Challenging closures and cuts - Should there be a consultation before a service is closed or cut?
Should there be a consultation before a service is closed or cut?
What is a consultation?
A consultation tells the public what the local authority or NHS is planning and asks people to put their views forward. The law says that the local authority or NHS should consult the public if they are making a significant change.
Once a local authority or the NHS decides to consult the public, they should:
- consult the public in good time, so they can look at your response before making the final decision,
- give you enough information so you can make an informed answer,
- give you enough time to respond, and
- think about all the responses.
When does there have to be a consultation?
Your local authority or the NHS will have to consult local people if:
- the law says they have to,
- they promised to,
- they’ve always consulted on similar issues in the past, or
- the changes will have a serious impact on people.
A local authority may consult before they close a care home. But they don’t have to.
Local authorities should consult local people if they decide to change who can have social care services.
The NHS must have procedures to make sure that they ask people who use a service about any planned changes.
If the local authority or NHS doesn’t consult when it should, then their decision might not be valid. You may be able to take them to court.
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