Managing Local Authority Funding Cuts

Ridouts Law

Cuts are being made to the most vital of public services – it is thought that the health and social care sector will be one of the hardest hit.

So what can providers do when Local Authorities force them to make financial cuts but compromising care is not an option?

Contract – examine the contract for an individual’s care – if, for example, it states that the person requires the support of two carers then two trained carers must be provided; family members cannot be used as a replacement.

Reasonable notice – has the local authority complied with the period of notice, for making changes to the terms of the contact, stated in the contract, or given “reasonable” notice? If not then the local authority are breaching the contract, and you should not comply with their requests.

Appropriate care – it is a care provider’s responsibility to provide appropriate care to its service users, not adequate care, and it is the care provider who will be held responsible if the Care Quality Commission finds the standard of care for service users to be lacking.

Analysis – what are the care needs of individual service users? Does the service user require two carers or can appropriate care be provided by one? Can the identified risks be managed to an acceptable level?

Health and safety – by reducing the care package for a service user will this put the service user at risk, will this compromise your responsibilities to the service user and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). If not, you may expose yourself to the risk of prosecution by the HSE.

Complain – if you feel that the local authority’s action has compromised the health and safety of service users consider making complaints to CQC, HSE and/or the local authority’s health and safety officer.

If you run a care home you can make safeguarding referral and make a Reg 37 report to CQC.

Insurance – are there any insurance implications? If you accept the changes will you no longer be complying with the standards required by your insurance provider? If so what will be the implications?

Dialogue – attempt to develop a dialogue between your organisation, CQC and the local authority. Local authorities are subject to regulation by CQC as well and will be held responsible for their actions.

Act fast – you do not have to accept the local authority’s decision.


Disclaimer

The Ridouts Legal Bulletin is not intended as a substitute for seeking specific advice or as a statement of the law. If after reading this you identify that you may have a legal problem, please contact us for tailored advice.