Civil society response to Bristol City Council’s draft disability policy

Oliver Lewis and Alice Irving have worked on a pro bono basis to draft a submission by Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living (BRIL) in response to Bristol City Council’s consultation on its draft Fair and Affordable Care Policy. 

The draft policy says that where a social care package for an adult living in their own home “would substantially exceed the affordability of residential care”, the Council would, in the future, only fund a placement in a care home, except in “rare” cases. If adopted, the draft policy would  place adults with significant care needs in the invidious position of either having to pay money to top up the funding they receive from the Council to remain in their own homes or, if they are unable to do so, being forced to live in a care home to have their needs met.

The draft policy has been the subject of significant media coverage, including an article by Frances Ryan in the Guardian in which she interviewed Mark Williams, one of the founders of BRIL, who is at risk of losing funding to continue living at home. As Frances Ryan put it: “It is the stuff of a domestic horror movie: a bureaucrat deems your life too expensive, and you’re forced to pack your bags and spend the rest of your days in an institution.”

The public consultation closed on 31 January 2024. BRIL submitted a consultation response in two parts, the first drafted by its members and the second drafted by Oliver and Alice drawing out some of the legal problems with the draft policy. BRIL’s consultation response can be viewed here.