…for our free triage service
(- and as of 2020, you can upload a letter from your council’s social care team or the CMHT or CCG, if you need it ‘deconstructed’, for free!)
Please try going to our Self Help pages and suggested ‘scripts’ FIRST, here.
If you can’t find help there, then SCROLL DOWN and fill out the form after reading the guidance below …
…or if that’s not going to be feasible for you, at least not without some help from one of our volunteers, then please feel free to book a call on the ‘Books’ icon on the RH side of this page.
Make sure you click SUBMIT at the end of the form. Please correct any flagged up errors before you close this page – some boxes are mandatory. You will see a message telling you that you’ve successfully submitted the form, if you have filled it all in and the internet is functioning!
We’re not an ordinary ‘advice and information’ service about health and social care, please note. That’s a service that all councils are obliged to maintain for free, in their own local ways, under the Care Act. If it’s basic factual advice and information about how the system should work, local to you, the local authority is obliged to provide this under the Care Act, and ought to be able to tell you which direction to head in, for the right kind of inputs for the particular situation.
We’re experts in the extent of the rights and duties associated with the adults’ social care and NHS Continuing Healthcare legal frameworks, in England and Wales.
Although we do offer a free phone service, Mondays to Thursdays, it’s really intended for people who haven’t the technical/IT or cognitive skills or confidence to put the problem down on paper/email/our form.
We really do prefer the referral to come in on our form, because of the risk that some members of the public might treat phoning us as a free source of info about things we’re simply not experts in, or just someone to talk to – and then, the public’s donations wouldn’t be enough to make the kind of advice that we need to concentrate upon, viable and sustainable, in the longer term. It’s like not calling 999 when you really need a plumber!
Secondly, not all our services are FREE, even when we do get a person to fill in the form: most people end up in our low cost chargeable category, although we will always find out enough from them to make that decision, for free, via our triage service. We would not want to increase the costs that would eventually have to be invoiced to all our clients, on the basis of a first phonecall, lasting for a very long time, for want of just thinking it through, in advance. So please do help us to help you and as many other people as possible, by thinking about it all first, and considering what you’d do if told it was going to be chargeable advice.
We have volunteers to support people who really can’t cope with composing their concerns, facts and thoughts, but if you do have the ability to write stuff down coherently, here’s some guidance as to how to structure it, below.
If that’s really no good, you can of course book a phone call, using the Books icon on the website. We don’t function on Fridays, please note, or after 4pm, but we love it if you leave a voicemail.
Lastly, publicly funded Health and Social care services do not have absolute duties to do anything, so the fact that you may be struggling to get (or keep) what you think is necessary, or whatever it is you think that they should be doing, is not necessarily a legal problem. It’s only if they’ve behaved irrationally, illegally, unfairly or ignored someone altogether, for an unjustifiable reason, that you might have a legal problem that we can help on.
If you have less than £8K in savings, and don’t own your own home with more than £100K of equity in it, you may well qualify for Legal Help, (preliminary legal advice) and we can get you to a law firm that won’t tell you that they’ve got ‘no capacity’, you will be pleased to hear.
If you have too much in savings or income to qualify, we have links with law firms that will offer to act for you for a low cost fee, after we have done a few hours of free or chargeable work for you, to get the case into shape.
Useful questions to focus on:
- For whom are you requesting legal advice? Is it yourself, or a friend or relative aged over 16+? If it’s someone else, please put YOUR contact details down, on the form, first, but then fill out the details about THE OTHER PERSON’S situation for the questions that come after your bit about yourself.
- What is the illness, disability, condition or mental health problem that’s led the person with the problem to seek public sector help, please?
- What is the day to day mental capacity of that person like, please? What would they be ‘allowed’ to decide for themselves and what would they not by those who care?
- Where is that person currently living? Try to get its status correct: care home, supported living, or their own OWNED or rented house, please, or a relative’s?
- Who exactly has said what – and to whom about the issue, and when, and in what form, ie verbally or in writing, please? This is the KEY information that anyone trying to give legal advice would need, for a public law challenge.
- Do you think a decision has been MADE, or maybe only been hinted at?
- Do you have EVIDENCE of what you believe to have happened or to have been said? You CANNOT ATTACH information to this form. We’d like to know WHAT you’ve got, but you can’t send it in as yet. Even if we invite you to do so, as part of our process, we want only a little at a time please, not a file-full! We don’t want to drown in your zip folders or pdfs, as this work can be enough to crush us too, sometimes! We can’t afford to let that happen.
- Has the person with the problem or anyone helping them, done anything about that, in any formal sense, so far? If there has been a written or telephone complaint, already, how long has the wait been, for any outstanding response?
- We don’t mind being asked our view if you’ve already had advice from a regulated law firm, but if you’ve had 3 or more opinions that you don’t agree with, from regulated lawyers, PLEASE DON’T USE US, AS A CHARITY, for a 4th+ bite at the cherry. It’s not sustainable, realistic or fair – because we have no public money coming in.
If you are contacting us about YOUR OWN Matter, start at box 10 below (Title of the person with the problem).
If you are contacting us about someone else’s issue, fill out the first 9 boxes about YOU – and then do the rest of the form about the person you’re contacting us about.
Before you click submit, please double-check that you have filled in all required fields.