July 2007 - Spotlight on Section 117 Services
Despite very clear guidance on charging for after care services especially in relation to s117 of the Mental Health Act, there still appears to be widespread confusion.
Aftercare services are not defined in the Act but would include social work support, advice & assistance, help with employment & training, provision of accommodation, domiciliary services and the use of day centres and residential facilities.
Both Health & Social Services have a duty under s117 to provide aftercare services until such time as it is agreed that such services are no longer needed. The key point is that local authorities have no power to charge for services provided under s117. However, there are still people being wrongly charged. This is partly because in many cases, it is difficult to identify who is a s117 case and who is not and it has been estimated that over half of the authorities in England & Wales have wrongly charged for aftercare services.
Local authorities have been advised that in such cases they must make financial restitution with interest where appropriate. They have also been warned against making retrospective assessments to remove aftercare services from individuals in order to avoid making restitution.
In order to be clear who might be affected s117 will apply to persons who were detained under:
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