylum support, and,
    • determine whether they can only be provided with care and support if this is necessary to prevent a breach of their human rights or EU treaty rights
  • Whether care and support needs to be provided to meet urgent need whilst assessments are being carried out

2.1 Responsibility for meeting needs

The Care Act 2014 requires a local authority to undertake an assessment where it appears that a person may have needs for care and support, but stipulates that a local authority will only have a duty to meet a person’s eligible needs for care and support where:

‘..the adult is ordinarily resident in the authority’s area or is present in its area but of no settled residence’.

Local authorities will usually try and clarify responsibility for meeting needs at the point of initial referral or presentation. In some cases, where a person is very clearly ordinarily resident in another authority’s area, it may be possible to direct them to that authority for an assessment of need. However, there is no legal basis to refuse to assess a person whose place of ordinary residence is in another local authority area.

The Statutory Guidance is clear that when ordinary residence cannot immediately be established, or where a person is presenting with urgent needs, then the local authority to which the person has presented will need to consider exercising its power under section 19(3) of the Care Act to meet urgent needs:

‘The determination of ordinary residence must not delay the process of meeting needs. In cases where ordinary residence is not certain, the local authority should meet the individual’s needs first, and then resolve the question of residence subsequently. This is particularly the case where there may be a dispute between two or more local authorities.’

If two or more local authorities dispute a person’s place of ordinarily residence, and cannot resolve this, section 40 of the Care Act allows the person to request a determination by the Secretary of State for Health. This must be made within three months of the original decision being made. Further information is set out in the Care and Support (Disputes between Local Authorities) Regulations 2014 and chapter 19 of the Statutory Guidance.

Sections 37 and 38 of the Care Act set out responsibility regarding the continuity of care when a person moves between authorities of their own accord.

2.1.1 Establishing ordinary residence

The Care Act does not define ‘ordinary residence’. Instead, the interpretation of this term has been clarified by the courts and the most relevant case law is summarised here.

The case of Shah v London Borough of Barnet (1983) established that a person is ordinarily resident in the area where they have voluntarily taken up residence for a settled purpose. This is usually where they are currently living, regardless of how long they have resided there.

This approach was confirmed by the House of Lords in the case of Mohamed v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC (2001). When considering ‘normal residence’ the court found that this would be the place where at the relevant time the person in fact resides and went onto state:

‘So long as the place where he eats and sleeps is voluntarily accepted by him, the reason why he is there rather than somewhere else does not prevent that place from being his normal residence’.

In ordinary residence determination OR 9 2010 (20 January 2011), the Secretary of State for Health confirmed that a person’s immigration status was not relevant to the consideration of ordinary residence for the purposes of accessing community care services. Therefore someone who does not have any current immigration permission can be considered to be ordinarily resident in a particular area.

Where a person lacks capacity to decide on their place of residence, they cannot be considered to have adopted this voluntarily. Local authorities must consider the Statutory Guidance at paragraphs 19.23-36 and the Supreme Court judgment of R (on the application of Cornwall Council)) v Secretary of State for Health and Somerset County Council (2015).

The Cornwall case is also relevant in establishing responsibility for young people who are former looked after children and have transitioned from child to adult care services.

There are some situations expressly covered by the Care Act 2014 with regards to when a person will be deemed to be ordinarily resident in a particular area. Those that may apply to a person who has NRPF are set out here.

2.1.2 No settled residence or in urgent need

People with NRPF will often have an unsettled address history or have spent time rough sleeping and so may not therefore have a place of ordinary residence. They may also be in urgent need of accommodation if no other sources of support are available to them.

Sections 18 and 19 of the Care Act are clear that a local authority has a duty to meet the eligible needs, and the power to meet non-eligible needs, respectively, of a person who is physically present in its area and has no settled residence. Such people therefore should be treated in the same way as a person who is ordinarily resident in the local authority’s area.

Paragraph 19.11 of the Statutory Guidance states that local authorities must not delay the process of meeting needs where ordinary residence is not certain.

2.1.3 Hospital in-patients

Section 39(5) of the Care Act 2014 requires local authorities to treat a person who is being provided with NHS accommodation as ordinarily resident —

‘(a) in the area in which the adult was ordinarily resident immediately before the [NHS] accommodation was provided, or

(b) if the adult was of no settled residence immediately before the [NHS] accommodation was provided, in the area in which the adult was present at that time’.

Therefore, the hospital must establish in which area the person was ordinarily resident prior to their admission. If this cannot easily be established, then the local authority responsible for the area in which the hospital is located will be required to undertake a needs assessment.

For more information, see section:

2.1.4 Out of area placements

Section 39(1) of the Care Act 2014 stipulates that when a local authority places a person in accommodation located within another authority’s area, the person will remain ordinarily resident in the area where they were ordinarily resident prior to that move, or where they were present prior to that move if they had no place of settled residence. In practice this means that the placing authority will retain responsibility for meeting a person’s care and support needs when they are provided with accommodation out of area.

