Frequently Asked Questions

What are we here for?

Many hundreds of thousands of people go without the care they need, in England and Wales – some because they just don’t know about it, but others because they’re unsure whether they qualify for it, or are afraid of asking for more, in case what they’ve been given is taken away.

Over half of the people who do ask for it are turned down, and often for reasons that would not withstand scrutiny, if only someone were to hold up the decision against well-established legal principles. But knowledge of those principles is withering away.

It’s not as if there isn’t a law, a good Act, underpinning people’s rights to a social care safety net.

The Care Act modernised 20 years of community care law case results, into one coherent set of principles, and had cross-Parliamentary support. The only problem was that it was never properly funded by central government: impact assessment must have been done on the fly, or by missing out a whole cohort of people – younger people, perhaps, with learning disabilities or autism. We’d all been promised a lifespan into our 90s, for many, many years, so it’s hard to justify calling it a demographic timebomb!

If councils continue to be underfunded, regardless of the rights and duties in the Act, and the rules in the Guidance, based on the case law, then the law will come to mean nothing, in the end – at the very moment, possibly, when it might matter to you, or to someone you care very much about.

CASCAIDr CIC focuses on providing top-notch information for people with social care needs so that they and their families can enforce their own rights.

We also work with groups, partners and organisations as a hub and consultancy service, to increase knowledge of the law and how it actually works.

The public can use our free services without having to go through a member organisation.  We deal with all ages (16+) and all disabling conditions, illnesses or disorders, because we know that people often face challenges that cut across the idea that we should all belong to one client group or another.

We offer a Learning and Development Database that goes back to 2003, with content comprised of opinion and commentary about the raw material – the cases, the ombudsman’s complaint reports, and amendments to existing laws.

This supports people to help themselves to the knowledge and skills that are needed, these days, to hold councils and NHS integrated commissioning boards to account. 

We think that it is only by embracing legal literacy that councils and the sector’s leadership will be able to stand up to government, over funding.

What are the CIC’s Objects?

The objects of the Company are to carry on activities which benefit the community – that’s the essence of being a community interest company.

We’re working for people aged 16+ in need of publicly funded health mental health or social services, by reason of their age, or chronic ill-health, disability, physical or mental impairment or lack of mental capacity – for both their own benefit and the community’s wider benefit.

We work also for any individual person caring for such people – they may be friends or relatives – and for any corporate entities from the private, voluntary or third sector, engaged in advocating for, or caring for such people as part of their own mission and purpose.

The company delivers on these objects through the following activities:

the provision of free information and educational material such as alerts, a Q&A service, and/or fact sheets about publicly funded social work services and social care, equality, human rights, NHS health law and mental health law in England and Wales, based on a licence held by the CIC to use a curated database of analysis and commentary on legal framework resources;

– the provision of free or low cost online legal framework analysis to people seeking or in receipt of publicly funded health and social care services, and to any corporate entities from the private, voluntary or third sector, involved in service provision for such people;

the benefit of low cost access to any member of the Bar for advice, through the Bar Standards Board Licence which the company holds and may operate through the professional services of Belinda Schwehr during the currency of that licence;

the provision of crowdfunding support services on sites such as Crowdjustice by dint of the company’s status as a Community Interest Company;

the provision of low cost training services for individuals and organisations in the legal framework governing publicly funded NHS health, mental health and social services in England and Wales.

What are our aims?

Our main aim is no small challenge! It’s to preserve and reinvigorate the rule of law within local government and that part of the NHS responsible for commissioning care and support packages for all those with complex health and care needs, and their carers.

We aim to empower and support people, their carers and practitioners to resolve disagreements about access to services through application of the law and legal principles, not brute power – and, in doing so, ensure that those suffering disability or an impairment are not needlessly dragged into poverty or despair.

We are a not-for-profit information and analysis organisation, with no public funding. We cannot give advice to individuals.

Why might you need the CIC’s services?

Whilst there is a growing understanding of the impact that austerity measures have had on social and health care provision, few are aware of the complexity of legal duties, powers and responsibilities owed to our most vulnerable members of society.

Most people only seek support or come to rely on social care services and funding in times of crisis.

Family members and carers, exhausted by providing dedicated care, rarely have the energy required to navigate referral processes or complaints procedures to secure fair processes and lawful packages of care.

As none of us can know our own future, we all need public sector decision-making to be properly governed by the law and sound legal principles.

Do you provide an additional service range? 

We fund all of our free output primarily through our Alert Service. This costs just £25 pa to be kept informed of developments and be steered as to why any given legal development might matter to you, so that you can avoid spending the time to do all that trawling or dealing with yet another email. The Alert Service also offers the chance to join a curated Whatsapp Group (from a choice of 3) for a sense of community with like-minded people. Please use this link here.

Basically, in addition to the Alert Service, we offer 4 areas of free service and 4 areas of chargeable services, so as to be able to remain in business, given all businesses have expenses that must be paid for.

The free areas are

a) our Database with navigation support for people who are unfamiliar with the language but can make a good guess, to guide them in; please use the link here.

b) our One-off Q&A service for questions of principle about people’s legal rights. Please use the link here.

c) our Podcasts and Blogspot – for those who prefer to watch and listen, or read opinion-based material rather than legal content, at least some of the time. Please use the link here.

d) OSCAR (launching later on in 2024) – Online Social Care Advice Resource – a self-help conditional logic program which means users can find the words they need to nail down what the public sector is doing wrong, in terms of the law, in correspondence.  Please use the link here to find out more.

