You are here

EHRC welcomes Devon care homes ruling

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has hailed a High Court ruling which confirms that public authorities should consider the needs of older and disabled people when planning their services.

14 November 2012

Add comment

The Commission intervened in November in the judicial review of R (South West Care Homes and others) v Devon County Council to clarify the relevant equality law that authorities are obliged to consider when making plans.

The claimants, a number of care home providers, brought judicial proceedings over the 6.6 per cent increase in fees that Devon County Council proposed paying. They argued that the council failed to meet its public sector equality duty and properly consider how its actions would impact on vulnerable groups such as people with dementia.

South West Care Homes and others also said they may be forced to close care homes due to financial constraints placed upon them by the council.

The judge ruled that the county council had breached its equalities duties in its assessment of the impact of its funding decision, and in particular in relation to the impact of potential home closures.

John Wadham, general counsel at the EHRC, said: “This is an important case for all authorities to take note of as our population ages and with people acquiring disabilities in later life who may come to rely on care and support.

“We recognise that local authorities and care providers are under financial strain at the moment; using equality duties properly is a way to ensure ?that spending is targeted in the ?most efficient way possible to ?advance equality of opportunity and eliminate discrimination.”

According to the EHRC, Devon believed that it had completed sufficient assessment under the National Assistance Act 1948, but it should also have considered the public sector equality duty.
However, the court did find in favour of Devon CC on two of the three challenges: the way in which it calculates its fees is rational and fair and that it consulted properly with care home owners.

Categorised in:

Vulnerable Clients