Devon County Council ('DCC') have recently closed a controversial tendering process to contract out for a company to review the care packages provided to the disabled and vulnerable members of our community across Devon in order to identify potential financial savings.

The Council is offering a 24-month contract with the option of extending for two further 12-month periods. The aim of the contract is to 'conduct 400 priority focused Medium to High Cost Case reviews in order to realise substantial net cost savings to DCC with the first 5 months'.

The budget for the first 5 months is £160,000 which comes to £400 per review, with the possibility of further reviews after that first 5-month period. It is hoped that the anticipated savings made will exceed the outlay of £160,000.

Questions are being raised as to the legality of such a process and, in particular, whether the individuals whose cases are being reviewed will have any say in the disclosure of private and confidential information to a third party. Not only will personal information be passed on to a private company, but that company may have to retain and store that information. In addition, there seems to be no clear provision for the individual to be properly involved in the process or be appropriately supported or have any opportunity to challenge the private company's finding other than by pursing a complaint, which is often a lengthy process.

We would urge anyone effected by this process to take legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Conroys Solicitors LLP specialises in Community Care law and will be happy to advise on the issues raised in this blog.