Share

Disability charities cheer landmark council funding decision

Disability charities cheer landmark council funding decision
News

Disability charities cheer landmark council funding decision

Finance | Tania Mason | 1 Jun 2012

Four national disability charities have hailed a Supreme Court ruling handed down yesterday which states that local authorities must not take their financial situation into account when assessing someone’s support needs.

Sense, the National Austistic Society, RNIB and Guide Dogs had instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to represent them in the case of KM v Cambridgeshire County Council, to clarify the law on whether councils can consider their budgets when establishing the needs of a service user.

The family of KM, a blind, autistic wheelchair user, brought the case because they felt the care package he was offered did not adequately meet his needs.

Although the court ruled against KM, the judgment did nevertheless specify that “resources are not to be taken into account” when a local authority decides on a disabled person’s care needs.

The lawyer that represented the four charities, Yogi Amin, described the judgment as “potentially the biggest community care ruling in 15 years”.

The charities wanted clarification of a previous ruling in 1997 by the House of Lords which suggested that a council’s resources may be taken into account when determining people’s needs. They argued that the law had been misinterpreted and created a postcode lottery for service provision, and that service users should be assessed on what care they need, rather than the local authority’s financial position.

The charities claim that in light of the new judgment, every local authority in England and Wales may have to look again at its assessment procedures.

Amin added: “Each of the national charities who intervened in this case firmly believes that a person’s individual needs are the same regardless of where they live.”

The Supreme Court allocated seven judges to the hearing. The importance of the case was not missed by the government - the Secretary of State for Health also intervened.

The ruling also stated that when service users are using direct payments to purchase their support package, it is “crucial” that local authorities provide a reasonable level of detail about the assessment so that “a judgement can be made whether the indicative sum is too high, too low or about right”.

Simon Foster, head of legal services at Sense, said: "This is an important ruling for all disabled people, including deafblind people, because it provides for open and transparent decision-making when it comes to the care and support people need to live their lives."

Local authorities respond

But the local authority response did not suggest that much would change. Sarah Pickup, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: "The ruling clarifies existing law but it is not the case that people have been denied an assessment because resources are being taken into account.

"Authorities must always assess needs first and only then take resources into account in agreeing how to meet someone's needs. The judgment reinforces the use of resource allocation systems as a helpful tool in agreeing costed support packages."

 

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

RNLI to accept digital currency donations

1 Aug 2014

RNLI has become the first major UK charity to accept donations in the digital currency, Bitcoin, in a...

Macmillan's voluntary income soars by £34.1m

31 Jul 2014

Macmillan Cancer Support raised £186.9m in 2013 – an increase of £34.1m on the previous year, according...

Half of hospices in England saw NHS funding cut or frozen this year

31 Jul 2014

Half of hospices in England have had their statutory funding from the NHS either cut or frozen this year,...

Macmillan's chief executive to join British Council

1 Aug 2014

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, is to leave after seven years as chief executive...

British Heart Foundation announces three new directors

1 Aug 2014

The British Heart Foundation has announced three appointments to its executive group ahead of launching...

Savile charity to challenge victim compensation scheme

31 Jul 2014

The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust has been granted permission to appeal against the agreed system of compensation...

RNLI to accept digital currency donations

1 Aug 2014

RNLI has become the first major UK charity to accept donations in the digital currency, Bitcoin, in a...

Online donations forms are too long and cost charities donations, finds report

28 Jul 2014

One third of leading charity websites require potential donors to complete more than 20 actions before...

Greenpeace video removed from YouTube following copyright claim

14 Jul 2014

A campaign video by Greenpeace against Lego’s relationship with Shell has been subject to a copyright...

Join the discussion

 Twitter button

@CSFinance