Show all news items

Volunteering opportunities with Strategic Public Law Clinic: Analysing the Impact of Care Act Easements

Analysing the Impact of Care Act Easements

The Coronavirus Act 2020 removed a swathe of key rights of those in need of adult social care. The absolute obligations of local social services authorities to meet eligible needs were transformed, though guidance, into acts to be performed unless and until the authority decided it would ‘adopt easements’. The easements limit those obligations in order to be able to deal with the pandemic pressures.

Four of the eight authorities across England which decided to adopt easements were in the West Midlands and included Birmingham and Coventry. There were a number of legal challenges to the decisions and none of the authorities retained their ