In 2021 we launched an inquiry into how older and disabled adults and unpaid carers can challenge local council decisions about social care and support in England and Wales.
Read the report
What this covers
We wanted to understand people’s experiences of challenging, or trying to challenge, local council decisions about adult social care or support.
We wanted to know whether:
- the existing ways of challenging decisions are effective and accessible
- people are given enough information about their rights to care and support, and how they can challenge decisions
- people can access high quality advocacy support to help them challenge decisions
- local councils and other bodies learn from challenges to improve decision-making in future
- there are effective systems in place to check that decisions are made well the first time round
We gathered evidence from people who have challenged, or wanted to challenge, decisions made about social care or support.
We surveyed 153 local authorities.
We heard from 332 adults who access social care, and their carers and representatives.
We interviewed 41 people who are using or seeking social care, and their carers.
We also heard from people who worked in social care professionally; for example:
- advocacy providers
- older and disabled people’s organisations
- statutory bodies
- professional associations, and
- legal experts
We looked at research and policy papers on this subject. We also reviewed complaints reports from some local authorities to see what was learnt from complaints that were made.
We have published reports documenting the survey and in-depth interviews:
Why we are involved
All decisions made by local councils about adult social care and support should comply with equality and human rights standards and with social care laws in England and Wales. There is a duty to promote wellbeing and take into account the views and wishes of the person concerned.
These decisions have a serious impact on the equal participation and rights of many disabled and older adults, as well as unpaid carers. Such decisions can affect whether they:
- have choice, control and dignity in their day-to-day lives
- can maintain relationships
- can live independently and participate in their communities
It is important that people can easily challenge a decision if they feel it leaves them without the right care or support. It is also important that there are ways to check that decisions are being made well the first time.
The social care system is under pressure and COVID-19 has made many of the existing problems worse.
It has led to numerous reports of reduced care packages and people’s needs not being met. With important decisions being made in a system under pressure, it is all the more vital that there are effective ways for people to challenge decisions that may be wrong, and to check that good decisions are being made the first time round.
Find out more about the types of decisions we looked at and the questions we explored by reading the terms of reference for the inquiry.
Watch the BSL introduction to this inquiry [YouTube].
Help and advice
For information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues, you can contact one of the organisations below.
- the Equality Advisory and Support Service is aimed at individuals who need information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights issues and the applicable law
- Citizens Advice England
- Citizens Advice Wales
- Legal aid: Find out about legal aid on GOV.UK
- Mind helplines provide mental health information and support by phone and email. This includes support on coronavirus and legal rights
Last updated: 28 Mar 2023