However, the Care and Support (Ordinary Residence) (Specified Accommodation) Regulations 2014 specify that this rule only applies when the type of accommodation being provided to meet the person’s care and support needs is one of the following:

  • A care home
  • Shared lives scheme (accommodation provided by a shared lives carer)
  • Supported living accommodation (premises specifically designed or adapted to enable a person to live as independently as possible or accommodation in which personal care is available)

People with NRPF who do not require such types of supported accommodation, but are provided with housing to enable the care they require to be administered, will often be housed in a private tenancy or bed and breakfast. Such accommodation does not appear to be covered section 39 and raises questions about responsibility for meeting care and support needs when the person is placed out of area. However, local authorities need to bear in mind the following points:

  • A person cannot be deemed to be ordinarily resident in an area where they have not taken up their residence voluntarily.
  • Sections 6 and 7 of the Care Act require co-operation between relevant partners, including other local authorities in the area, in the exercise of their respective functions relating to people with needs for care and support. Local authorities may only refuse to cooperate with a request from another local authority when this would be incompatible with its own duties or would otherwise have an adverse effect on the exercise of its functions.

In practice this means that the placing authority will retain responsibility of providing care and support (including accommodation) until that placement is lawfully discharged.

Schedule 1 of the Care Act sets out the provisions for cross-border placements, i.e., meeting a person’s needs for care and support by providing accommodation in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. In each instance, the person will remain ordinarily resident in the placing local authority’s area.

2.1.5 Section 117 aftercare placements

A person may be provided with supported accommodation as part of their aftercare package under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983. If they also have care and support needs that need to be met under the Care Act 2014, then section 39(4) specifies that the person will be treated as ordinarily resident in the area of the local authority in England or Wales that is responsible for providing the aftercare.

For more information, see section:

2.1.6 People in detention and on release

The Care Act 2014 clarifies responsibility for the provision of care and support to people in prison, approved premises or other bail accommodation. Section 76 of the Care Act requires the local authority to assess and meet the needs of a person who is in custody in a prison within its area and who appears to be in need of care and support, regardless of where the person came from prior to their detention or where they will be released to. When an individual is transferred to another custodial unit in a different local authority area, this responsibility will transfer to that local authority.

The Statutory Guidance acknowledges, at paragraphs 17.49-51, that on release from prison, it will not always be straightforward to determine where a person’s place of ordinary residence is, with the starting presumption being that this will be their area of ordinary residence prior to their detention. However, if the person’s place of ordinary residence is unclear and/ or they express an intention to settle in a new area, the local authority to which they plan to move should take responsibility for carrying out the needs assessment.

There is no specific provision for responsibility when a person is detained in an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC), so responsibly is likely to fall to the authority in which the IRC is located.

2.1.7 Carers

Section 20(1) of the Care Act 2014 states that the local authority responsible for meeting the needs of carers will be the authority where the person they are caring for is ordinarily resident, or is present if that person has no place of settled residence. This should mean that one authority should be responsible for meeting needs of both a carer and the person requiring care, where this is applicable.

For more information, see section:

2.2 Checking immigration status

When a person requests care and support the local authority will establish their nationality and immigration status for several purposes:

  1. To ascertain any possible entitlement to welfare benefits, housing assistance, employment or Home Office asylum support.
  2. To identify whether the person is in an excluded group and so can only be provided with care and support where this is necessary to prevent a breach of their human rights or EU treaty rights.
  3. Where a person is in an excluded group, find out whether there are any immigration claims pending with the Home Office or appeal courts, or other legal barriers preventing them from leaving the UK or returning to their country of origin.

Evidence of nationality and immigration status may be established on the basis of documents provided by the person requesting support but local authorities will routinely check immigration status directly with the Home Office.

2.2.1 Immigration documentation – non-EEA nationals

For non-EEA nationals, evidence of immigration status may be provided in the form of documents issued by the Home Office in the UK or overseas visa application centres/ entry clearance posts. Documents issued may be different depending on the type of immigration permission given and date this was granted.

A person may have one or a combination of the following documents:

  • Biometric residence permit (BRP) – this is now issued to most people who have been granted leave to enter or remain for longer than six months
  • Immigration status document
  • Visa or residence permit in passport
  • Stamp in passport
  • Asylum registration card (ARC)
  • Home Office issued convention travel document – for a
    refugee
  • Certificate of travel – for a person with humanitarian protection who cannot get a national passport
  • EEA family permit/ residence card/ permanent residence card/ derivative residence card issued to the family member of an EU national
  • Home Office letter

The Council of the European Union maintains a public register of the documentation that is issued by European Union countries and others (PRADO). Note that the register it is not complete, so some UK immigration documents may not be included. The Home Office also publishes a guide for employers which provides an overview of different types of UK immigration documents that may be issued.

