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Supreme Court overturns key Court of Appeal decision on ordinary residence 

The Supreme Court has rejected a Court of Appeal ruling on who has financial responsibility for the care of an adult with physical and learning disabilities, instead ruling that the local authority initially responsible for meeting his needs as a child should be responsible for his care after the age of 18.

The ruling was made despite the subject, PH, having been placed in foster care outside the authority’s area from the age of five, having lived out-county all of his adult life and his natural parents having also moved away from the local authority area of his birth.

PH has physical and learning disabilities and there is no dispute that he is entitled to receive care costing around £80,000 per annum. He was born in Wiltshire in 1986, but was placed by Wiltshire County Council with foster parents in the South Gloucestershire Council area from 1991. Since he was 17, PH has lived in two care homes in Somerset. His natural parents moved to Cornwall from Wiltshire after his foster placement was made and PH regularly visited them there for holidays.

The dispute over who should pay for his care was initially referred by the councils concerned – Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset and South Gloucestershire - to the Health Secretary to determine “the proper approach to the determination of a person's 'ordinary residence' within the meaning, and for the purposes, of Part III of the National Assistance Act 1948, where that person lacks capacity to decide where to live.”

Following reports in England that the NHS is to stop 'over-medicating' people with learning disabilities, questions are being raised if the same thing is happening in Scotland.   

NHS England has pledged to take urgent action after reports highlighted that as many as 1 in 6 people are being ‘over-medicated’ by healthcare professionals, and that up to 35,000 adults with a learning disability are being prescribed an antipsychotic, an antidepressant or both without appropriate clinical justification.   That would imply that possibly about 3,000 people with learning disabilities might be affected if a similar system was in place here.  

But so far we cannot find out because proper records of the same sort that exist in England do not yet exist in Scotland.  

Read the full report here

Read the Easy Read version here

guest post from Carolan Connolly

CARERS CENTRES IN GLASGOW OUT TO TENDER

Why are carers always the last to know about changes to services that affect them directly.
Our lives are already challenged in GLASGOW due to the forced Personalisation and SDS agenda affecting the lives of our loved ones which seen many of us seeking guidance and support through our local Carers Centres.
NOW we learn they are all out for tender!………… WELL ACTUALLY ONLY A FEW CARERS KNOW,  THE MANY THOUSANDS WHO USE THESE SERVICES HAVE NOT BEEN TOLD. I myself found out by chance  and in accordance to the timeline thousands will not have their views considered. 
The timeline and focus:
*Focus Groups 11th 13th 14th May
*Issues addressed by late August early September.
*The winning service/s will be in position by 1st October.
* The winning tender will be measured on 60% Quality and 40% Budget.

For many carers the centres offer them a life line and lets face it for us change is never good, it usually means cuts and a disservice.

So from now to October unpaid carers all over Glasgow will worry, be fearful and possibly stress over the unknown. All of the things usually alleviated by those very services now out for tender.

Readers will remember the article in our last newsletter about the proposed 20 bed care home in Glasgow. 

Glasgow City Council has decided not to proceed with its controversial plan to commission a new 20 bed care home for adults with learning disabilities. 

The tender process finished before Christmas and in early January senior council staff cited "technical issues out of our control" as reason for not proceeding.  We are delighted that wiser heads at the councils have prevailed and decided not to go ahead with this proposal. 

Unnamed sources at the council denied that the concerns and objections raised the this policy has any effect saying “If you think your views changed any policy you couldn’t be more wrong.   But the source went on to make a comment that reflects the unease inside the council at some of its own policies—”but keep up the good fight we need campaigners like you.”

While this is a great victory, the council is still able to place individuals in care homes for older people that are much larger than the rejected 20 bed unit. 

 

 

A new petition is shortly to be heard in the Scottish Parliament calling for more help in providing a safe environment for some of the  most vulnerable children in Scotland.  The current use of physical interventions, physical restraint and seclusion in Scottish schools is poorly understood and inconsistent leading to many children experiencing what may be called at best, institutional child abuse or at worst, criminal assault. 

A number of families from Dundee are promoting this due to their experiences at the local Kingspark school.  One boy at the age of 11 was forced by fourpublished with permission adult members of staff to the ground, face down in a prone restraint, that left him badly bruised and traumatised for reasons that have never been properly explained (see picture).   Other families found their own children being subject to other forms of restraint and bruising. 

The parliament is being asked to recognise this experience as part of a much wider failure of public policy in Scotland.  

There is no national guidance for the management of behaviour for children with special needs in Scottish schools.  Such guidance exists for children in residential care – Holding Safely – but this is not designed for schools. 

The petition wants guidance for the protection of children who often lack language skills, can be inconsistent in their recall of events and are not believed when they speak up.  If there is one thing that Winterbourne has shown, it is that sometimes the places meant to protect the most vulnerable can be the most dangerous.  

The current position is that it is up to each local authority to develop its own policy on behavioural management and physical intervention.  The result of this lack of guidance is that schools do not understand how to manage the behaviour of the pupils who attend, some who communicate through behaviour, others whose behaviour marks underlying distress.  Staff are left poorly supported and unable to properly support their pupils.  And children are left damaged!

It is our belief that such National guidance should be founded on the following principles.

· Staff should always aim to reinforce positive behaviour

· Staff should aim to defuse, deflect and de-escalate

· Staff should minimise the use of Physical Intervention

· Staff should minimise the use of seclusion

The petition calls for effective external inspection.    The Care Inspectorate have no current role in inspecting day schools which produce significant amounts of social care such as special schools.  HMIE is concerned with the inspection of educational standards.  There should be a clear role for independent inspection of the care regimes in schools.