Court Ruling Impacts On Duty Of Care

A recent court ruling has set a precedent for the duty of care by local authorities to vulnerable adults in the community.

The London borough of Hounslow was fined £97,000 for failing to protect a couple with learning difficulties who were repeatedly assaulted by a gang of youths.

According to the No Secrets guide, published by the Department of Health, it is social services’ responsibility to lead adult protection by setting up multi-agency committees to investigate allegations of abuse, but the guidance has no legislative power.

However the Hounslow case may add to building pressure to give the No Secrets guidance legislative power and force local authorities to take on a duty of care for vulnerable adults.

The No Secrets guidance is already undergoing review and the Law Commission recently announced plans to review adult social care law.

According to Community Care, the Hounslow case has serious implications for local authorities’ multi-disciplinary social care teams.