KIRKLEES Council has done a U-turn over controversial cuts to adult social care funding.
But it’s come at a cost – £70,000 to fight off a judicial review taken by three Kirklees residents.
And there’s an untold cost of the public consultation and work done since Kirklees Council announced they were cutting funding for those with substantial needs earlier this year.
Kirklees Council was proposing to help people deemed to be in critical need – the highest of four categories – but take it away from those classed as substantial.
It was in the process of re-assessing 8,000 adults who relied on social care.
But Merran McRae, director for Wellbeing, yesterday told the Examiner that the U-turn came before a formal judicial review taken by three residents.
They also looked at a ruling against Birmingham City Council where a High Court judge branded social care for adults as “unlawful and cannot stand”.
Ms McRae said: “We had a challenge brought by three residents in Kirklees.
“In light of the challenge and looking at Birmingham, we agreed to settle it before it goes into a formal judicial review.
“The judge (in the Birmingham case) didn’t say it was unlawful, but there were questions over the processes. They had to demonstrate that they had shown consideration to the Disability Discrimination Act.
“We looked at the lessons of Birmingham and looked at our own processes and took legal advice – it was a mixture of those things which was a factor.”
Asked whether the council had done a U-turn, Ms McRae added: “It’s a very complex issue that all local authorities are dealing with at the moment.
“I think this does give us the opportunity to have a much larger debate.”
The council’s own consultation showed 92% opposition to the cuts.
Asked why the council didn’t listen to people sooner, Ms McRae added: “The government announced cuts were coming at fairly short notice... this gives us an opportunity to think longer about the next budget process.