Our office remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Community Care

Home / Practice Areas & Services / Community Care

What is community care law?

The term community care is used to describe services provided by social services (Local Authorities) and the NHS to help adults and children with health, education and social care needs, depending on their individual circumstances. It also covers services provided by the NHS through Continuing Health Care.

This includes help with care at home, respite care, adaptations to your home, residential care, travel assistance, and access to the community.

It can sometimes be a difficult process for individuals to navigate the system to obtain the help they need.

The law in community care is used to challenge decisions made by local authorities, social services, and NHS trusts where they fail to provide a service or care. Complaints can be made in a number of ways, including internal complaints procedures, appeals and judicial review.

The common breaches of law include removal or reductions in care packages, delays or refusals in assessments, and incorrect or unfair charges for necessary services.

How we can help

The expert team at the Disability Law Service has experience providing community care legal advice and representation to disabled people, their carers and their family members. We can advise on all areas of community care law including:

Please remember that community care not only involves care that is provided by Local Authorities, but also care provided by the NHS through Continuing Health Care. Some of the types of problems that we can provide assistance or advice on are available in our case examples page.

What happens next?

We can provide advice over the phone or in writing. If your particular circumstances warrant further advice or assistance, then we may be able to formally take a case on under the Legal Aid Agency’s Legal Help scheme.

In some circumstances, it may be necessary to take a case to court – e.g. in order to challenge a Local Authority’s failure to provide services. We have experience in the judicial review procedure and we have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency to obtain Legal Aid funding (subject to merits and financial eligibility) which can cover the cost of proceedings in the High Court.

As a legal charity we are currently only able to provide representation for cases in London, but we can provide free advice across England and Wales. If you would like representation, please see the following page: http://www.dls.org.uk/representation.

In order for us to take on a case under the Legal Help scheme, you must be financially eligible for Legal Help.

Under the Legal Help scheme, we are able to give general advice, correspond with third parties, assist in making complaints to Local Authorities and/or CCGs, assist with complaints to the Local Government and/or Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen, and access information.

Our success stories

Jane’s story

Jane was born with numerous learning and speech difficulties. Near the end of her stay at a residential school, Jane’s parents began to plan her transition from college to a supported living environment. The Local Authority failed to support Jane and her parents contacted us for help and advice.

Amy’s story

Amy was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. She lived in a cramped two-bedroom flat with her family, which did not allow for enough space for her daily needs. Her parents contacted us to help them challenge their Local Authority and to secure a larger property to meet Amy’s needs and store her medical equipment.

Stephanie’s story

Stephanie has down syndrome, autism and learning disabilities. Her mother, Rosie has a condition which causes her severe pain in her ankles. Stephanie was only receiving one hour of support so her parents contacted us to request an immediate re-assessment of Stephanie’s needs, as well as a parent carers’ assessment for Rosie.