The Care Act 2014 represents a significant change in legislation in England. For the first time it brings together various aspects of adult social care into a single statute succeeding earlier acts and policy. Given its importance to the lives of service users and carers, clinicians need to have a clear understanding of its implications. We provide an overview of why it was developed, its underlying principles and international comparisons, as well as implications for assessments, interventions and outcomes. The impact on the lives of patients and carers is discussed, as well as dilemmas and challenges the Act presents. While it addresses other important aspects of social care, including safeguarding, Mental Health Act section 117 aftercare and duty of candour, we focus on personalisation because of the opportunities it provides to enhance management plans for people experiencing mental health problems.