Crippen hears from the Disability News Service that Local Authorities have started to reduce services to disabled people

It’s started … Eight local authorities in England have become the first to take advantage of emergency legislation that allows them to reduce their duties under the Care Act (See my earlier Blog in Disability Arts Online).

Reporting in the Disability News Service (DNS), one of the councils – Solihull – has become the first to admit that it is cutting the packages of some service-users as a result of pressures imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic.

The emergency powers were introduced as part of the government’s Coronavirus Bill, and mean councils – if they need to take advantage of the “easements” – no longer have to carry out detailed assessments of disabled people’s care and support needs, and no longer have a legal duty to meet all eligible care and support needs.

Four of the other local authorities – Warwickshire County Council, Middlesbrough Council, Staffordshire County Council and Birmingham City Council – have made changes to how they approach assessments, support plans and annual reviews.

The identities of three other councils that are taking advantage of the easements – Derbyshire County Council, Sunderland City Council and Coventry City Council – have since emerged.

Earlier this month, Disability News Service (DNS) reported that Warwickshire County Council had apparently started taking advantage of the new powers even before they became law on 31 March.

Evidence seen by DNS suggested that the council took a decision to halt all the “usual work” being carried out by its social workers nearly a week before the measures took legal effect.

Business as usual then eh?!

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

A group of disabled people representing differing ethnicities and impairments are confronting a white male in a suit. Behind him is a large sign identifying him as belong to the local government. There is also a blue wheelchair symbol with a red cross through it. The man is also holding a document that reads ‘Coronavirus Bill’. He is saying to the disabled people: “So we’ve had no choice but to put you all in the ‘pending’ file!”

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