Community Care Law
Community Care law deals with the rights of people who require social care and/or health services. The following are the categories of work we cover:
- Care for older people
- Services for people with physical disabilities
- Mental health needs
- Learning disabilities
- Autistic spectrum disorders and Asperger’s syndrome
- Care for migrants, refugees and those subject to immigration control
- Services for children
- Services for carers
- Court of Protection cases
The following are examples of cases that we can now advise upon:
- Failure to carry out a community care assessment;
- Failure to make an eligibility decision;
- Challenges to eligibility;
- Failure to provide adequate and suitable social care and health services;
- Cuts to care packages;
- Failure to carry out reviews;
- Rights to aids and adaptations in the home;
- Direct payments and personal budgets;
- Eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare;
- Refusal of health treatment;
- Support for people on discharge from hospital;
- Discharge disputes;
- Welfare decisions for those who lack capacity;
- Deprivation of liberty safeguards;
- Challenges to the closure of day centres, residential homes and hospitals;
- Disputes about charging for care;
Councils and health bodies have a legal responsibility to provide care and support to a range of different groups of people whose needs arise because of age, disability or other circumstances. These groups include: older people who need help around the house or the provision of a care home; young physically or learning disabled adults who require help to live independently; children in need; and those who have complex medical conditions. Community care services are also available to carers.
Community care services fall into two categories:
Social care services – Services which are provided by Councils through their social services departments. These usually take the form of care at home, residential accommodation (such as care home placements) and day centre provision. Most of these services are provided under the Care Act 2014 or the Children Act 1989.
Health services – Services which are provided by health bodies such as GP surgeries, district nursing services, community mental health teams and hospitals. These bodies come under two categories: Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) or Trusts. Health services are provided under National Health Service (NHS) legislation and can be provided at home or in hospital.
Although many people receive only social care or health services, some require both.
Because community care services are provided by public bodies, those bodies are required to act in accordance with the law. In some cases that means that they must provide services, in others that they have a discretion. However, in the latter circumstance a council or a health body is required to act fairly and reasonably and in accordance with guidance given by central government. Community care law is about holding the service providers to account.
Unfortunately, many people who should be receiving community care services do not receive them. Similarly, those who are receiving services often find that it is inadequate or that there are problems with the delivery of the service. If these problems cannot be resolved through negotiation, legal proceedings may be necessary by way of judicial review proceedings.
In some cases it will not be necessary to go to court and community care law also covers social services and NHS complaints procedures and complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman and Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
Community Law Partnership is one of very few solicitors’ firms which specialise in Community Care law. Our supervising solicitor has nearly 20 years community care experience and we hold a specialist contract from the Legal Aid Agency for this work.
We can provide free diagnostic advice, interpreting services and home visits when required. We can also offer immediate, emergency appointments where necessary.