How to Challenge a Care Plan

Have you experienced problems with a care plan?

There may come a point where you need to challenge a care plan prepared by social services.
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Every care plan should be designed to support the eligible needs of the assessed person. The principle behind a care plan is that an individual’s eligible needs should be supported by an appropriate service.

Some local authorities have been criticised for allowing care plans to be restricted by the limits of the existing services the council has available.

What’s the way to challenge a care plan?

The methods used to challenge a care plan will largely depend on what is wrong with the plan. If the details of the care plan are incorrect or there has been a failure in the assessment process to identify the eligible needs of an individual then the most appropriate way of dealing with this is to seek a review of the plan and if that fails then to use the Council’s own complaints procedure.

Here are some reasons to challenge a care plan:

Problems With Support Services

Although a particular need may have been correctly identified, the level of the support services offered does not always meet the identified need properly. This could be because the scheme for allocating resources has resulted in a personal budget that is inadequate. It could be because a council has taken a policy decision to provide support at a particular level but that level fails to meet a key element of the person’s identified need.

If this type of problem can’t be resolved through the local authority’s normal complaints procedure it may be necessary to seek a review through the courts of the decision-making process that has led to the problem.

Failure to Monitor and Review Care Plans

Problems with a care plan should be picked up during reviews of care plans. Local authorities have an obligation to monitor the care services they contract out to private suppliers. If care plans are not reviewed regularly or there is inadequate monitoring of services the local authority can be held responsible. A number of councils have been strongly criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for failings relating to monitoring and review procedures. Complaints can be made both to the council concerned and the private sector supplier.

Identifying the Grounds for Complaint

It is not always as easy as it might appear to identify when to start making an official complaint. It’s important to understand the difference between eligible needs and non-eligible needs and the responsibilities local authorities have in terms of assessment and service provision. Families should take independent advice before lodging an official complaint to help them understand their rights and help them to get the outcome they need.

Top Tips to Challenge a Care Plan

  • Draw up your own preferred care plan and compare it with the existing care plan
  • Check out local authority responsibilities under the Care Act 2014
  • Ask for a review of your existing care plan as soon as you are aware of problems


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