Care home fees were set by Torbay Council in March 2014 for the 2014/15 financial year and communicated across the market. A section of the market challenged this and permission to pursue a Judicial Review was granted.

A substantive hearing was held in December 2014. Torbay Council carefully considered the judgement which found against it on two points and submitted an application to appeal one part of this judgement.

The Court of Appeal hearing was postponed due to shortages in the judiciary. In order to provide care homes with some certainty and support during this delay, Torbay Council along with Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust continued to work with the care home market to ensure interim arrangements were in place. These Interim arrangements included the payment of increased fees to care homes for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.

The Court of Appeal hearing eventually took place on 27 June 2017 and the judgment was delivered on Thursday 19 October 2017.

Judgement

The issue in the appeal was whether, when calculating the fees paid, the Local Authority was able to take into account the level of private fees paid, any payments for enhanced services or residents who have additional fees paid from the NHS. The Court of Appeal concluded, on a majority basis, that the Council is able to take into account the mix of local authority funded places and those privately funded when determining what it would expect to pay for care. 

Next steps

Torbay has a long tradition of innovation in health and care and we will be building on this looking at ways in which the value of the care homes is both recognised and further developed. They are key in the delivery of good care and support to patients and clients. The staff that work within them are an essential and highly valued part of the care-force that keeps people safe and well in Torbay.

Torbay Council will continue to work closely with local and national partners to explore future models of care, commissioning and associated fees to ensure Torbay has a sustainable and quality care home market. All this information and the Court of Appeal judgement will all inform decisions on future fees.

If you have any further questions please contact us.