Charity claims High Court ruling contradicts Valuing People principle

A learning difficulties charity has lost its application for a
judicial review of the National Care Standards Commission’s
decision not to allow it to deregister five of its 16 homes.

North West England-based Alternative Futures made the change to
allow residents greater independence – including financial
independence through becoming eligible for housing benefit – by
introducing supported tenancies for its service users.

The commission had said that the service users in those five homes
needed too much personal care and could not sign a supported
tenancy because they did not have the intellectual capacity to
understand one (news, page 12, 26 September).

But the charity’s managing director, Steve Cullen, has attacked the
High Court decision, saying it contradicted one of the four key
principles of the Valuing People white paper, which says that
people with learning difficulties should have more choice,
especially over housing.

He added that there was no difference between the needs of the
people in the five homes and those in the other 11 that were
deregistered, and that the commission’s assessments were

The charity, which adapted its homes and introduced supported
tenancies a year ago, may now have to reverse the changes and
reregister with the commission.

Such a move would be a “backwards step” which would demoralise
staff, unsettle service users and create uncertainties for their
parents, said Cullen, adding that it would also affect council

About 70 per cent of the money for supported tenancies will be
provided by the Supporting People fund, set to be introduced in
April. Councils have already started setting budgets according to
how much money they will receive.

Some money is already reaching councils through transitional

The tenants are now planning to take the case to the Court of
Appeal, arguing that the decision breaches their human rights,
which will have implications for providers all over the country.

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