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Vulnerable residents seek a judicial review after Brent Council switch their service providers

PUBLISHED: 12:21 13 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:39 13 June 2013

Brent Mencap are backing the residents' legal challenge

Brent Mencap are backing the residents' legal challenge

Archant

Brent Mencap backs residents’ claim in High Court

Vulnerable residents will seek legal action against Brent Council amid claims a vital support service has been cut without warning and with no review into the impact it could have.

The residents, who all have learning difficulties, were previously entitled to a care service offered in their homes by learning difficulty voluntary organisation Brent Mencap.

It was paid for by Brent Council – but cost cutting has forced the council to switch providers to a housing association.

Campaigners claim the hours of care offered will be reduced and fear for the quality of support.

Three former Mencap service users – Mary Archer, Charles Meehan and Michael Waterman – are to seek a judicial review into the changes and call for a full Equality Impact Assessment to be carried out.

Ann O’Neill, executive director of Brent Mencap, based in High Road, Willesden, said the changes were made despite no consultation with the affected residents.

She said: “Service users were not consulted on proposed changes and possible reductions in care. A full impact assessment needs to be carried out which addresses all the concerns.

“It [the new provider] says the hours of care are unchanged but it doesn’t take into account travel to work and holidays. These are all times when the company will be paying for them and we don’t believe the same level of support can be given to those who need it.”

A hearing to decide if the review can go ahead will be next Tuesday at the High Court in Central London.

Ms O’Neill added: “The problem in Brent will gradually become visible as people hit a crisis point after losing their support.”

A spokesman for Brent Council said: “Riverside Housing was chosen because they demonstrated they could deliver the service more efficiently and at a lower cost than the other organisations who submitted tenders.

“The council’s position is that the level of support provided to an individual is determined by their assessed needs, and any reduction to the level of support would only take place if there was a reduction in the assessed need.

“No changes to the support being received by users of this service have been made without a review of the individual’s support needs and their express consent.”

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