Campaigners win permission for judicial review over respite centre closure plans

A High Court judge has granted campaigners permission to bring a judicial review challenge over the proposed closure of a respite centre for disabled children.

The future of the Nascot Lawn centre in Watford has been threatened after Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group’s (HVCCG) said it planned to withdraw the £650,000 in funding it receives.

Mr Justice Dove ruled last week that the “claim is properly arguable on all grounds”. A final hearing, to determine the lawfulness of the decision to withdraw funding, is due to be held on 6 and 7 February.

HVCCG had originally announced plans to withdraw funding for the centre in spring 2017. Shortly before a judicial review was due to be heard in the High Court over the legality of that proposal, the CCG agreed to set aside its decision to stop funding. The High Court quashed its decision and ordered the CCG to pay the legal costs.

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HVCCG has again decided to withdraw the funding, putting Nascot Lawn back at risk of closure.

Irwin Mitchell wrote to the CCG stating that the new decision was also unlawful on the basis that it breached its duty under the National Health Services Act and the Equality Act, and that it had failed to lawfully consult with families.

Alex Rook, a partner at the claimants’ law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “We have said all along that HVCCG have misunderstood their legal obligations and failed to lawfully consult with those who will be severely impacted by the closure of Nascot Lawn. Families have been left with no alternative but to issue court proceedings once again.

“We would again urge HVCCG to reconsider its decision and enter into constructive dialogue, bringing to an end the anger, frustration and uncertainty that families feel. The closure of Nascot Lawn would have a devastating effect on the community.”

Responding to the judge's decision, Kathryn Magson, Chief Executive of HVCCG, said: “We are aware of the permission granted by the High Court for lawyers acting on behalf of parents to apply for a judicial review of the decision made by Herts Valleys CCG regarding the funding of Nascot Lawn Respite Centre. We will, of course, participate fully in this legal process.  
“We made our position clear following the funding decision by our Finance and Performance Committee in November 2017 after extensive consultation with families. In light of the legal proceedings we would not want to comment further at this time.”

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