The decisions of public bodies are likely to come under increasing challenge at a time when resources are scarce but demand for services is rising. Decision-makers will need to ensure that decisions are taken with a clear understanding of the law, relevant guidance and polices, otherwise they may find themselves susceptible to challenge either by way of complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman or challenges in the High Court by way of judicial review.
We have experience advising our public sector clients on a range of matters including:
- Applications for judicial review against refusals to make provision
- Failing to consult with stakeholders prior to the implementation of a new policy/proposal
- Adult social care disputes, including the adequacy of personal budgets and assessment decisions
- Parental challenges in respect of a failure to provide educational provision for children out of school
- Parental challenges in respect of a failure to implement Statements of Special Educational Needs
- Parental challenges to the decisions of appeal panels (admissions/transport/exclusions)
- Advising on complaints raised by parents or members of the public with the Local Government Ombudsman
- Referrals to the Secretary of State for Education against the decisions of other local authorities where the decision which may have been taken is ‘unreasonable’
- Claims under the Human Rights Act, for example against decisions which are alleged to have infringed a pupil’s human rights
- The interpretation and application of statutory frameworks, for example the duties of local authorities under the Education Acts
- Disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act
We have particular experience in providing local authorities with training and guidance on how to improve the quality of decision making so as to reduce the risks of challenge.