Archives

Delay and the ombudsman: how depressing. 

In the last few years the Cerebra Legal Entitlements and Problem Solving (LEaP) Project has had to deal with many cases of delay by councils in England and Wales in…

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Ordinary Residence s117 ~ all change

The Department of Health and Social Care has changed its mind concerning the determination of a person’s ordinary residence for the purposes of section 117 Mental Health Act 1983 –…

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Visual impairment rehabilitation timeframes

Danny Dooney, Legal Rights Officer at the RNIB has provided the following note concerning a recent Ombudsman decision.[1]  It found Hammersmith and Fulham LBC was at fault for failing to…

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Coronavirus and direct payments

Interesting update guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care concerning the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: people receiving direct payments’. My good colleague Steve Brett has flagged up this…

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Urgent care

R (Ali Raja and Ali Hussain) v. Redbridge LBC [2020] EWHC 1456 (Admin). An important case concerning the power in the Care Act 2014 s19(3) that enables a council, in…

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Home care charges – the injustice continues

The severe impact of local authority home care charges is an overlooked injustice faced by large numbers of disabled people in England.  The hardship caused by these charges has been…

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The suspension of care home inspections

For an excellent paper by Alison Tarrant and Lydia Hayes concerning the suspension of routine inspections which they argue renders care homes invisible to scrutiny and costs lives – click…

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Magic wands, misdirection and shock

Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine may have its critics – but it is difficult not to think about it, at times like this.  Her central argument is that governments use national…

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Undermining children’s safeguarding duties

Major changes to the law concerning the protection of looked after children (among other things) have been brought into effect via the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. Article…

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Social Justice another coronavirus casualty

What do you do if a local authority or NHS body decides to stop processing all complaints – even complaints which relate to matters of life and death or another…

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Coronavirus: Direct Payments & Personal Health Budgets

Some welcome guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care concerning local authority and NHS decisions about permissible use of Direct Payment and Personal Health Budgets during the emergency.…

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Coronavirus update

More Chinese whispers and some guidance concerning disabled children and their families. Chinese whispers first.  In a recent post I referred to emails from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) saying that…

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Chinese whispers, NHS Complaints & Covid-19

It seems that people who have outstanding NHS complaints are getting letters from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) stating – for example: Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic NHS England and…

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Coronavirus Act threatens care for disabled people

A Position Statement from the Disability Law Service & Professor Luke Clements. Disabled children, disabled adults & carers need special protection in a time of crisis. The last decade of…

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The Coronavirus Act 2020

Updated 1 July 2020. This briefing considers: 1. The main provisions of the Act – this section briefly describes these as they apply to social care in England and Wales…

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Coronavirus Bill Impact assessment.

My good colleague Steve Brett has drawn to my attention the Impact Assessment for the Coronavirus Bill produced by the Department of Health and Social Care.   It is an important…

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The Coronavirus Bill and the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939.

When trying to make sense of the Coronavirus Bill – we should keep in mind the dissenting opinion of Lord Atkin in Liversidge v Anderson [1942] AC 206. It was…

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The Coronavirus Bill, social care & SEN

  The Government has published the Coronavirus Bill.  It is the most draconian legislation enacted since the Second World War and suspends a whole raft of legislative duties – not…

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Disabled children, their carers and Coronavirus

During the current emergency we must not allow disabled young people and their carers to be pushed to the back of the health and social care queue. A campaign has…

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Is ‘indignation’ old fashioned?

“Mrs X is a disabled pensioner who lives alone in rented accommodation. She was born with cerebral palsy, has no sight in one eye and has had two strokes. She…

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No such word as ‘can’t’

All too often disabled people and families are told that a local authority can’t meet a particular support need because (for example) it can’t find anyone (or any organisation) willing…

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The Queen’s Speech

Social care reform “My ministers will seek cross-party consensus on proposals for long term reform of social care. They will ensure that the social care system provides everyone with the…

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NHS Personal Health Budgets: new rights and new guidance

NHS England has issued new guidance to coincide with the extension[1] of the right to a Personal Health Budget (PHB) to cover people eligible for section 117 Mental Health Act…

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NHS Continuing Healthcare statistics

The latest NHS CHC statistics for England show a small increase in overall numbers of people eligible for funding – up from 55,872 at the end of June to 57,016…

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Unacceptable delay:

Complaints procedures for disabled children and their families The Cerebra Legal Entitlements and Problem-Solving (LEaP) Research Project at Leeds University has published a report concerning serious (and systemic) failings in…

