Transport may be required in order to make a care plan contents even accessible. On the other hand, broader transport functions can be owed to a person via education duties, district council powers, tourism functions, children’s services and adults’ services. Transport is often seen as a way in which relatives can or even should contribute, by doing the driving, themselves, often regardless of the principle that they have to be willing and not just able! Finally, the charging regulations treats transport as a non-care service, and allows councils to charge full cost for them, if included in a budget, and to do so even if it takes the person below their minimum income guarantee, thereby complicatedly incentivising a person to spend their own money (usually their mobility component, which would otherwise be invisible!). So it’s a fraught topic!
We can see a trend in these reports of Councils being reluctant to provide transport unless it’s obviously an exceptional circumstance. It is easy to challenge a decision as a fetter of discretion or an error of law, or irrational, if it renders the care plan incapable of fulfilment. The law states that Local Authorities are required to make transport arrangements they consider “necessary”, rather than exceptional.
The reports often consider the facilitation of the attendance of young adults at institutions where the local authority has secured the provision of education for the adult concerned. When a council finds it is ‘necessary’ to provide transport for the young adult, then the transport must be provided and be free of charge (Education Act 1996, section 508F(4)).
If you have access to a Motability vehicle, there is no legal obligation for you to use it, or your family member to use it to convey you to services; but you can expect not to be able to claim DRE for other travel expenses, if that is your or your family’s decision, at least not unless you can show that your expenses exceed your mobility component and the Guidance supports this approach. Your keeping a vehicle for no obvious reason may be reported to the DWP on the basis of non-use, but we know of no examples of that actually happening, as yet.