Charity loses bid to deregister homes

A learning difficulties charity has lost its application for
judicial review of the National Care Standards Commission’s
decision not to allow it to deregister its homes,
writes Sally Gillen.

In a case that will have implications for providers all over the
country, north-west based Alternative Futures has been refused the
right to challenge the NCSC’s refusal to allow it to
deregister five of its 16 homes, and introduce supported tenancies
for its service users.

The NCSC 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.

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, and that the
NCSC’s assessments of homes was “inconsistent”.

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

The tenants are now planning to take the case to the court of
appeal, arguing that the decision breaches their human rights. But
Cullen predicted that the issue could take years to resolve.

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