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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

15 APR 2015

R (on the application of T) v Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council [2015] EWHC 369 (Admin); (2015) PLLR 022

R (on the application of T) v Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council [2015] EWHC 369 (Admin); (2015) PLLR 022
Community Care - Consultation - Information provided during consultation – Inclusion of alternative proposals

A local authority held a public consultation on its proposal to reduce it adult social care budget. In the course of consultation, the local authority did not include or provide information about the alternative proposals it had considered prior to consultation. That decision was reviewed on the basis information about alternative proposals ought to have been included as part of the consultation process. The claim was dismissed. On the facts of the case, fairness did not impose a demand that realistic alternative proposals must form part of the consultation process.

5 February 2015

Administrative Court

Mrs Justice Stewart
1. The claimant was a disabled man. The local authority had undertaken a consultation process relating to cuts to be made to its adult social care budget. The claimant sought review of the consultation process.
2. The claimant’s specific complaint was that the local authority did not provide the necessary information on the alternatives to their proposed budget cuts, which included the possibility of increasing council tax and using money from the authority’s reserves. Those alternatives would have seen less of a cut in the adult social care budget.

THE ISSUE:
3. The question before the court was whether, at common law, the local authority was under a duty to provide information about alternative proposals in the course of the consultation process.

DETERMINATION:
4. The claim was dismissed.
5. It was held that, on the facts of the case, fairness did not impose a demand that realistic alternative proposals must form part of the consultation process. The local authority was under no statutory requirement to involve the public in the consultation, although that was a clear intention of the consultation. Moreover, prior to entering consultation with the public, the local authority had taken care to consider various options and even published some of the reasoning for rejecting some alternatives to the proposal they carried forward to consultation. It was also doubtful whether the inclusion of alternative proposals would have any real effect on the consultation process.

Key paragraphs
[6]-[27] – Background facts outlined in detail.
[35]-[36] – Analysis of decision in R (Moseley) v London Borough of Haringey [2014] UKSC 56.
[37] – Authority allowed to present its preferred option.
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