The High Court in Leeds is this week (13-14 May) hearing a judicial review challenge to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s decision to close a day care centre for adults with learning disabilities.
The claim is being brought by law firm Irwin Mitchell on behalf of a client known as AA, who has attended the Oaks Day Centre five days a week for the last eight years.
The closure of the centre, along with another centre and two respite facilities, is due to take place this month as part of a £4.2m savings package.
The claimant’s legal team will argue that Rotherham did not comply with the requirements for a lawful consultation during its 12-week consultation period.
Rotherham has reportedly suggested that traditional services failed to offer enough independence for adults with learning disabilities.
Faith Salih, Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Oaks Day Centre provides a vital public service for both those with learning difficulties that use the service and their families. Our client’s family and many other local people believe that the local authority is trying to impose a radical change in services for people with learning difficulties which will have the effect of reducing the choice of activities they can do and result in relationships being lost.
“If the day centre closes, it will have a massive impact on the life of AA, and other people using the service. People have told us they don’t believe that there is enough local provision and closing services will mean a reduction in quality of life for some of the most vulnerable people in the community. Our client’s family feel that there have been missed opportunities for partnership working which could enhance day services and enable them to stay open. We are pleased that the issues will be properly scrutinised in court.”