There will be instances when a person will be unable to provide original documentation, for example, where they have submitted their passport and/or BRP to the Home Office with a pending application, or where the Home Office has retained documentation following a refusal of an application.

Sometimes Home Office systems do not immediately show that an application has been made, for example, if it has only recently been submitted, so this may not be identified in a status check. In such instances, alternative evidence provided by the person or their legal representative can be accepted and the Home Office should be notified that an application has been made. Such evidence could include a copy of the application and proof of postage. A legal representative may also be able to provide a letter to confirm their client’s current status and progress of any pending applications. The Home Office will usually issue an acknowledgement letter to confirm receipt of an application but this can often be issued several weeks later.

For more information, see sections:

2.2.2 Continuing leave (3C leave)

When a person makes an application to extend their leave then they will continue to be lawfully present if certain conditions are satisfied, because their leave will be extended under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971. When a person has 3C leave, any conditions attached to their previous leave will continue to apply until their application or appeal is concluded, for example, they may retain permission to work or recourse to public funds.

3C leave applies when a person submits an application for
leave to remain before their previous leave expires and is still waiting for a decision from the Home Office after their leave has expired.

If the application is refused, 3C leave will only continue whilst the person is appealing this decision when:

  • the application is refused after the person’s leave to remain has expired; and
  • the person has lodged their appeal within the given deadline.

3C leave will stop if a person lodges an appeal after the given deadline, even if the court later accepts it as being made ‘out of time’.

Appeal time limits vary depending on the stage that the case is at in the appeal process so it will be necessary to need to seek advice from the person’s legal representative or the Home Office to establish whether they have 3C leave and remain lawfully present.

When 3C leave ends and the person has not been granted another form of leave to remain then they will become an overstayer.

For more information, see:

2.2.3 EEA nationals and family members

European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and most of their family members are not required to obtain documentation from the Home Office to confirm their right to live in the UK because the right to reside under European law is acquired on the basis of a person’s circumstances. This means that the local authority will need to ask questions about the person, and their family member’s length of residence and activities whilst in the UK.

The Home Office will usually only be able to provide information about an EEA national or their family member when a person has applied for a document to confirm their right to reside or derivative right to reside in the UK, for example, an EEA registration certificate, family permit, residence card, permanent residence card, worker registration card or derivative residence card.

Where an EEA national or family member has a Home Office document, this still may not be sufficient to establish whether they have a right to reside if their circumstances have changed since the document was issued, so further enquiries will still need to be made.

For more information, see section:

2.2.4 How to request a Home Office status check

The Intervention and Sanctions Directorate (ISD) at the Home Office is responsible for providing immigration status information to local authorities.

Local authorities signed up to use the NRPF Connect database can obtain a status check by creating a new case on the system and a response will be provided in line with the service level agreement. Once a case has been created, the local authority can obtain further updates via NRPF Connect from the Home Office whilst the person remains in receipt of support, and can update the Home Office about a change of circumstances.

Local authorities who are not using NRPF Connect can access one of the Home Office Status, Verification, Enquires and Checking services:

  • Free email status checking service: ICESSVECWorkflow@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
  • Chargeable telephone checking service or on site immigration official – these must be arranged directly with the Home Office

2.3 Exclusions from support

The primary reason for establishing a person’s nationality and immigration status is because local authorities need to find out whether the person can only receive ‘support or assistance’ under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014, if such support is necessary to prevent a breach of their human rights or EU treaty rights. This limitation is set out at section 54 and Schedule 3 of the Nationality Immigration Asylum Act 2002, and applies to specific groups:

  1. A person who is not currently seeking asylum and is unlawfully present in the UK, for example:
    • Visa overstayer
    • Illegal entrant
    • Refused asylum seeker, where the person claimed asylum in-country (usually at the Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon), rather than at port of entry (for example, at an airport immediately on arrival to the UK before passing through immigration control).
  2. EEA nationals (not UK nationals)
  3. A person granted refugee status by another EEA State.
  4. Refused asylum seekers who fail to comply with removal directions, i.e., they have been issued with removal directions that provide a set time and means of leaving the UK and have failed to take this up
  5. Refused asylum seekers with dependent children who have been certified by the Secretary of State as having failed to take steps to leave the UK voluntarily

The exclusion applies to a dependant of a person who falls under these groups, for example, the dependent family member of an EEA national.

Paragraph 1 of Schedule 3 sets out the legislation that the exclusion applies to. The legislation relevant to adults requesting care and support is set out in the table below.

