Test case on direct payment restraints

A woman last week launched a test case at the High Court to allow
her to use direct payments from her local authority to pay her
husband to care for her.

Gillian Ely, who has multiple sclerosis, says Leeds Council’s
refusal to allow her to use the payments in this way violates her
human rights.

But Nicholas O’Brien, representing Leeds, said the local authority
was bound by the Community Care (Direct Payments) Regulations 1997,
which forbids direct payments being authorised to secure services
from a person’s partner or close relative.

A government consultation on the Community Care (Direct Payments)
Act 1996, which closed at the end of last year, also states that
the regulations prohibit direct payments to be made to a partner or
a close relative living in the same household.

Mr Justice Toulson granted leave for a full judicial review
hearing, although a date has yet to be set. If successful, other
people who have been refused direct payments on similar grounds
could also challenge their local authorities’ decisions.

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