Deprivation of Liberty safeguards to cost £172 million

Family Law|September 1st 2015

Increased demand for deprivation of liberty safeguard assessments could cost local authorities £172 million a year, the Local Government Association (LGA) has claimed.

In a recent statement, the organisation, which represents local councils, highlighted the lasting consequences of the so-called Cheshire West ruling by the Supreme Court. This overturned an earlier ruling by Sir James Munby on the restrictive living conditions imposed on three people with mental disabilities by their carers. These had a constituted a ‘deprivation of liberty’ the Justices ruled. As a result, a greater number of restrictive living conditions are now referred to the courts for authorisation, as required by the Mental Capacity Act.

The cost of these additional authorisations will contribute to the overall £10 billion increase in costs which local councils face by 2020, the LGA claimed, along with a hefty £834 million bill for paying a living wage to council staff and care workers over the age of 25. These and other new policies will cost authorities £6.3 billion over the next five years, the Association claims, with an extra £3.6 billion required to continue providing the current level of service.

LGA chair Gary Porter said:

“Leaving councils to pick up the bill for new national policies while being handed further spending reductions cannot be an option. If our public services are to survive the next five years, councils need fairer funding and the freedom to pay for them.”

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