Challenging Local Authority Decisions
Decision-making in local authorities is founded on powers and duties set out in statute and regulations and elaborated in departmental directions and guidance. Local authorities have to act within the law and guidance, and can be held accountable for failure to do so. There are a variety of ways in which adult or child clients who are dissatisfied with a service provided or denied may dispute decisions taken by the local authority. These include using statutory complaints procedures; having recourse to the local government Ombudsman; invoking the Secretary of State's default powers; seeking judicial review of the decision-making process; and, actions for damages for injury suffered as a consequence of breach of statutory duty or negligence. Judicial review is a remedy in public law, located within the Administrative Court which allows individuals to challenge the legality and adherence to due process of public bodies' decision making.