Taking liberties

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]October 15, 2018

By guest blogger NEIL?GRANT, Partner, Gordons Partnership

In its March 2017 report, the Law Commission described the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards as an “administrative and bureaucratic nightmare.” Tough words but ones that the sector would no doubt agree with. The Law Commission recommended a new streamlined framework called the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS).

Quicker than expected, in early July this year, the Government introduced a Bill before Parliament setting out the proposed LPS arrangements. The best guess is that the legislation will be passed in 2019 and introduced in 2020.

On the face of it, this is welcome news, but this much needed reform departs from the Law Commission proposals as far as care homes are concerned. Statutory responsibilities are to be placed on care home managers to organise assessments, and carry out wide-ranging consultation, in relation to planned new admissions where the care home arrangements may amount to a deprivation of liberty in advance of the deprivation taking effect. This is likely to lead to monumental delays in people being admitted to care homes, slowing down hospital discharges and impacting significantly on the revenue stream of care home providers.

The Government says the LPS will save local authorities around £200m per year, yet the Government’s Regulatory Impact Assessment says that the cost of the additional responsibilities to care homes will be nil! – quite extraordinary; brazen cost shunting with no regard to the impact on care home businesses. There was also minimal engagement with the sector about the new care home manager responsibilities. It came as a complete surprise to almost everyone.

Not all is lost. The Government underestimated the potential for a tsunami of opposition to the proposal. Care England and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group are in discussion with the Department of Health and Social Care about it. Will the civil servants listen? Initial signs are not at all encouraging.

Providers should get in touch with their local MPs to highlight this misguided reform. Equally, trade associations should be campaigning for this proposal to be abandoned, with the responsibilities carried out by local authorities as the Law Commission recommended.

It is not yet on the statute book. Now is the time to act.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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Date Published: October 15, 2018