Court Rules That Council Must Continue To Provide a Full Care Package Until Final Hearing
A severely disabled man who needs 24-hour care has been given permission to bring a legal challenge Oxfordshire County Council’s decision to reduce his care package in the High Court later this year.
Luke Davey, 39, is quadriplegic and has cerebral palsy, disabilities caused due to a virus he contracted as a child, which means he has significant needs for care and support which are the responsibility of Oxfordshire County Council under the Care Act 2014. Luke lives in his own adapted home and is supported by a team of carers to live independently.
Despite an assessment in April 2015 stating he needs 24-hours care a day and a stable care package for over 20 years the council took steps to reduce Luke’s funding over the past 12 months down to 17.5 hours which his family, and an independent report said would have a negative effect on his wellbeing.
Luke’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell challenged the decision in the High Court stating that the Council is in breach of the Care Act in not making sufficient payments to meet Luke’s care needs. They asked the court to give permission for them to challenge his reduced care plan and to provide an interim court order to ensure he continues to have care funding for the support he needs.
Now the High Court has granted permission for Mr Davey to bring a Judicial Review of the reductions to Luke’s care plan. The law firm Irwin Mitchell also secured an interim court order for Luke at the recent court hearing meaning that the Council needs to continue paying for the full cost of his current care package until the final hearing which is expected to take place later this year.
Expert Opinion“Luke is an intelligent but vulnerable man who is dependent on a wheelchair, registered blind and relies on support from the council to fund carers so that he can live his life to his full potential. Luke can make his own decisions but requires assistance with all of his personal care needs and activities of daily living and in April 2015 the Council assessed him as needing 24 hours care a day. Luke has decided he does not want to be forced to spend time alone
“An Independent report has stated that the reduced care plan will have a detrimental impact on his wellbeing and independence and Luke, through the support of his family has asked us to challenge the decision to reduce his care.
“We will argue that the council has duties under the Care Act 2014 and has not taken into account the reasons why the reduced payments will have such a significant detrimental impact on Luke’s health and wellbeing. We are pleased that the Court has granted the interim court order meaning his care needs will continue to be met. We now look forward to presenting Luke’s case at the Judicial Review later this year.” Rebecca Chapman - Solicitor
Luke’s mother Jasmine Davey said: “I am 75 years old and have cancer. I cannot provide all the care that Luke needs. Luke is unable to make himself a drink or put himself to the toilet. The decision of the High Court came as a great relief to Luke and the family because it means Luke will be kept safe. It is just a shame that we had to take this matter to court and the council did not listen to our concerns and try to accommodate them which could have prevented the legal action”
The care package was previously joint funded by the Council and the Independent Living Fund (ILF) but when the ILF was closed by the government in June 2015 the responsibility and funding was transferred to the local authorities, in this case Oxfordshire County Council.
At first the council continued to fund the care package but then later decided to reduce the care that would be funded to only 17.5 hours of care per day , leaving Luke by himself for 6 hours during the day.
However, an independent occupational therapist was critical of the decisions to reduce his funding and said it would give rise to significant risks to Luke’s wellbeing and independence.
A further argument in the case is that a reduction in the rates of pay for skilled carers and assistants would be unreasonable and unlawful.
A judicial review hearing will be heard in the High Court later this year.
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