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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Law Commission asked to review the legislation on social care for disabled children

Law Commission asked to review the legislation on social care for disabled children


The Department for Education has requested a review of the legal framework

The Law Commission of England and Wales announced on 20 April that it has been asked by the Department of Education to review the legislation governing the social care of disable children, to ensure that it fit for purpose and allows children with disabilities to access the support they need.

Although the Law Commission has yet to formally agree to the project, it has taken immediate steps to recruit a lawyer to conduct the anticipated project. The Law Commission will now consider the request and will work on terms of reference and a suitable timetable.

The proposed review was instigated by the findings from the independent review led by Josh MacAlister on children’s social care, which raised concerns in its final report in March 2022 that families of disabled children are struggling to understand what support they are entitled to and how to access it. The proposed review would also complement the government’s wider plans and ongoing activities on children’s social care reform.  

The aim of the proposed review would be to simplify and strengthen the law, ensuring that the system is fair and works for parents, care givers and local authorities. More specifically, Claire Coutinho, the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, has asked the Law Commission in the context of the review: to recommend a solution to the patchwork of legislation that currently governs social care for disabled children; to improve how the law on social care for disabled children fits in with the law relating to children’s social care more broadly; and to recommend a route to review the outdated language and definitions underpinning the law on social care for disabled children.