When the program reaches the point where it’s beyond the capacity of general probing, to provide any further safe and reliable help, the process leads the user to an up-to-date list of law firms who are willing to assist, and the answers given will help you self-refer and get past their screening systems, we hope!

Our chargeable services are as follows:

a) our annual Legal Framework training course for members of the public, often family carers – but anyone can apply – and our three short courses, which are about Charging and Disability Related Expenditure; secondly, Hospital Discharge, Choice of Accommodation and Top-Ups, and Direct Payments and Personal Health Budgets. Please use the link here.

Plus Training and Talks – full day and half day training sessions, and short talks for carers, user groups, parent / client support groups and charities, university departments, etc.  Please use the link here.

b) Professional Consultancy for people working in organisations without access to specialist legal advice for their own clients –  Please use the link here.

c) Bespoke Fact Sheets in the context of Partnerships – we love collaborating with organisations to provide consultancy, offering deeper expertise in the law, and always trying to make it simpler and more accessible. Please use the link here.

d) Barristers’ Direct Access and Crowdfunding support (instructions and fronting a campaign, as a not-for-profit organisation before one has found a lawyer). Please use the link here.

What are your insurance arrangements?

  • CASCAIDr CIC has professional indemnity insurance cover in case we, our volunteers or paid caseworkers should ever be at fault in failing to take reasonable care in relation to our work or how we conduct ourselves, within the scope of what we have offered to do, which is not the provision of formal legal advice.
  • When acting purely as individual volunteers providing a service to CASCAIDr CIC, all such volunteers, and even people who happen to be regulated professionals but are not held out as lawyers by us in any shape or form, ARE covered by CASCAIDr CIC’s own insurance policy.

What are the arrangements for funding a case through Crowdjustice?

  • Crowdfunding involves someone being the Case Owner, and this could be a solicitor recommended by us, or your own solicitor, or CASCAIDr CIC itself. A client is free to use any crowdfunding platform they prefer but if the further involvement of CASCAIDr CIC is wanted, we have chosen CrowdJustice as a dedicated public interest litigation crowdfunding site.
  • If a person does not have a solicitor already located as willing to act, the only possibility for a campaign on Crowdjustice is through allowing a charity or a not for profit organisation to act as case owner, under Crowdjustice terms and conditions, so our involvement offers that distinct advantage…
  • In a case where a Customer has agreed to try crowdfunding through CASCAIDr CIC acting as the Case Owner, CASCAIDr CIC will, for a £50 flat free, write up the case in a manner which is accurate and measured and intended to maximise the prospects of attracting donations, and run a social media campaign to the best of its abilities for the benefit of the Customer. No money is collected from donors unless a target is hit within 30 days.
  • If the target is hit within the 30 days, CrowdJustice platform’s own terms also provide that a not for profit Case Owner holds funds that have been raised by crowdfunding on trust for the purposes of pursuing the case, and may keep any unused amount or nominate its allocation to another Crowdjustice case. This means that where CASCAIDr CIC has been the formal Case Owner it would be entitled to keep any surplus of unused funds, beneficially, for use in furthering its community benefit obligations and objectives for others’ benefit.

Do you have a complaints policy?

Yes: here’s how it works

  • Customers’ complaints about the way CASCAIDr CIC’s processes operate or appear to the Customer to have been conducted, must be taken up with the Board, by email to directors@cascaidr.org.uk
  • If the complaint involves the directors or one of them, we will ensure that the wider board considers the complaint.
  • Please find our formal complaints policy by clicking here.

Supporting the CIC

CASCAIDr CIC has emerged from some hard thinking about how best to address the fundamentally changed public sector and legal environment that existed before Covid-19.  We’re trying to mitigate the impact of that change for people who have very few other options.

Volunteering or advising will challenge you as a person, as an expert, or as a lawyer, and will reflect shared values about the importance of access to justice in support of the rule of law.

There’s a link to our Be a Volunteer form here, please note – with all the options for helping us, set out there, with an estimate of the time needed per week or per month.

The CIC needs help with spreading the word, so if you are good at social media, or marketing, and have an idea about how we should be doing this, in the longer term, please note that there are Admin options for volunteers too, not just talking to people with legal issues. There’s writing work, and quality assurance etc, and website page management, for which we may be able to pay you a fee for doing something, in this regard, one day.   But unpaid ambassadors are very much needed too!

We also have business development needs, in terms of marketing our bespoke consultancy and bespoke fact sheet offers to advocacy organisations, independent care advisers or brokers, law firms, health and care support providers –  and outreach work with parent and service user/carer groups.

We also need help to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the sector. If a council or NHS body near you is doing something you can hardly believe, please let us know the details, via Bzschwehr@CASCAIDr.org.uk

Donations – financial support other than for a service

CASCAIDr the charity is no longer accepting direct donations, because of its decision to close.

CASCAIDr the CIC – this organisation, whose site you are on, currently – is still able to accept donations – but they cannot attract Gift Aid, which is an element of donations to charities, ONLY.

It’s possible to make donations to the CIC if you are a corporate entity, but it does not mean you can claim the donation against your liability for corporation tax.

If you want to help us in our mission, it’s better to commission us to do something for your organisation, such as composing a bespoke fact sheet or providing your professional staff with consultancy. The fee is then able to be set off against your own income for accounting purposes.

Anyone making a donation can cite that fact, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility policy and practice, too. We hope that law firms will bear that in mind when OSCAR, our conditional logic program for self-served points to be made for people struggling to enforce their rights, comes on stream, later on this year. We will be offering the chance to advertise on OSCAR pages.

Please click here to make a donation.

Volunteering – we’re actively seeking volunteers to help deliver the services we know people need. Please use the link here.