Social Care problems – Taking On the Local Authority

Social Care problems – Taking On the Local Authority

The following article was taken from the DPAC website. I thought it might be of use to individuals having the same problems with social care services that I have experienced throughout the #SaveWILG campaign.

It seems that this information might be more relevant to my comrades in England, but it is a good starting ground for all disabled activists across the United Kingdom.

It should also be noted that DPAC reblogged this article mainly from the Independent Living website


What to do when you have a problem with social care services?

Many people have a problem with services they receive from their local authority, either for themselves or someone they are caring for. As council budgets are increasingly under pressure, and demand for services is going up, it is no surprise that there may be a gap between what is offered and what is expected when it comes to social care services.

Monitoring Officers are responsible for investigating unlawfulness

If you have an issue with a local authority, there is an easy – and free! – way of raising your concerns. It is not much talked about, so you may well not realise that every council has a “Monitoring Officer“, whose brief is to look out for incidents of alleged unlawfulness within the council.

The duties of a Monitoring Officer were established under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. If they become aware of any proposal, decision or omission by the local authority that has led, or is likely to lead, to a contravention of any statute – like the Care Act – or Regulations – like the Assessment Regulations – or rule of law, they have to prepare a report and arrange for each member of the authority to receive a copy. While members are considering the report, the relevant actions or proposals are automatically suspended. They have 21 days to consider the report.

MOs have to look into any matters referred to them

To keep Monitoring Officers independent, they are protected from dismissal, except through special steps. The creation of the office is intended to manage legal risk in an effective way, thus minimising the need for legal proceedings. The MO or their deputy is personally responsible for considering any matter referred to them which involves a coherent statement that the local authority is in breach of the law in something it has done or failed to do. They can’t just ignore it. If they believe that the case you have brought to their attention is not a matter of unlawfulness, they should provide you with the reasons why they have reached this conclusion. The council has to provide the Monitoring Officer with the resources necessary to do their job, including paying for legal opinion, if it is outside the expertise of the MO.

As you know, there is a Local Authority Ombudsman scheme for problems with council services, but the ombudsman will not consider your case until you have made a complaint to the council and received no satisfaction. Making a representation to the Monitoring Officer is an effective way of showing that you have tried to resolve the issue with the LA.

Information from Belinda Schwehr of Care and Health Law

This information about the role of Monitoring Officers comes from Belinda Schwehr, the leading expert in adult social care law. She has also put together a list of contact details for most MOs in the country. It is downloadable as a PDF from the page link below, about halfway down.

Although approaching a Monitoring Officer is free, it does require you to understand the law sufficiently to be able to make a case as to why you believe the authority is acting in contravention of it.

If you are in a dispute with your local authority about adult social care, the legal advice charity Cascaidr, is a good place to start to look for advice.

Mainly reblogged from Independent Living


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