By Ian Dipple Tuesday 13 August 2013 Updated: 15/08 12:23
A CAP on the amount of money given to individuals to care for themselves is lawful a high court judge has ruled.
Law firm Irwin Mitchell challenged Worcestershire County Council's maximum expenditure policy for adult social care packages on the grounds the consultation did not make the consequences of the cap clear.
The case was brought on behalf of a disabled 16-year-old, known only as D, who feared being forced into either accepting a care package at home which would be less than his needs or be forced into a care home.
Lawyers had appealed to county council bosses to reconsult and carry out an equality impact assessment, but were rejected.
And the judge supported the council by saying he did not accept D's argument the cap would lead to the scenario outlined.
But he did say the council would have to honour assurances it gave during the judicial review process that no one would be forced into residential care based on the policy alone.
D's mother said they were disappointed by the ruling but added: "The judge has accepted the council’s assurances our concerns are not valid and I can only hope over the coming months and years, the council will show us the judge was right in reaching this view."
Polly Sweeney, a specialist public law solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said they would be monitoring how the policy was implemented and were prepared to bring future legal challenges if necessary.
"We remain significantly concerned the policy breaches disabled people’s fundamental rights to independent living and the judgement recognises the policy will ‘sacrifice choice and control’ in favour of reducing public expenditure."
The policy was approved in November and was introduced as part of efforts to save £500,000 over the next four years from the council's budget. The cap will apply to new applicants for adult social care and existing users needed to be reassessed.
Anne Clarke, interim head of adult social care, said: "We are pleased the judgement has come down in our favour and we will now be working to implement the policy.
"We are always aware of our duties to fully consult on any major changes to policy and ensure we have due regard to our equalities duties and the judge has agreed that we have done both regarding the maximum expenditure policy."
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