Legal action threat to West Sussex care cuts

People living in West Sussex who have been told by a local authority they no longer qualify for social care are considering taking legal action.

Campaigners said they would seek a judicial review into the county council’s decision to stop providing care to adults with moderate needs.

The Conservative-controlled council plans to focus on those with substantial and critical needs.

It said more emphasis was being placed on preventative measures.

About 4,500 residents receive support for moderate levels of social care. The decision will see West Sussex County Council raise the eligibility threshold from 1 April.
‘Removing the glue’

In response, care providers and those affected have formed the Don’t Cut Us Out campaign.

They argue the decision was unlawful because the consultation was flawed and the changes will not save money over the long-term.

Barry Pickthall, a spokesman for the campaign, said: “Our wish has always been to work with WSCC, not against it, nor waste unnecessary time, energy and money making a legal challenge.

“By cutting money to the vulnerable and the charities that support them, WSCC is removing the glue that holds the third sector and its volunteer network together.”

The group has instructed the London law firm Bindmans to investigate the merits of a judicial review.

WSCC said the changes would bring the local authority in line with 75% of councils in England.

The council said the majority also had some substantial or critical need which would not be affected.

In a statement, a spokesman said the consultation had been a “valuable exercise” that met legal requirements.

He said: “Nobody will be suddenly left to fend for themselves.

“Someone who no longer meets the eligibility criteria will be supported to make alternative arrangements.”