September 21st, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

The Information Commissioner has issued Guidance on data protection consideration when sharing personal information for childcare purposes.  The theme is that data protection law permits information sharing in a fair and proportionate way when that is required (1) in order to identify children at risk of harm and (2) safeguard them from harm. Indeed appropriate information sharing is central to safeguarding children from harm effectively and promoting their wellbeing. Read more »



June 19th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

Part 1 of the Care Act 2014 relates to Care and Support. Section 1 sets out general responsibilities of local authorities. Sections 14-17 inc are concerned with charging and assessing financial resources. Section 14 gives authorities a power to charge. It provides for Regulations. They are the Care and Support ( Charging and Assessment of Resources ) Regulations 2014, S.I. 2014/2672. The Regulations are supplemented by Statutory Guidance. DRE is excluded from the assessment. In RW v WINDSOR & MAIDENHEAD RBC ( 2023 ) EWHC 1449 ( Admin ) the Court rules that group activities forming part of a vulnerable adult’s care plan, namely attending a local social and life skills support group, were DRE. The costs were (1) disability – related, (2) necessarily and reasonably incurred and proportionate, and (3) for care and support.


Age assessment guidance

January 18th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

In R (MA) v SSHD (2022) EWCA Civ 1663 the Court of Appeal holds that the SSHD’s Guidance relating to short-form age assessments conducted in a Kent intake unit for asylum seekers was lawful. The Guidance could be operated consistently with the Merton requirements for age assessments.

Guidance can be set aside only if it permits or encourages unlawful conduct. Permitting means something akin to sanctioning or positively approving, not merely that an action is not forbidden. The question is whether a policy authorised or approved unlawful conduct.

A public authority promulgating a policy is not required to include a detailed and comprehensive statement of the law in the area.


Whether discrimination in charging

January 12th, 2023 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

In McCue’s Guardian v Glasgow City Council ((2023) UKSC 1 the Supreme Court held that the Council, in assessing the charge to be levied on a person in receipt of community services had not discriminated against the person by reason of his disability by refusing to allow deduction of certain items of expenditure, which he classed as disability related expenditure, when assessing his available means. The Supreme Court addressed unfavourable treatment, Section 15 of the Equality Act 2010, and Section 20 of  the Equality Act, reasonable adjustments. The appeal was concerned with the effect of the Equality Act in relation to the provision of community case services to disabled persons and the providing local authority’s entitlement to charge for those services. Lord Sales considered Section 15 at paras 54-63 inc and Section 20 at paras 64-76 inc.


Age Assessments

July 25th, 2022 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

In every case, when deciding whether an age assessment has been conducted consistent with the requirement of fairness, there is no substitute for testing the matter against the basic principle, by reference to (1) the circumstances of the case under consideration, and (2) whether (a)  the decision rested on reasonable investigation and (b) the investigation was undertaken fairly. So emphasized Swift J in HAM v Brent LBC (2022) EWHC 1924 ( Admin ). He added that the investigation requirement is likely to focus on whether any interview with the person was conducted to permit him  (i) properly  to contribute, and (ii) properly to respond to matters going to his credibility which the local authority considers weigh against his contention to be a child.


Looked After Children

March 18th, 2022 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

On unregulated accommodation for “looked after” children under 16, and Regulation 27A of the Care Planning and Place Review (England) (Amendment) Regs 2021, S.I.2021/161, and an unsuccessful challenge in relation to irrationality, the PSED and consultation, see R (Article 39) v SoS (2022) EWHC 589 (Admin).


Disabled Adults

December 22nd, 2021 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

Section 1 of the Care Act 2014 (the Act) creates a general duty for local authorities to promote individual well-being (not defined in the Act) when exercising a function under Part 1 of the Act. Section 9 creates a duty to assess an adult’s needs for “care and Support”. . . Section 13 imposes a duty to determine whether any assessed needs meet the relevant eligibility criteria under Regulations. Section 18 imposes a duty to meet the needs of disabled adults for both “care” and “support”. Section 19 confers a power to meet an individual’s needs for “care and support” in circumstances where the Section 18 duty does not arise. By Sections 24 & 25 a Care and Support Plan must be prepared.

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Care Workers

October 25th, 2021 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

The Court of Appeal in SoS for Justice v A Local Authority (2021) EWCA Civ 1527 addresses the question whether care workers are in peril of committing a criminal offence under Section 39 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (care workers: causing or inciting sexual activity) when they make the practical arrangements for a 27 year old man to visit a sex worker in circumstances where he has capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to consent to sexual relations and to decide to have contact with a sex worker but not make the arrangements himself. The answer given is that the care workers risk committing the offence.

The Court of Appeal also says that it’s interpretation of Section 39 does not infringe the ECHR. The Court of Protection cannot endorse an act that would be unlawful. The motive of the care workers is irrelevant.

The situation is entirely different from situations such as a care worker arranging private time for a long married couple when it is known that this will likely include sexual activity.



September 13th, 2021 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

Following the decision of the Supreme Court in Re T (2021) UKSC 35, the High Court in Tameside MBC v AM (2021) EWHC 2472 ( Fam) holds that, notwithstanding the subsequent amendment of the Care Placement etc Regulations , it is open to the Court under its inherent jurisdiction to authorise the deprivation of liberty of a child in a placement that the amended Regulations prohibited. The Judge addresses the protective inherent jurisdiction generally and the importance of anticipating and preventing harm from para 47. The inherent jurisdiction may be used notwithstanding the existence of a statutory
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Age Assessments

August 9th, 2021 by James Goudie KC in Social Care

On the fair conduct of age assessment processes and the weight to be attributed to dental and height evidence, see R (Nanton) v Waltham Forest LBC (2021) EWHC 2241 (Admin).