Difficult words explained


When another person supports you or argues for you, helping you to express your wishes and to stand up for your rights.


A person who supports you to stand up for your rights and communicate your views. They may work with you and do this on your behalf.

 Challenging Behaviour

Any behaviour that someone displays that is a challenge for others to manage and/or puts the person or others at risk. 

Care Act 2014

A law about care and support for adults in England. Before the Care Act 2014 was created, there were lots of different laws on care and support. The Care Act put all the law together to try to help people see what care and support they should be able to get, and also what councils have to do to make sure people can get the help they need. 

Care Act Assessment

An assessment to look at if someone needs care and support. The assessment is done by the local council which is responsible for helping people to get the social care they need.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The care and support given to you by your local council, which is responsible for adult social care. The care package might also include healthcare funded by the NHS. 


A way of people working together. People with different skills and experiences make decisions together – everyone taking part has equal power. 


Co-production is when people or groups of people work together to find a solution. For example, services, people who use services and carers working together to improve services.


A person with a commission – a commission is when you are given the power to carry out a special act or duty. There are different types of commissioners. For example, health or social care commissioners must understand what health or care services are needed by local people. They then have to buy the services which are needed, and check that health or social care providers are giving good care and support to the people who need their services. 


Shared by all members of a community or home, for common use. 


Your local council, or local authority is responsible for a range of important services in your community. This is also called ‘local government’ and includes social care and housing.

Depending on where you live, this may be organised in two different ways. In ‘two tier’ areas, social care is provided by ‘county councils’, while district and borough councils are responsible for housing. In ‘unitary’ areas, one council provides all services. 

Council tax

A tax for all households by local councils to pay for local services, such as police and fire services and social care. 


When renting a property, a private landlord will usually ask you for money before you move in. You usually get this back when you leave, unless the property has been damaged in some way (other than ‘normal wear and tear’) or if you still owe rent when you leave the property. This is called a ‘deposit’. 

Direct Payment

Where you receive money from social care to organise and pay for the care and support yourself. 

Disabled Facilities Grant

Money you can get from the local council who is responsible for housing to pay for adaptions in your home. For example, a wet room, handrails or widening doors. 


When someone is treated differently or unfairly because they belong to a group. For example, someone might be discriminated against because of their race, sex, age or disability.  


Having the right to do or get something if you meet the right? Or ‘if you meet certain’ conditions. 

Equality Act

The Equality Act is a law that protects you from being treated unfairly because of:  

  • Age 
  • Disability 
  • Gender reassignment 
  • Marriage or civil partnership 
  • Pregnancy or motherhood 
  • Race 
  • Religion or belief 
  • Sex 
  • Sexual orientation 

Government Bodies

Organisations that are part of the government. 


A person who owns their own home, either outright or with the help of a mortgage (a loan from a bank to help them purchase their home). 

HOLD Scheme

This is a government scheme to help disabled people buy any home for sale as Shared Ownership. 

Housing Association (or registered housing provider)

A non-profit organisation that rents houses and flats to people on low incomes or with particular needs. 

Housing Benefit

Money you can get from the local council to pay for all or some of your rent. 

Housing Department

Department within local councils that support people with housing. 

Housing law 

Rules set by the government that landlords, tenants and homeowners must follow. 

Housing officer 

Housing Officers supervise the day-to-day maintenance and management of rented properties that belong to local authorities or housing associations. If you are a tenant (this means you live in a property with a tenancy agreement), they will keep in touch with you and help you with any housing issues. 

Human Rights Act 1998

A law to protect your human rights. 

Independent Financial Advisor

A professional who provides independent advice for people about money. 

Independent Living

Independent living means living in the community. Disabled people should be getting the same choice, control, and opportunities to live independently (with support if they need it) as other people. 

Individual service fund 

This is the money that is given to a provider of your choice to help with your care and support. They work with you to help decide how the money is used.  


An arrangement with a company to provide compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for regular payments. 

