Community care disputes arise in many different circumstances, from social care to housing, education and NHS funding to welfare disputes.

The care needs of an individual can vary from something as simple as the need to be monitored to extensive round-the-clock specialist care. The care enables people to live as independent a life as possible within their local community. Unfortunately, local authority and local health trust budget cuts can be a factor that leads to inadequate care packages. Assessments often fall short of what is reasonably required, and there can often be some delays before care is put in place.

How we can support you with community care disputes

When a dispute arises, taking on the local authority or the local health trust can be daunting. At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we have a specialist team who can provide you with expert advice and assistance on a range of issues relating to community care, including challenging decisions and protecting your best interests.

In the past year, the Community Care Legal Team at Anthony Collins Solicitors has over-turned numerous decisions successfully in respect of:

  • community care assessments;
  • direct payments and personal budgets;
  • disputes over residential care payments;
  • disputes over healthcare/medical treatment; and
  • funding for health and social care, including NHS continuing healthcare disputes.

We detail some of these cases below.

Social care disputes

  • A direct payment is where the local authority (LA), pays money to a person who then uses it to buy in their own care and support, rather than receiving their care directly from the LA. Government regulations clearly state that recipients must not use direct payments to employ a close family member living in the same household except where the LA feels this is ‘necessary’.
  • We secured direct payments under the LA’s ‘Exceptional circumstances’ policy for a family member as our client’s individual circumstances met the policy guidelines to receive such payments.
  • We secured a refund in social care costs of £187,550.35 from an LA because social workers had wrongly assessed our client’s needs and financial circumstances under the Care Act 2014.
  • An assessor significantly under-assessed our client’s needs and gave incorrect advice on how he could increase his budget. We were able to challenge the assessment and secure a social care budget of £166,000 per annum for our client.  
  • Our client came to us following the repeated failure of a social worker to consider their needs and circumstances. This failure had an impact on the social worker’s assessment and recommendations, which we challenge. As a result of our challenge, and due to our client’s complex needs and circumstances, we secured a 24-hours, 7-days-a-week care and support package from their LA.  

Housing disputes

  • Due to our client’s needs, they were struggling with having to bid for social housing properties under the LA’s housing-bidding system. Going against other bidders meant that they were consistently losing out, but their LA refused to make them a  Direct Offer of accommodation. We were able to intervene on behalf of our client, presenting evidence that showed they met the necessary criteria, which subsequently led to a Direct Offer of a property.  
  • Our client was classed as being Band 2 under their LA’s housing allocation system. Following an assessment, it was decided that they should remain on Band 2, resulting in our client staying Band 2 for over four years. We felt that our client came under the category of ‘Emergency Disability’, and successfully overturned the LA’s decision. Our client was moved to Band 1, and the LA made a Direct Offer of a four-bedroom house, to accommodate their needs.

Education disputes

  • We were involved in a case whereby the Local Education Authority (LEA) refused to include a school chosen by our client’s parent under Section I of her Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. We overturned this decision by showing that the LEA had not properly considered the full facts of our client’s educational needs and aspirations
  • We have challenged the legalities of the content EHC plans issued by various LEAs.
  • We secured various ‘Special Educational Needs’ provisions for clients under Section F of their EHC plans.  

NHS Funding disputes

We secured additional Continuing Health Care (CHC) funding from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for our client; we evidenced that our client has unmet primary health needs. We also identified that the assessor had failed to follow procedures set out nationally and locally, which resulted in a flawed CHC review of our client’s needs.

Welfare disputes

  • We have overturned numerous Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decisions made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). We successfully evidenced to the DWP that the PIP assessors had consistently failed to apply relevant regulations; therefore, their findings on our clients’ functional abilities are flawed. DWP accepted our submissions and awarded our clients enhanced rates for both mobility and daily-living activities components.
  • We have secured PIP arrears as far back as 16 months due to errors made by the DWP.
Further information

There are many different areas of which you may find you need assistance and our expert solicitors are happy to give free, impartial initial advice regarding your options.  If you have a community care legal dispute you would like us to get involved in, then please contact Nsiem Akhtar