Important Court Ruling Forces Councils to Re-think Care Funding

The Supreme Court in London made a judgement at the end of last month that could potentially change access to funded care packages for thousands of elderly and disabled people throughout the UK. This is a crucial case which should go some way to clarifying whether a County Council or a Social Services department can take its own finances into account when assessing a person’s care needs.

In the case a young disabled man took Cambridgeshire County Council to court as he argued that the care package he had been offered did not sufficiently meet his needs. Although the court ruled against this claim the judgement made it clear that ‘resources are not to be taken into account’ when establishing the needs of disabled people.

Four key charities were involved in the case and Yogi Amin the representing solicitor said “This is potentially the biggest community care ruling in 15 years...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 and have campaigned tirelessly to ensure there is complete transparency in terms of what an individual care needs are...”

Simon Foster, head of legal services at Sense one of the charities involved said “this is a terribly important ruling. It will make a significant difference to the way people are assessed and the way care services are provided.”

Certainly this case highlights the complexity of the social care funding system across the UK. It should ensure that individuals have rights to a reasonable level of care and support if they are disabled and that this support should not be impacted by where they live or how much local or indeed national funding is available.

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