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Coronavirus Act 2020 Community Care Resources

COVID-19 Webinars prepared in collaboration with the Dorset Children’s Foundation

In the UK, we have one of the most advanced education, health and social care systems in the world. It is no secret, however, that many NHS bodies and Local Authorities are struggling to meet the ever-increasing demand for community care services because of successive budget cuts.

The Coronavirus pandemic is sadly only going to make it even harder to access the vital services many depend upon to meet their care needs. In response to COVID-19, Parliament passed the Coronavirus Act 2020. Subsequent Regulations and Guidance have given effect to the provisions of the new legislation, which is set to profoundly change access to education, health and social care during the emergency period.

Headline changes include but are not limited to:

  • A simplified Hospital Discharge procedure whereby the focus of Discharge to Assess is on discharging patients deemed medically safe for discharge from Hospital the same day.
  • Any care package provided to facilitate a speedy discharge from Hospital is to be funded by the NHS. This means it should be provided on a non-means tested basis albeit there is the power to retrospectively charge where a subsequent assessment determines a person is not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, and does not satisfy the means testing rules for Local Authority funded social care support.
  • An alteration to Local Authorities’ statutory duties under the Care Act 2014. These changes include to duty to: assess care & support needs, meet assessed care needs, to prepare a care and support plan and in respect of transition. The alterations apply if it is no longer ‘reasonably practicable’ for a Local Authority to comply with its Care Act 2014 duties and it has taken the decision to operate under so-called ‘easement’ provisions once the criteria or threshold has been met.

If business as usual cannot continue, and a Local Authority has taken the necessary steps to activate the easements, these duties are suspended and instead replaced with a power unless failing to comply with the duty would result in a breach of a person’s human rights.

  • A suspension on Clinical Commissioning Groups duties to carry out NHS Continuing Healthcare eligibility assessments and to have regard to the National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare in accordance with the NHS Act 2006 and associated Regulations.
  • The timeframes for responding to NHS Continuing Healthcare appeals (either a Local Resolution request or appeal to NHS England to request an Independent Review Panel is convened) are relaxed, meaning it is likely to take longer for any challenge to be considered.
  • Local Authorities absolute duty to secure special educational provision specified in Section F a child or young person’s EHCP, to meet a child or young person’s Section B special educational needs has been re-instated. No further ‘Modification Notice’ has been issued downgrading the absolute duty to one of ‘reasonable endeavours’ and so from 1 August 2020 Local Authorities must comply. Modifications to timings still remain in place.

The changes to special educational needs provision are now effective, following the notice issued by the Secretary of State which resulted in these changes becoming effective (i.e. legally binding) with effect from 1 May 2020.

We await an indication as to whether the modifications to timings are likely to be extended beyond 25 September 2020, along with further detail regarding the move from national to local alterations to facilitate responses to outbreaks locally as envisaged by recently updated guidance.

For more information about how to access special educational needs provision, health and social care, including updated resources which explain the implications of the Coronavirus Act 2020, please click on the links to our dedicated pages in the side bar on the right hand side of this page.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Community Care specialists, for a free, no obligation consultation today.

How can a community care case be funded?

There are a variety of funding options for community care cases. These include:

  • A retainer on a time-spent or hourly rate basis. This means we provide an estimate of the likely cost of dealing with an issue and you pay for the time-spent on the case, charged at the hourly rate of the responsible lawyer(s).
  • A retainer on a time-spent or hourly rate basis with deferred payment terms. In the case of a client who has a personal injury or clinical negligence claim, an agreement to recover the costs incurred on a time-spent basis through the compensation claim may be available.
  • A retainer on a fixed fee basis. This means our community care solicitors agree a fixed fee at the outset to address your instructions.
  • CrowdJustice. In appropriate cases, we may recommend exploring the possibility of using CrowdJustice, an online platform for crowdfunding legal fees to assist with the costs of legal advice.
  • No win, no fee agreements are available for some cases. In a case where it is appropriate to consider issuing Judicial Review proceedings, we may require you to take out a policy of insurance to protect you from the risk of adverse costs liability.
  • Contingency fee agreements. This means we agree to deduct our basic charges and VAT as a % of any monies recovered in the event of a successful outcome. You remain liable for the cost of any disbursements throughout the claim.
  • Legal expenses insurance. Often this is included in home insurance policies and it may be used to pay for legal costs.

Our community care solicitors will provide clear advice on the potential funding options available as part of the initial, free no obligation consultation.

How does funding work if I am a deputy or attorney?

It is permissible in your role as someone’s attorney or deputy to pay for specialist community care legal advice and assistance out of that person’s funds because you have a duty to act in their best interests. It is clearly in their best interests to ensure that appropriate health and social care provision is investigated and secured. This is particularly important if they may be eligible for non-means tested NHS provision, which helps to maximise their assets and income.

Why should I choose Lester Aldridge for my community care case?

  • Proven track record of successful outcomes for community care clients.
  • Highly responsive, accessible and personalised client service.
  • We offer a range of funding options that are tailored towards the circumstances of the case.
  • Our holistic approach to identifying all of a client’s needs means that we deliver advice and assistance which is tailored towards maximising the use of statutory entitlements to ensure needs are met.
  • Access to a carefully selected pool of expert barristers, independent social workers, capacity assessors, and clinicians to help support resolving community care issues.
  • Supported by specialist injury lawyers who can take forward investigating a personal injury or medical negligence claim when a disability, illness or injury arises from an accident or negligent failure.

Professional Memberships

Connections & Organisations

The Community Care team works closely with the following organisations:

Community Care & SEN

Your Key Contacts


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