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Irwin Mitchell Successfully Challenge Council Cuts

Irwin Mitchell has successfully challenged a Council’s failure to adequately assess a child’s needs and those of her mother and to provide community care services to meet her needs and those of her family.

Our client and her sister were born prematurely in 2009. Our client was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Periventricular Leukomalacia and was registered blind. She was dependant upon others for all of her needs. Her mother suffered from painful back problems and was unable to push our client in her specially adapted buggy at the same time as pushing her sister in her own buggy. As a result, our client was unable to attend all of her medical appointments.

Both the Council and the Primary Care Trust were aware of the difficulties of providing care for the family and accepted that these needed to be addressed. However, they disputed which body was responsible for meeting our client’s needs. Insufficient steps were taken to find appropriate care for our client by either body and our client’s mother was not provided with respite provision.

Irwin Mitchell alleged that the Council had breached its duties to adequately assess our client’s needs pursuant to provisions of the Children Act 1989 and accompanying guidance. It was also alleged that the Defendant Council failed to adequately assess the needs of her mother as principal carer.

After a hearing in March 2011, the Council and Primary Care Trust completed a joint continuing care assessment. The result was that the Primary Care Trust agreed to provide overnight healthcare support on five nights per week and the Council agreed to provide a total of nine hours per week of social care support.

Our client’s mother commented: “Irwin Mitchell has changed our lives for the better and without them we would not be in the position we are in now with fantastic support.”

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