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By Dave
27/10/2010

Pathway plans and duties

In R(A) v Lambeth LBC [2010] EWHC 1652 (Admin) (Claim 1) and [2010] EWHC 2439 (Admin) (Claim 2), Kenneth Parker J considered first whether it was proper for a personal advisor to complete a ChIldren Act 1989 pathway plan, and, secondly, the degree of specificity required in such a plan.  A had a troubled upbringing, having been involved in gang warfare, which lead to him giving evidence against somebody who tried to kill him, leaving him at risk in certain areas of London.  He had been a looked after child and these claims concerned the attempts by Lambeth at getting a pathway plan right, attempts at which they singularly failed.  Claim 1 concerned a purpoted plan dated 15 June 2010 which was found to be unlawful; Claim 2 concerned a further purported plan dated 07 July 2010 which was again found to be unlawful.

In Claim 1, it was found that probably the pathway plan was such a plan and not a review of it.  It had become clear shortly before the hearing of the claim apparently that the plan had probably been completed by A’s personal advisor as the named social worker had, by that point, left Lambeth.  Lambeth argued that it was not a plan, but a review, and such a review could be completed by a personal advisor.  Parker J disagreed.  He found that it was most likely a plan and that, both in his view and on authority (R(J) v Caerphilly CBC [2005] EWHC 586 (Admin)), it was improper for such a plan to be written by the personal adviser who should remain separate from the process, albeit playing a key role in its conduct and management.  Even if it had been a review, though, Parker J said that he “had serious doubts whether it had been lawfully carried out, being the exclusive product of the personal adviser” (at [31]), although they “may legitimately take the initiative in relation to a review, and may play a very active role in such a review” (at [40]).

Lambeth then went away and produced the further pathway plan on which Parker J took written submissions in Claim 2.  A argued that at least as far as the plan purported to deal with finance and accommodation, it did not do so adequately.  Parker J agreed.  The plan simply set out the present financial position of A and his current accommodation needs and was insufficiently detailed as well as inadequately specified.  As regards accommodation, which is after all what we’re interested in, Parker J said:

It does not amount to a detailed operational plan dealing with the Claimant’s accommodation needs. It does not specify where it is considered that it would be safe for him to live given the difficult background to which I referred in the July judgement. It does not consider whether, for example, he can live in supported accommodation and whether this would be in the public or private sector. Again, therefore, it seems to me that the July document does not analyse with sufficient precision what the Claimant’s needs currently are and what they are likely to be as regards accommodation and how and by whom those needs will be dealt with. [7]

Lambeth had to go away and do it all again.  A got his costs but didn’t get them on an indemnity basis.

Well done, Ian Wise – Claim 1 was his point in the Caerphilly case, and he spotted it again.

Posted in: Benefits | Uncategorized

2 Comments

  1. David Turner

    Sirs. could you please tell me if a local authority has a legal duty to pass over a Pathway Plan when and at the time they are placing a 16/17 yr old in supported accommodation. If so please direct me to the relevant law/rule and any case law. Thank you.

    Reply

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