31.03.11 - Birmingham City Council's removal of funding from 13 advice charities is ruled unlawful

In March 2011 Public Law Solicitors won a judicial review brought by five clients of advice agencies to challenge a decision by Birmingham City Council to axe a £1.4 million funding package for 13 voluntary organisations in the City which led to the threat of closure of those services. The case is one of an increasing number of challenges to central and local government spending cuts. The decision rests on a failure by the Council to comply properly with Public Sector Equality Duties (PSED). The Council failed to have regard to the impact of the funding cuts on the disabled, the elderly and those from ethnic minority backgrounds. The decision is notable for the Court’s comments about the importance of these duties in the current financial climate:

“Even where the context of decision making is financial resources in a tight budget, that does not excuse compliance with the PSEDs and indeed there is much to be said for the proposition that even in the straightened times the need for clear, well-informed decision making when assessing the impacts on less advantaged members of society is as great, if not greater. “ [Paragraph 46]

Alastair Wallace of Public Law Solicitors acted for all 5 Claimants in the cases - .Rahman and others –v Birmingham City Council [March 2011]