North Somerset Council ‘found wanting’ by Court of Appeal
- Credit: Archant
NORTH Somerset Council ‘failed to meet legal obligations’ when it cut youth services, according to a new ruling by the Court of Appeal.
In a judgement passed down on Wednesday, a panel of the country’s top judges ruled the council failed to act lawfully when it slashed funding for youth services by 72 per cent.
In a 30-page document, the court sided with 22-year-old Aaron Hunt, a youth service user from Banwell who brought the legal challenge.
Mr Hunt challenged the legality of the cuts and asked three senior judges to overrule the authority’s decision in February 2012 to scale down or axe many of its services for young people.
The council’s drastic cuts came as leaders attempted to find £92million of savings across its departments before 2018.
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The court found there was insufficient evidence to show the council has taken adequate steps to establish and weigh up the views of young people affected by the decision.
Cianan Good, whose firm Public Interest Lawyers represented Mr Hunt, said: “The Court of Appeal’s judgment confirms what Aaron Hunt and others in the North Somerset area have complained about since the council’s February 2012 decision; that the council did not consider their views, and therefore did not act lawfully, before taking the decision to cut the youth services budget.
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“Although the court has ultimately determined that it will not require the council to revisit that decision, this does not detract from the fact that the council’s processes have found to be wanting.”
Mr Hunt’s initial judicial review challenge was thrown out in the High Court, but he was later given the opportunity to take his case to the appeal court.