Avon County Council, ex p M [1994] 2 FLR 1006 (QBD)

Assessment – residential care – duty to provide accommodation – s21 NAA 1948 – psychological needs

The meaning of ‘needs’ in s21 National Assistance Act 1948 encompasses psychological needs. Recommendations by the Social Services Complaints Review Panel (SSCRP) could not be overruled by Social Services committees unless there were substantial reasons which gave due weight to the SSCRP’s recommendation.

In this case, a young man’s apparent entrenched preference to remain in a more costly home than another one selected by the assessment team was characterised as a need, and not a whim or a mere want – clinical evidence was available which related his tendency to take entrenched positions to the condition of Down’s Syndrome.

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