Northumberland County Council > Health & social care > Adult social care services

Care and support for adults

also known as: Help at home, Needs assessment, Personal budgets, Self-directed support, Social Care, Social Services.

This page describes how we arrange support for people who have a disability or a long-term illness, and how we aim to make sure that people are in control of their own support arrangements.

Adult Social Care contact us on 01670 536400 or email

"Social care" support for ill or disabled adults in Northumberland is operated by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust under its partnership with the County Council. (Support for working age adults with mental health problems is operated by the Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, under a separate partnership).

On this page you can find an introduction to the way we arrange support, and a series of information sheets explaining further details. There are also links to useful information materials produced elsewhere.

New legislation is coming into force from April 2015 which will bring changes to the way care and support for adults is delivered. For further information about the Care Act 2014 please click here.

People’s lives shouldn’t have to stop because they are disabled or have a long-term illness. We aim to make sure that people can get the support they need to enable them to continue to live in the way they want. We offer two kinds of support arrangement:

  • Crisis support for people who urgently need help after a health crisis or a serious accident.
  • Self-directed support for people with longer-term support needs

Crisis support focuses on making sure that people’s immediate needs are met, and on helping them to recover and become independent. Many people only need crisis support. Self-directed support aims to put people in charge of their own support arrangements. People are offered a personal budget which they are encouraged to manage themselves, or with help from family and friends, though we can also make arrangements on people's behalf. We set the amount of the personal budget based on a shared assessment. Personal budgets can be used flexibly to overcome the obstacles which illness or disability put in the way of living in the way you choose. For instance:

  • If you need support with day-to-day tasks, or if you need someone to be on hand to make sure you are safe, you can use a personal budget to employ someone or to make arrangements so that people you know can help you.
  • If you need support to take part in social, leisure or educational activities, you can use a personal budget to arrange that.
  • If family members or friends who usually provide you with support need a break, you can use a personal budget to make whatever arrangements are necessary.

You will need to agree with us a support plan setting out how you will use your personal budget. We will check that this is safe and legal. We can help people to draw up their support plans, or if you want you can do that yourself.

We will review your personal budget and your support plan at intervals to check whether any changes are needed.

If your disability or illness does not cause you any problems in critical areas of life, you may not be eligible for a personal budget. However we may still be able to give you advice about services and equipment which might help you, and about other possibilities such as adaptations to your home (which you may be able to get financial help for).

If your disability or illness is so serious that you cannot realistically stay in your own home, we can help you to move into supported housing or a care home.

We keep information about people we arrange help for in our files and on computer records. This information is shared with other people who need to know it to make arrangements for your support, but is otherwise kept strictly confidential. Ask any of our staff if you want to know what information is being held, or if you would like some information not to be shared.

Most people have to pay a contribution towards the cost of their services, but people would not be expected to pay more than they can reasonably afford based on their income and savings - the amount will depend on your financial circumstances. Some people will be assessed as being able to pay all the costs of their support themselves - but we will still offer them help and advice if they want it. As a general guide, as at April 2014, people with savings of over £23,250* were expected to pay the maximum charge. More information about charges is given in our information sheets below.

*Please check Information Sheet S5 on contributing towards your personal budget, for the latest information on levels of savings and charging.

The list of information sheets which are currently available or in preparation is below. We are adding these to this page as they are completed. Please send us an email to: if you would like copies of any of these information sheets in another format, such as tape or Braille, or if you would like them translated into another language.

The sheets with an asterix next to them (S1 to S5, S9 and 2-4) are those which we now aim to give to everyone when they first ask us for support.

Information C1 - Advice and Needs Assessment

Information Sheet S4* - Safeguarding Adults

Information Sheet S5* - contributing towards your personal budget

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information Sheet S7 - Changing your support using a personal budget

Information Sheet S9*- NHS Continuing Health Care (CHC)

Information sheet 2* - your entitlement to help

The full guidance document used by care managers to decide about eligibility for help is also on this site.

Information sheet 3* - helping carers to care

Information sheet 4* - Complaints, Comments and Compliments

Also see - Have Your Say leaflet

Information sheet 5 - charges for services

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 6 - charges for living in a care home

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 7 - care in your own home

Information sheet 8 - help with moving into a care home

Documents to follow

Information sheet 9 - living in a care home: your rights

Information sheet 11 - person-centred planning for people with a learning disability

  • PDF (standard)

Information sheet 12 - disability equipment

Information sheet 13 - adaptations to your home

Information sheet 14 - direct payments

Information sheet 15 - seeing a Financial Assessment and Benefits Officer

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 16 - paying for support in the community

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 17 - reclaiming charges for breaks in services

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 19 - maximum charges for community support

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 20 - charges for a short stay in a care home

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 24 - Smoke free environment

Information sheet 29 - Making allowance for the cost of disability

From 8 April 2013 up to the 6 April 2014:

From the 7 April 2014 until April 2015:

Information sheet 30 - Closure of the Independent Living Fund

[Notes for care managers and support staff: Each service user should be provided at the time of their initial assessment with a folder containing as many of the above information sheets as are relevant to their circumstances. The basic set of information which should always be included is:

  • sheets S1-S5, sheet S9 and sheets 2-4 (the sheets asterisked in the list above). (Only the information sheets themselves need to be in the basic pack, not any additional information shown in the list above).

Care homes provide care, accommodation and board for people who need a high level of support. They are required by law to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

People who live in Northumberland and need this level of care can get financial support from the County Council, through its partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, if they are not able to afford the fees themselves. You should contact our care management service if you wish to explore this option.

A complete list of registered care homes in all parts of England is available on the CQC website, which also holds inspection reports providing detailed information about the services offered by each home and the quality of what is provided.

Click here to find out more information about Care Homes in Northumberland and to find out about which homes Northumberland County Council contract with and how we check the quality of care.

To find out more about support for carers, click here.

Get involved and have your say

Information about how to get involved in helping shape services through one of the service user forums across Northumberland is available by clicking here.

Northumberland Golden Guide

Northumberland Golden Guide - a comprehensive information guide to services and support for older people in Northumberland, produced in association with Northumberland Council, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Age UK, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and ISOS.

Northumberland Life

Northumberland Life is a local web based directory of groups and services in and around Northumberland. It is a valuable reference for anyone who wants to know what Northumberland's communities can offer, from parents looking for activities for young children to older people looking for like-minded groups; from people who want to take up new activities to people who want to make contact with others affected by the same disability or illness.

The National Careline

The National Careline is a not for profit company offering information about care and support for older people, their carers and their families. It aims to fill the information and advice gap for older people and their relatives who are seeking to find their way through the care maze. The National Careline also provides a wealth of extra information that users may find beneficial in their support and care of the older person.

Listed below are some particularly useful Government leaflets and publications which can be viewed or downloaded from the internet. The Government now publishes a great deal of information electronically, and this list does not aim to be comprehensive. These links will take you off our site.

  • Age Uk produce a series of information covering a wide variety of topics of particular interest to older people, though some would be of interest to anyone who has a disability or illness, or is caring for someone who has.
  • The UK Alzheimer's Disease Society website has useful information for people with this condition and their relatives and carers, as does the Alzheimer's Disease International website
  • The Stroke Association website.

There is a wide range of national groups and organisations who offer information and advice about the support available in your community, assistance with money issues, finding work and leisure opportunities, and getting out and about.

Cick on the following links to go to the organisation's website for further information.

National charities

Financial Advice


  • Carers Direct (Telephone Helpline) Tel 0300 123 1053