Social care the winner in landmark High Court ruling

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The High Court has ruled that the Isle of Wight Council's plans to restrict adult social care support were unlawful, setting a precedent for provision across England and Wales.

Mark Milton, the National Autistic Society's Chief Operating Officer, said the ruling has prevented potentially devastating social care cuts. "These could have severely impaired the quality of life for many of the island's most vulnerable people who desperately need support."

Isle of Wight Council originally intended to reduce provision for adult social care support only to those whose needs were judged "critical" and "substantial" and those "at the greatest risk" of being unable to live safely in their homes, and used an extremely restrictive method of deciding who fell in these categories. The Court held that these decisions did not follow the national guidelines and also that they failed to investigate sufficiently the impact the change would have on vulnerable people in their care particularly disabled people, as required by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The National Autistic Society, which set out the implications of the planned cuts for IoW residents with autism, has called on other local authorities to recognise the ruling and fulfil statutory obligations for adult social care.

Mr Milton said: "Cutting vital services to satisfy budgetary targets is not a viable solution and can actually create greater financial pressures in the long run."

Simpson Millar, noted the results of research undertaken by the National Audit Office in 2009. "It discovered that cutting funds for supporting autism sufferers is shortsighted and uneconomic. If adults with the condition were identified and properly helped, the government could save millions in social care bills every year."


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