Bristol County Council, ex p Penfold [1998] CCLR 315 (QBD)

Assessment – eligibility criteria – s47 National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990

Section 47 National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 requires a three-stage process: firstly the local authority must determine whether it appears that the person in question may be in need of services; secondly, if the conclusion is that the person in question falls under that requirement, there is a mandatory duty to carry out an assessment of need; and thirdly the local authority must consider whether or not such services should in fact be provided. Resources are irrelevant at the first and second stages and a local authority has no discretion to refuse to carry out an assessment under the NHSCCA 1990 on the ground that lack of resources means that in practice there is no prospect of making a community care service available to the applicant.

Local authorities have power to provide ‘normal’ housing under the National Assistance Act 1948 when provision is made to meet needs which would otherwise have to be satisfied by the provision of other community care services.

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