UK region Excluded legislation
England Part 1 of the Care Act 2014 & Section 1 of the Localism Act 2011
Wales Section 35 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
Scotland Sections 12 & 13A of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968
Northern Ireland Articles 7 and 15 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1972

Schedule 3 only applies to adults, so the exclusion would not apply to a child who is transitioning to adult social care until they turn 18.

The exclusion does not mean that support can automatically be refused to a person who is in an excluded group, because paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 allows for the provision of care and support where this is necessary to avoid a breach of the person’s human rights or rights under EU treaties.

The purpose of Schedule 3 is to restrict access to support for a person who is in an excluded group when they either have no permission to remain in the UK, or can no longer self-support, and where returning to country of origin (where they may be able to access employment and receive services), would avoid a breach of human rights which may occur if they remain destitute in the UK. This means that, along with establishing eligibility for care and support, local authorities must identify whether there are any legal or practice barriers preventing a person’s return to their country of origin, as return cannot be considered unless these are cleared. This is done by undertaking a human rights assessment.

The exclusion is limited to the provision of ‘support or assistance’ and does not prevent local authorities from undertaking assessments. The following points were confirmed by the Home Office and Department of Health in an email to the NRPF Network dated 29 July 2015:

  • Schedule 3 prevents excluded groups from receiving ‘support or assistance’ under the Care Act 2014.
  • Local authorities may undertake needs assessments for people requiring care and support (under section 9) and carers (under section 10).
  • Local authorities may meet urgent needs for care and support whilst undertaking the relevant assessments (section 19(3)).
  • There is no prohibition on a local authority undertaking its general duties with regards to providing information and advice (section 4) or prevention (section 2).

Care and support under sections 18 (duty to meet eligible needs), 19(1) (power to meet non-eligible needs) and 20 (duties to support carers), may only be provided to prevent a breach of the person’s human rights or rights under the EU treaties.

For more information, see section:

2.3.1 Duty to inform the Home Office

Paragraph 14 of Schedule 3 of the Nationality Immigration Asylum Act 2002 requires a local authority to inform the Home Office when a person requesting support is, or may be, excluded from receiving care and support on the basis that they are:

  • suspected or known to be unlawfully present in the UK,
  • a refused asylum seeker who has not complied with removal directions, or
  • a refused asylum seeker with dependent children who have been certified by the Secretary of State as having failed to take steps to leave the UK voluntarily.

This duty should be explained to a person when they present to the local authority and by any agencies referring people to social services. Local authorities using the NRPF Connect database will meet this requirement when they create a new case in order to obtain an immigration status check.

2.3.2 People who are not excluded from support

Local authorities must be aware that the Schedule 3 exclusion does not apply to everyone who has NRPF, including people with the following types of immigration status:

  • Limited leave to enter or remain in the UK with the NRPF condition
  • Asylum seeker
  • Refused asylum seeker who claimed asylum at port of entry rather than in-country (providing the other categories specific to refused asylum seekers do not apply)
  • EU derivative right to reside, e.g., as the primary carer of a British citizen (Zambrano carer)

When a person is not in an excluded group, eligibility for care and support will depend on the outcome of the Care Act needs assessment only. A human rights assessment will not be required.

For more information, see sections:

2.4 Meeting urgent needs for care and support

Section 19(3) of the Care Act 2014 provides local authorities with a power to meet urgent needs for care and support before assessments have been completed:

‘(3) A local authority may meet an adult’s needs for care and support which appear to it to be urgent (regardless of whether the adult is ordinarily resident in its area) without having yet—
(a) carried out a needs assessment or a financial assessment, or
(b) made a determination under section 13(1).’

Local authorities must also have regard to the case of R (Limbuela) v Secretary of State (2004), in which the High Court determined that a decision which compels a person to sleep rough, or be without shelter and without funds, usually amounts to inhuman treatment and therefore engages Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

When a person presents to the local authority without any accommodation, or funds to acquire housing, the authority can provide this pending the outcome of an assessment where this is needed to prevent a breach of the person’s human rights which might be the consequence of remaining destitute and homeless whilst the local authority is establishing whether it has a duty to provide assistance.

In exercising the power to meet urgent needs the local authority cannot fetter its discretion by strictly applying a blanket policy, and must consider each person’s individual circumstances in order to establish whether interim accommodation might need to be provided, along with any other elements of care and support.

Consideration of the person’s financial and housing circumstances at this stage is only relevant to determining whether interim support needs to be provided. The local authority will still be under a duty to carry out a needs assessment regardless of the level of the person’s financial resources. Any enquiries already made will be relevant to decisions made about meeting needs and financial assessments, where the person has been assessed as having eligible care and support needs.

Local authorities can also use section 19(3) of the Care Act to provide accommodation when a person presents to social services with urgent needs and their place of ordinary residence cannot be easily established, or where they are in an excluded group so need to carry out a human rights assessment as well as a needs assessment.

For more information, see sections: