Devon County Council appeals over unlawful care home fees ruling

Devon County Council has lodged an appeal against a court decision which found it had acted unlawfully when setting the fees paid to private care home providers.

Earlier this month, a court decided the council did not properly consider how its actions would impact on vulnerable residents, such as those with dementia.

The ruling came after a group of about 100 owners took legal action.

The council said it was to argue that the ruling was flawed.

Equality assessment

The council had set an increase of 6.6% for 2012-13, which it said was fair.

Care home owners argued council fees did not cover the extra staff needed to interact with dementia sufferers.

In a ruling made at the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre, a judge decided the council had failed to meet its public sector equality duty.

The council was ordered to pay a third of the complainants' costs, amounting to about £220,000.

The council said it was going back to court because its newly completed equality impact assessment said that fee levels were correctly banded to reflect the differing levels of need.

It said it "concluded that the current banding structure and fee levels... are fair and should remain unchanged".

It added that the increase offered was above inflation, so it expected care homes to be in a better position to maintain services.

A date has yet to be set for the appeal.

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