Next in our series of ebriefings on the Government’s Green Paper: Transforming public procurement; looking at the Chapter 4 proposal to change the basis of contract awards.
Campaigners have argued that changes being made to care worker arrangements at Botton Village, a community for people with learning disabilities in Yorkshire, breached human rights.
The case centred on the steps the charity was taking to meet HM Revenue and Customs requirement that 'co-workers', who have historically provided much of the care in Botton Village in shared living arrangements, be treated as employees. These workers had previously benefitted from an agreement by which they paid no tax on the considerable benefits they received.
A number of co-workers refused both the charity’s offer of an employment contract and its authority over the provision of support to the people with learning disabilities. As a result, the charity sought to introduce replacement employed care staff but this was halted on 13 March when the High Court granted interim relief preventing the charity from taking action. That order has now been varied on 25 March when permission for the judicial review was refused.
Helen Tucker of Anthony Collins Solicitors, the specialist law firm appointed by the charity, said:
“As a charity, Camphill Village Trust seeks to avoid legal disputes where possible. In this instance, the charity trustees had no option but to respond urgently to the claim brought against them.
The Court decided that the claim was “unarguable” as the charity had made an “evaluative decision” as to how it could most effectively meet its obligations to the learning disabled people it supports. This came as a relief to our client and a vindication of the work being done by the charity’s staff and trustees. They are working hard to ensure the charity meets all regulatory requirements in a way that meets the needs of the people it works with.”
The matter returns to court on 15th April, as the residents' solicitors have issued a renewed application for permission.
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