Committee (6th Day)

Part of Care Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 16th July 2013.

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Photo of Baroness Browning Baroness Browning Conservative 5:45 pm, 16th July 2013

As far as the eligibility criteria are concerned there is another indicator, which I have not heard mentioned in this debate, and that is the number of people who challenge their local authority through the courts. Currently—from my own experience of case work, particularly with those on the autistic spectrum and with learning disabilities—many local authorities, when challenged legally on this, will settle before it goes to court. It is difficult to quantify what that number is, and I do not know whether what I am asking my noble friend is practical. However, in monitoring the success of whether the eligibility threshold is correct, particularly for those with low to medium needs, would the Government be prepared to use the number of applications for legal challenge and, if possible, of those who settle out of court before it goes to court? That is a very clear indication of where local authorities refuse because the current eligibility criteria have not been properly constructed. When challenged, they usually pay up pretty quickly.