A disabled man has been given permission by the High Court to bring a legal challenge against a local authority’s decision to reduce his care package, in the first case to be linked to an alleged failure to meet the Care Act’s wellbeing principle.
Luke Davey, 39, is quadriplegic and has cerebral palsy. He was assessed as needing 24-hour care in 2015 and had a stable care package in place for 20 years. Over the past year Oxfordshire council took steps to cut the funding available to him. He says this would leave him able to afford 17.5 hours of support and left alone for six hours a day.
Davey is bringing a judicial review of the council’s decision on the basis it breached several statutory duties under the Care Act, including the duty to “promote an individual’s wellbeing” set out in section 1 of the Act and the duty to meet meeting an individual’s unmet eligible needs set out in section 18 of the legislation.
He will point to evidence from an independent occupational therapist who said the move to cut his care package posed significant risks to his wellbeing and independence.
Davey’s case will be heard in the High Court later this year and is the first legal challenge dealing with the Care Act’s wellbeing principle and care package provision duties. The only other Care Act-related challenge heard by the courts to date concerned advocacy provision.
Ahead of the hearing, the law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing Davey, has secured an interim court order meaning that the council must continue paying the full cost of his current package until the case is finished.
Davey’s care package had been joint funded by the council and the Independent Living Fund (ILF) up until the ILF closed in June 2015. At first the council continued to fund the full care package but then decided to reduce the funding available.
Rebecca Chapman a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We will argue that the council has duties under the Care Act 2014 and has not taken into account the reasons why the reduced payments will have such a significant detrimental impact on Luke’s health and wellbeing.
“We are pleased that the court has granted the interim court order meaning his care needs will continue to be met. We now look forward to presenting Luke’s case at the Judicial Review later this year.”
Jasmine Davey, Luke’s mother, said: “I am 75 years old and have cancer. I cannot provide all the care that Luke needs. Luke is unable to make himself a drink or put himself to the toilet.
“The decision of the High Court came as a great relief to Luke and the family because it means Luke will be kept safe. It is just a shame that we had to take this matter to court and the council did not listen to our concerns and try to accommodate them which could have prevented the legal action.”
An Oxfordshire council spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage pending consideration of this case by the Court. In the meantime we continue to work with Mr Davey and his family.”