News article published on: 20th June 2013
On Wednesday 13th March 2013 over 60 indviduals from across the community care sector gathered at the British Library for a panel discussion and debate, hosted by Osbornes solicitors entitled ‘Challenging times: Supporting vulnerable people in time of austerity’.
The audience was made up of individuals from charitable organisations, housing trusts, law centres, childrens guardians, barristers and solicitors.
The keynote presentation was delivered by Ian Wise QC from Doughty Street Chambers, who spoke about the role of the courts in protecting the rights of vulnerable people and the powers and duties imposed on public bodies and local authorities by Parliament and common law. Ian highlighted the specific social care duties towards children and adults, as framed by various Acts as well as providing a case study where a local authority was challenged after deciding to only provide for the critical needs of four disabled adults.
Also on the panel was Sue Kent, Professional Officer at the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), who spoke about the findings from the BASW ‘state of social services’ survey which was conducted in 2012. Of notable interest was that the survey highlighted that 88% of those sureyed believed that lives could be put at risk by cuts to services and that 46% of social workers stated that they are afraid to speak out about specific concerns for fear of repercussions.
Steve Liddicott, Interim Service Head, Children’s Social Care, Tower Hamletsalso answered questions on how the cuts would affect his department and how local authorities will go about ensuring that the services and duties to vulnerable members of the community would still be met.
Chairing and speaking on the panel was associate solicitors at Osbornes Safiye Connor who was able to provide all in attendance with a comprehensive round up of the welfare benefit and legal aid changes taking effect in April 2013 and how this would have an effect on the clients seeking the assistance of a community care solicitior.
“Social services have been affected by the second year of a budget squeeze that will see an overal cut of 27% in central government funding to local authorities by 2015. The aim of this event was to get together in one room all those working with and for vulnerable people and discuss how we as professionals can make sure that the services and support these members of our community are sustained. To have had over 60 people attend such an important debate was a real sign that this is a concern and issue which requires more attention and one which we will no doubt hear and read more about in the coming months”
To download the handouts from this event please click here.
For more information about what was discussed at this debate or if you would like to contact one of our solicitors for advice on a community care andhousing issue you can contact our team by: