CASCAIDr - the specialist legal advice charity.

There's a crisis, crippling adult social care right now - a crisis that could affect any one of us, at any time.

Panorama is finally focusing on this often hidden issue, on BBC1, at 9pm, Weds 29 May.

And the Social Care Ombudsman has just criticised North Tyneside, soundly, for appalling care planning behaviour, here! North Tyneside's Care Act care planning failings

The crisis is due to a halving of the workforce over a decade, and a lack of money for the services that people are legally entitled to, under the Care Act.

There's no money for proper training about people's legal rights, either, and care packages are being determined by the departmental budget, instead of needs-led - whilst social workers just look on, helplessly and hopelessly, despite being professionals, governed by the legal framework. It is not their fault, though, and we know that the corporate focus on coming in on budget, regardless, makes many of them very miserable about their gate-keeping task!

The result, however, is a yawning gap between reality and rhetoric - surreal and blinkered thinking about the true cost of care, and the size of care packages and direct payments/health budgets that people's needs ought, even objectively, to be seen to require.

Making 'mistakes' about people’s legal rights – when those people are vulnerable, ill, frail and in need of help - is not right – but most people don’t know what to do about it when it happens.

When we launched, we said we’d use the power of law to shift councils’ positions on assessment, eligibility and care planning or budget settings.

We’ve done exactly that, without yet having had to go to Court!

We opperate nationwide, online and on the phone. In our first 18 months, we have already supported over 300 clients’ referrals, providing free advice to about 175 of them, and taken on 19 complex cases of illegality completely for free, regardless of how long it might take us to achieve a result.

CASCAIDr is there to stop system-wide legal illiteracy from ruining people’s lives, and getting the resources allocated to the people who are legally entitled to them.

We do that by politely asserting legal rules and principles, helping councils to discharge their duties in very difficult times for the sector.

We are hugely proud to receive this endorsement of our mission:

“Your organisation has been awarded a Gold
#IAMchallengingbehaviour Star Award as you are continually challenging the behaviour of those people and systems that stop people getting a good life.”

We want to do even more, this year, and we’d appreciate your help to achieve that ambition.

CASCAIDr has registered to walk as a Team, in this year’s London Legal Support Trust Walk - a 10K walk on 17th June.

The walk raises over a million pounds annually, which is given out in small grants to keep over 100 advice centres in London and the South East, open and functioning.

The London Legal Support Trust’s cause is access to justice generally, in an era where law centres and Citizens Advice centres have been closed down, and the majority of ordinary people have been excluded from benefiting from Legal Aid, even if they need the kind of specialist advice which used to be freely available, in the past.

How you can support our team:

Please sponsor us: We are aiming to raise a total of £5000 from this event and would appreciate it if you could help us by sponsoring us. Here’s the link if you want to get involved.

Fundraising: We welcome anyone hosting an event such as a bake sale, quiz night, or dress down day at work. Not only will this help raise  awareness of our work, but please consider this too: anyone could ask their employer for match funding – even if only to a limited percentage; it’s good for corporate social responsibility outcomes and could double the revenue raised for CASCAIDr.

Join our £15.00 webinars: If you support legal principle in CHC and social care, and think that legally literate decision-making MATTERS, try out one of our £15.00 monthly webinars - Care Planning is on 30th May at 12pm and 8pm . We will be looking at the many illegal ways in which care planning is being done right now. See here for the menu: Care Act Conundrum Monthly Webinars

Join our team: Anyone in London would be more than welcome to join us on the walk. All you need to do is commit to raising £100 of sponsorship each for our team. There’s a rivers route, and a park one – you can choose a route on the day.

This is particularly good option for any teenager who needs to do something civically generous for their Duke of Edinburgh award or their university application. Any teenager who joins us will be rewarded with an  undoubtedly ill-fitting tee-shirt, with our logo on it, for their trouble. Please tell me, if you’d like to walk for us this year.

Why we’re walking and asking for help

Some of the great feedback we’ve received shows how much our work has meant to families and individuals in crisis:

- “I am absolutely ecstatic, myself, and cannot wait to tell Mum … I just feel we are very lucky to have been introduced to you. It has made me appreciate that we are in a privileged position to have had your help and that for many families this outcome would not have happened.”

- “The reality is that we did not even have to concede any ground! We are still pinching ourselves to check whether we are not in fact dreaming that this actually happened! For this, we must again wholeheartedly thank you for your support and guidance throughout!”

- “They’ve withdrawn the notice and agreed to follow due process. Mrs X is over the moon and so grateful. She would have had no chance, at this time of year, of finding someone with availability for legal aid work”.

- “CASCAIDr’s support for our management’s thinking, in relation to what had seemed like an ultimatum from the council, has really helped turned things around for our charity.”

Some of our successes:

- We've achieved lawfully acceptable assessments, eligibility decisions and care plans - with sufficient money in them to keep dependent adults and their carers, going;

- We've challenged widely threatened cuts to people’s packages, services or budgets, and got those threats withdrawn or reduced;

- We've challenged CCGs’ Continuing Health Care decisions, and either succeeded, or got a split package – saving people money on their social care charges and even getting reimbursement of wrongly spent monies, from the NHS, for some;

- We've helped people to get complaints upheld by the ombudsman, and in some cases, compensation recommendations made;

- We've helped care homes and agencies from the private, public and third sectors to stand up to commissioners, for the sake of the end users’ rights to decent care services, choice rights, and reviews;

- And we've helped flag up some of the poorest practices in the commissioning of Supported Living, where people can so easily find themselves institutionalised all over again, having come out of unsuitable care homes, with watered down lifestyles and needing to go out in a group, so that a council can save money.

With your sponsorship of our CASCAIDr walking team, we can continue to do MORE in this coming year.

- We’ve already committed to expanding our caseworker resource – as we work very hard to handle the slew of referrals arriving on a weekly basis.

- We have a litigation strategy for year 2 which will see us using Protective Costs Orders and crowdfunding to ensure that at least some of the principles that were clear before the Care Act, are re-litigated to the same effect, for the good of the whole client population.

- We want to fund opinions from leading direct barristers with expertise in this field, on some general issues that need to be aired publicly in the sector. The plan is that members of the public will access their advice on our site, to refer to whenever they need to crank up the pressure for proper ENGAGEMENT and rational, evidence based reasoning, as to why £x is feasibly enough to meet eligible needs!

But we need donations to deliver all of this and to keep us operating, and of course, paying our expert caseworkers enough for their advice. If you sponsor us, on the link above, the Charity will get the funds back from the LLST, in full.


Belinda Schwehr, CEO


01252 725890

Helpline number for members of the public 01252 560 856
Mobile 07516 163968

Centre for Adults’ Social Care – Advice, Information and Dispute Resolution
Free advice - for upholding adults’ Health and Care Act rights

Registered as a Charity no. 1175911 and as a company limited by guarantee no. 10563291 in England and Wales

If you've got this far, please note that CASCAIDr itself needs

A new type of volunteer – to focus on organisational input, now we have a team of 20 caseworkers and volunteers (eg making grant applications, scheduling webinars in our learning circles, writing up law reports – see Volunteer

Willing forwarders to other like minded people! Please consider sending this on to friends and co-workers.

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