Changes by the Isle of Wight Council in their eligibility for adult social care have been reversed after a successful legal challenge. The policy change in February, now ruled illegal, was that only vulnerable adults assessed as critical or at risk of becoming critical would qualify for care. The previous policy was of meeting adult social care needs as long as they were "critical" or "substantial".
Often these legal challenges are over procedure rather than the substance of the policy – was the consultation carried out in the right way? Was there an equalities impact assessment? Etc. I think that was the basis of the challenge to Birmingham's adult social care cuts.
But the judgement against the Isle of Wight is not just over process (although there was a lot about that) but also the policy itself.
Lawyer Alex Rook, representing the families of two autistic men who mounted the challenge, said:
"If a council seeks to make cuts to its budget for adult social care, it cannot do so by only meeting certain needs designed to keep someone safe, but neglecting their overall quality of life."
Isle of Wight Council said:
"We will now need to spend time reflecting on the implications for both service users and the wider council budget before deciding on our next course of action.
"Throughout this process we tried to ensure that the methods used to consult, and the content of that consultation, would be understood by residents."
There will be implications for other councils. But I would hope they would be looking for other ways to save money (including savings within their adult social care budget) than by cutting the services to highly vulnerable residents.