The Supreme Court has dismissed a disabled man’s appeal against the level of funding for his care package. Lawyers representing the 26-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Cambridgeshire County Council made an “irrational” decision when deciding the level of its client’s care funding. The offer of about £85,000 a year was “manifestly insufficient” to meet the man’s assessed needs, they claimed.

An independent social worker put the cost of annual support at £157,000. Lawyers representing man, referred to as KM, who was born without eyes and has a range of serious mental and physical conditions, said the case raised “profound issues” for disabled people dependent on local authority support. The lawyers claimed Cambridgeshire County Council made an “irrational” decision when funding his care. Judges unanimously rejected that a decision made in June 2010 was unlawful because it was irrational.

Lord Wilson said KM’s lawyers had failed to establish that the offer was not a rational assessment “of the cost of meeting the appellant’s eligible needs”.

Judges had been asked to reconsider a previous decision by the House of Lords on how far the resources of a local authority could be taken into account when making decisions under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. It was clear that Cambridgeshire did not rely on constraints on its allocation of resources to justify its decision, the judges said.

The court also made it clear that when individuals received direct funding for social care it was “crucial” local authorities provide enough detail to decide the correct sum. Four charities – Sense, National Autistic Society, RNIB and Guide Dogs – put forward evidence seeking clarification on specific points of law. Their lawyers maintained some councils restricted assessments on the grounds of costs and some did not, which in the past resulted in a postcode lottery for social care.

Source: BBC NEWS


31st May 2012


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