Cumbria County Council, ex p Cumbria Professional Care Ltd [1996] CL 5527 (QBD)

Public service contracts – private sector – community care services

Cumbria CC’s failure to contract for the provision of respite care with private sector organisations represented by the applicant, was found to be lawful, as was the authority’s allocation of capital resources to some of its own residential homes. The applicant had failed to provide any direct evidence that the council was operating any kind of waiting list. In the round, the applicant had failed to identify and focus on any unlawful policy or practice and, accordingly, the claim that the council had failed to promote a ‘mixed economy of care’ was inadmissible in terms of public law and had the ‘inappropriate flavour of a fiercely contested private law action’. Leave to appeal was denied by the Court of Appeal.

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