Public and Community Care Law

Social care or community care is the term given to the services provided to those who are mentally ill, have a disability or are elderly and need assistance within the home or in the community rather than being kept in a hospital or similar facility on a long-term basis.

Local authorities in England can receive millions of requests for an adult to receive social care each year. Every request is assessed; some will be given care and others will have their application rejected. For those who receive social care, it may not always be at a satisfactory level. While many feel they have to accept rejection or a below satisfactory of standard care, there are, in fact, certain remedies exist for people in these situations.

The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 is the most major legislative change to social care in recent times. The Act brought together and consolidated much of the existing law with the aim of making it easier to understand your entitlements. The Act aimed to put wellbeing at the centre, with local authorities now under a duty to promote a person’s wellbeing in deciding whether provision of community care is needed. Where a person’s wellbeing could be severely diminished by denying them access to a service, this will increase their eligibility criteria for access.

Moreover, the Act removed the ‘postcode lottery’ that meant that different councils applied different eligibility criteria for the same care services. As a result, the test to determine if you need a specific service should now be the same for residents of London as for those of Newcastle.

The Act not only aims to help those with care needs but also their carers, who are often parents or siblings. Under the legislation, carers may be eligible to access services to support them in their roles.

Furthermore, the Act now benefits children with care needs by making the transition into the adult care system smoother. Local authorities are responsible for carrying out a needs assessment for children who are about to become adults and are likely to have care needs continuing into adulthood.

Community care issues

Despite the Care Act 2014 and other legislation providing a solid framework, those in need of community care can still encounter issues with the current system. Such issues include:

  • Delays in assessments
  • Poor assessments, resulting in access to inappropriate services
  • Services being removed prematurely
  • Unfair costs placed on the carer and person receiving care

Expert legal advice for community care issues

If you are in doubt about whether you are entitled to receive more support or have been denied more support you should contact a specialist community care solicitor. Our lawyers will explain clearly what your legal rights are in relation to care and can help advise and progress the matter further so that you or your loved one receives the care they are entitled to. We will guide you through the process of appealing a decision at local authority level and assist you in taking complaints to the appropriate government ombudsman.

If your situation is not covered by the Care Act 2014, our community care lawyers will let you know the law that applies. For example, this may be human rights legislation, which places duties on local authorities in relation to care over and above the Care Act and associated legislation.

A decision of a local authority cannot be appealed years after it has been taken, even if the outcomes are still being felt. There are strict time limits on making an appeal. If you have any concerns about a decision of a local authority or your entitlement in relation to social care you should contact a solicitor immediately to allow legal action to be taken before it becomes time-barred.

Funding

Care needs can put a stress on the family and its finances, and if you need legal advice and support in connection with these needs, this can cause further worry about costs. However, in many cases legal aid is available for care matters. Our solicitors can assist you in making an application for such assistance and also advise you of other sources of funding that may be available.

Contact our Specialist Public and Community Care Lawyers London

If you or a relative or friend have been turned down for community care support or are having difficulties with the service you are receiving, a community care solicitor at Scott-Moncrieff can assist. Our team have years of experience dealing with such matters. We offer a client-centred approach and aim to get the best outcome for your circumstances. Our team will listen to your situation and ensure that the appropriate action is taken. In cases where we cannot assist or the law is only part of the solution we will connect you with partner agencies or work hand-in-hand with them to resolve the problem.

If you have concerns around community care entitlement or the services you have been receiving contact us on 020 7841 1099 or use our online form.

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