Devon care home owners in legal fight over fees

Care home owners have mounted a legal challenge against Devon County Council over how payments were decided for looking after residents.

A group of owners says the decision on fee levels was based on inaccurate figures and did not properly consider the impact on vulnerable people.

It also says the authority did not adequately consult home owners when setting the rate.

The council said its payments were fair and were rising 6.6% in 2012/13.

'No choice'

Devon Quality Care Forum (DQCF), which represents the four care home owners, won its call earlier this year for a judicial review which has started at Cardiff Administrative Court.

Alan Beale, managing director of South West Care Homes Ltd which is a member of the DQCF, said: "We are disappointed that legal action has become necessary.

"We felt we had no choice but to take this legal action to ensure a secure future for our residents and their homes."

A spokesman for Conservative-controlled Devon County Council said: "We are disappointed that after receiving a 6.6% rise in fees this year, these few home owners continue a costly legal dispute that we can ill afford, and that detracts from the business of meeting the care needs of vulnerable people in Devon.

"We believe that we have acted sensibly and fairly in determining fee levels and will contest the case vigorously.

"We will, of course, abide by any decision from the court."

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