Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law & Human Rights team ensured that a disabled man would receive funding from his Local Authority adult services department to replace the care funding that he would have lost when the Independent Living Fund (ILF) closed at the end of June 2015.
Family members of P, a 28-year-old man with complex health and learning needs, including cerebral palsy and associated communication difficulties, approached Mathieu Culverhouse at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office after his Local Authority failed to confirm that it would replace the element of funding he received from the ILF before its closure on 30 June 2015.
The ILF previously paid for over two thirds of P’s care package costs and so losing any portion of this funding would have had an obvious and significant impact on meeting his assessed care needs and potentially would have forced a situation where family members or others would be required to act as carers.
Irwin Mitchell successfully challenged the council on the basis that the Local Authority has a duty under the Care Act 2014 to meet P’s needs and to ensure that his care and support continues uninterrupted, despite the ILF closing. The Local Authority agreed to provide funding to P in an amount equivalent to that previously paid by the ILF until such time as it has carried out a lawful assessment of P.
The ILF funding from central government was transferred over to local authorities on 1 July 2015 and the responsibility to meet all care and support needs is now met by councils in line with their duties under the Care Act 2014.
P’s father commented: “Since the decision to close the ILF in December 2014 we, and other families who had been assessed as requiring this funding due to caring for someone with complex needs, were unfortunately been left by the Local Authority not knowing what was going to happen to our fund, causing a great deal of stress.
"The fact is without Irwin Mitchell challenging the Local Authority we would still be awaiting an answer from the Local Authority, who are not making the situation less stressful for families in our position. Although the government have not ring-fenced the fund transfer from ILF, Local Authorities should not forget their duty of care and should act as social workers not as accountants.
"Although we are very concerned that this is just the start of our long stressful journey to ensure the right level of funding, thanks to the help of Irwin Mitchell the rights and needs of our son have not been ignored.”
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