Bradford Fostering Allowances: The questions that Bradford must answer
Bradford Council is facing claims for back payment of Allowances to carers with private law orders. This follows the admission that it has not been paying the correct allowance to carers with Special Guardianship, Child Arrangement or Adoption Orders.
Nigel Priestley of Ridley & Hall Huddersfield, a law firm that specialises in representing Grandparent carers, has been approached by two carers who may have lost out as a result of the Council’s policy.
Commenting he said “The legal position is clear – and accepted by the Council. Since 2010 family and friend carers shouldn’t be discriminated against. They should have been paid the same basic allowance as foster carers.
“In 2013 a report by the Local Government Ombudsman ruled against Liverpool Council. They had acted in the same way as Bradford. The Ombudsman warned other Councils to get their house in order. In the report the Ombudsman listed the number of carers affected. Liverpool agreed to compensate all the carers, backdating their payments to April 2010.
Bradford Council must answer:
- How many carers with these orders are affected?
- What steps, if any, has the Council taken to alert them that they may have been underpaid for 7 years?
- If they have not acted already, when do they intend to notify them?
- When will they publish the levels of Fostering Allowances since 2010 and what are the equivalent levels of Special Guardianship, Adoption and Child Arrangement/Residence Order Allowance paid to carers?
- What sum, if any, has been set aside to reflect the likely overall lump sum which will be required from the budget to compensate the carers affected?
- Why has the Council not applied the law for the last 7 years?
“Bradford Council will be told that if they are not prepared to settle my clients’ claims amicably they will be subject to Judicial Reviews. Bradford’s long suffering Council Tax payers don’t want to see the Council paying out huge amounts of legal costs. This situation can be resolved by the Council notifying the carers affected, giving them full details of any shortfall and making arrangements to pay the back payments within a realistic period.
They must then pay them weekly the same amount as foster carers.
Some of the most vulnerable children in society have been sold short. It’s time for Bradford to put its house in order.