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A case in the Supreme Court has led to a ruling which could mean better access to social care for disabled people and a clearer understanding of the care funding decision process.
The ruling, delivered by Lord Wilson, makes clear the need for local authorities to be transparent about how decisions on social care funding are arrived at.
The case being heard related to a 26-year old man, known as KM, who is severely disabled and in need of care worth around £157,000 a year. That figure was arrived at by an independent social worker, but Cambridgeshire council awarded KM an annual care figure of £85,000.
Challenging the decision, lawyers KM’s previously described the figure as "irrational" and “manifestly insufficient" to meet KM’s needs.
Although the Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously in favour of the council and rejected KM’s challenge, the call for authorities to expose the details of their decision-making process was celebrated by care charities.
Simon Foster, head of legal services at deaf and blind charity Sense, said: "This is a terribly important ruling. It will make a significant difference to the way people are assessed and the way services are provided."
Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, also welcomed the ruling. He said: "The fact that court recognised the assessment for social care should not be based on a 'computer says so' system is an important step forward.
"This sends a clear message to all local authorities that they have a duty of care to be transparent about how they assess and allocate funds to disabled people whether they live in Liverpool or Luton.
"The case highlights the complexity of the current social care system and the need for the government to stop delaying their reforms and put an end to the care crisis."