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Anniversary quotes

Two quotes: one published a year ago and the other 175 years ago. 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more…

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Unfortunately … there is no legal footing to justify us not funding

  R (CP) v. NE Lincolnshire Council[1] is an important Court of Appeal decision.  On one level the judgment demonstrates the complexity of the care / education arrangements for young…

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Under 5’s school transport

An excellent report[1] from the ombudsman concerning the legal obligations on a council to provide transport for a disabled child below statutory school age. The report provides a helpful statement…

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Education Committee Report on SEND

The House of Commons Education Committee published its report on 'Special educational needs and disabilities' on 23rd October 2019. It doesn’t pull its punches and we must all hope that…

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Post-16 students and free school / college travel assistance

A further ombudsman's report concerning the duty to provide free travel assistance to school / colleges etc has just been published.[1] A March 2019 ombudsman's report[2] concerning the same Council…

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So what do you do?

You are a health / social care professional. You have read up on the lawfulness of funding panels – but you now find yourself required to attend a panel to…

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Direct Payments for Young People

A survey of 52 social services authorities found that rates of pay for Personal Assistants (PAs) were very low, typically at minimum wage rates. The report concludes that in many…

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‘Omg … will it never end’

It is not every day that an ombudsman’s report refers to an investigator’s note saying the above.  Not every day that the ombudsman: asks a council to reflect on its…

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Pre-payment cards and direct payments

Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) has published guidance concerning the use by local authorities of pre-payment cards for direct payments / personal budgets. TLAP describes itself as a ‘national partnership’…

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Charges for community care

For many disabled people the cut backs in social care support have been accompanied by steep increases in local authority charges[1] exacerbated by the freezing of threshold allowances for the…

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DWP and MoJ unlawful inaction

Legal research by the International Disability Law Clinic at the School of Law, Leeds University concludes that the Government’s policy of not installing audio recording equipment for all Personal Independence…

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Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) and social care responsibilities

An important ombudsman report[1] has just been published that reaffirms that: social services authorities have duties under the Care Act 2014 to ensure that necessary home adaptations are provided and…

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Extra care housing: ‘just in time’ systems are for cars not care

Extra care housing is a good idea. In practice however it looks to be failing all but the wealthy. This ‘post’ describes the idea behind extra care housing schemes and…

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Post-19 education transport costs

In a recent and important report,[1] the ombudsman has held that the transport needs of an adult in education are relevant considerations when assessing his (and his carer’s) social care…

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NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) and transitions into adulthood

Young people who are receiving NHS Continuing Care (and their families) are inevitably anxious to know what their care and support arrangements will be once they become 18.  Not infrequently…

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NHS CHC and supine council leaders

The number of people eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding (CHC) in England has fallen – again. The most recent figures[1] have just been published and show that in the…

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Staying in a care home when savings spent

What can be done when a resident, who has self funded their care home runs out of money: having spent their savings on paying for their care home? Although councils…

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Can you cope?

It’s a simple question – yes or no? If you are a parent of a disabled child – it is a question, when asked by a social worker, that you…

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Elaine McDonald

It is reported that Elaine McDonald has died.  She was by all accounts an extraordinary person and I hope she is remembered for this and her brilliance as a ballerina. …

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Personal Budgets: the tail and the dog

The law is clear: a disabled or older person’s eligible needs must be met, either by the council arranging the services or by providing a direct payment sufficient to enable…

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The charging regulations and injustice

A guest ‘post’ by Brian Collinge, a former local authority Chief Executive and father of a son who has severe learning disabilities.  Brian identifies a major injustice experienced by disabled…

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Is Britain Fairer? No.

Disabled people … are finding themselves increasingly excluded from mainstream society, starting in education and continuing later in life. …. . Disabled people are more likely to be in poverty,…

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Continuing Health Care Funding and End of Life Care

Opening address to the Association of Palliative Care Social Workers Tackling Poverty in Palliative Care Conference York University 13th September 2018.   One of our greatest achievements as a nation…

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Families with severely disabled children should not have to live like this.

A report by the ombudsman[i] contains the above quote (said by the disabled child’s mother).  The report relates to a council’s failure (for over 3 years) to provide essential home…

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Improving Flexible Working Rights for Carers

  A ‘What’s New’ post contributed by David Laurence and Samson Dawodu of the Disability Law Service. Those who care for disabled people should be entitled to reasonable adjustments in…

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