Thursday 15 June 2017

Challenging decisions to reduce social care in Scotland

In a judicial review permission hearing today (15 June 2017), Glasgow City Council (GCC) gave an undertaking to the court that they would not implement a decision to reduce the care of a severely disabled elderly lady residing in Glasgow South West.

The concession made before Lord Ericht by Anna Poole Q.C., counsel for GCC was with respect to a decision to reduce the provision of 24/7 care workers for a 74 year old lady with cerebral palsy by up to three hours a day. The petitioner was represented in court by Govan Law Centre's (GLC) Mike Dailly.

The Council had decided that the provision of a care worker would be replaced with "tele-care", a remote contacting system, notwithstanding medical evidence confirmed that the petitioner's health had deteriorated and her care needs had in fact increased.  Accordingly, with the undertaken given, the petition was dismissed with no expenses.  It is important to note that any challenge to the provision of social care will turn on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.

From 1st April 2017 the "Social Work Complaints Review Committee", established under section 5B of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, has been abolished.  This system still applies for pre-1 April 2017 complaints on a transitional basis.  More details of the new regime is available here:

Under the new system the first stage is to lodge a complaint to the local authority. They may simply decide the complaint on the papers, or agree to an investigation and then issue a decision.  If a service user remains dissatisfied they can complain to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO). The SPSO can now also consider complaints on professional judgments made by social workers.

This is a complex area of law, and if you live in the Southside or North East of Glasgow you can contact GLC for help, advice and representation where appropriate. Contact us on 0141 440 2503. Alternatively, if a case is within Scotland  and it raises an issue of wider strategic public interest and importance, we may be able to assist - please contact pilu@

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