Interest Payments

Extra money that you pay when you borrow money. When you pay the money back, you have to pay both the money that you borrowed, and the extra ‘interest’ payment on top.’ 


Person or organisation who owns the home you live in. 


A rule or set of rules set by an authority that a group of people must follow. This authority is generally the government.  


Connected to law or allowed by law. 

Legal Advice

Professional advice provided by a trained lawyer. 

Legal Case

This is when someone thinks the law has been broken so they go to court to get a decision. 

Legal Fees

A fee paid for legal service. 

Letting agent 

Organisation or person responsible for managing properties for private landlords. 

Living expense  

Something you need and you pay for as part of basic daily living costs.  

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Rates used to work out how much housing benefit you can get if you are a tenant renting from a private landlord. 


Repair or servicing of a home or household goods, furniture, appliances or garden. 

Mental Capacity Act 2005

A law to protect and empower people who cannot make their own decisions. 

Mental Health Act 1983 (updated in 2007)

Law that covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder in a mental health hospital. If you have been in a mental health hospital, it also covers your right to care and support after you have come home and are living in the community (‘mental health aftercare’ under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act. 


A loan with a bank or building society to buy your own home. 

Nursing Homes (registered)

A home for a group of people (often with a shared disability or health condition), with a nurse available to provide medical care. 24/7 care and support is available for all residents. Nursing homes are registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is responsible for checking the quality of the care provided, and that the home is keeping people safe. 


Government bodies that find out what has happened when someone complains about another organisation. 

Personal Health Budget

An amount of money that the NHS will pay towards any health care that you need, if you request this in the form of a personal health budget. 

Planning Your House

Private bodies 

Private companies or businesses. Organisations that are not public bodies (see below). 

Private Landlords

Person who owns the home you live in. 


To look after yourself or look after something by legal measures. 

Public Bodies

Organisations that are formally established, and (at least partly) funded to serve the general public. For example, NHS, councils or social housing providers. 

Registered Care Homes/ residential care

A residential care home provides accommodation and 24-hour care to people who may find it difficult to manage independent living. Often, a residential care home may support a group of people who share a similar disability or health condition. 

Residential care homes must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who check that care homes are providing good care to their residents and are keeping them safe. 


This is a regular payment made by a tenant to their landlord, for the use of property (such as a house or a flat), or land. 


This is when a subject or question is looked at carefully and in detail. This might be to find out new information about the issue, or to understand it better.  


A right is something a person has, which should not be taken away from them. It is a rule about what a person must be allowed to do or have. 


Action that is taken to protect a person from harm, abuse or damage. It might be to protect their health, wellbeing or human rights.  


When something is protected from danger or risk. It is then likely to continue and not fail, be lost, or taken away. 

Shared Lives scheme 

A service where a person who needs long term support lives with a host family. If you live in a shared lives scheme, you would receive care and support from your host carers and share their family and community life.  

Shared ownership

Owning part of a home, but also paying some rent. 

Social Housing

Accommodation that is provided at an affordable rate. This is usually run by Housing Associations or a council. 

Supported Living

Supported living is a service which supports people to live as independently as possible at home. If you live in supported living, you may receive help for just a few hours a week, or you may receive 24-hour support, depending on your support plan (see above). You would have your own housing tenancy and pay for your own bills and cost of living.

Your support is separate from the provision of your housing, which means that if your support provider changes, this would not affect your right to live in your home. 


Money paid to the government that is based on your income or the cost of goods or services you have bought. 


Someone who rents a home. 

Tenancy Agreement

A contract agreed between you and the landlord to give you the right to live in the home. 


A trial is a formal examination of evidence (or a ‘hearing’) by a judge, typically (but not necessarily) before a jury, to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings. A ‘right to a fair trial’ means that you must be treated fairly if you are charged with committing a crime and you have to go to court. It also means, more generally, that you must be treated fairly if a public body is making an important decision that has an impact on your rights. 

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of ‘persons with disabilities’ (i.e. disabled people). 


The process of working out the value of something, such as a house, or how much it would cost to buy or pay for.