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Oldham Council Withdraws Approved Broker List After Threat Of Legal Action

Direct Payment Recipients Free To Choose Brokers To Manage Social Care Funding And Support


Adults in Oldham in receipt of direct payments will now have the freedom to choose which broker they use to manage their funding and support after the council reversed its decision to create an approved list of brokers, which expert lawyers argued was in breach of the Care Act 2014.


Oldham Council recently implemented an approved list of brokerage providers for those receiving direct payments. The council also informed those receiving the payments that if their choice of broker was not on the council’s approved list of providers the brokerage service would not be funded.


Direct payments are made available by local authority for anyone who has been assessed as needing help from social services, and brokers assist those receiving direct payments to access support and to achieve maximum independence.


The decision effectively removes choices from those using broker services, which it was argued goes against the Care Act 2014.


Now, after the threat of a judicial review of the decision Oldham Council has scrapped the approved list of brokers and informed service users that they are free to choose any broker.


Brokerage service company, Instream Partnership Ltd, which currently provides services to more than 200 people receiving direct payments in the Oldham area was not successful in the tender process operated by the council and expressed concerns that the decision removed the choice of its clients to choose the services that suited their needs.


Instream Partnership Ltd instructed public law experts at Irwin Mitchell to explore legal action and after informing Oldham Council of its intention to seek a review of the decision the council reversed its decision.


Mathieu Culverhouse, a public law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, said:


Expert Opinion
“We believed the decision taken by Oldham Council to implement an approved list and to refuse to fund services offered by companies not on the list was in breach of the Care Act 2014.

“The Care Act is very clear that people are, as far as possible, to be given their own choice on how they have their needs met and by having closed lists of approved providers this choice was effectively removed.

“Our client is pleased the council has decided to scrap the approved list. The Council will now inform those in receipt of direct payments of their freedom to choose brokers they feel will meet their individual needs.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, Senior Associate


Instream Partnership Ltd has been operating in the Oldham area since 2003 and is one of the largest brokerage services in the area, assisting more than 200 adult social care users.


Luke Travis, Co-Founder of Instream, said: “Our business has been assisting our clients for more than 12 years and we work with around fifty per cent of people using brokerage services in Oldham.


“The decision by the council to seemingly limit the choice of brokerage services to those on the approved list, following the tendering process, simply prevented users from making choices about how to handle their own care.


“Thankfully, the council has now agreed not to use the approved list and we will be able to continue to provide services to people in the area and ensure they can access the best possible support and care they require.”


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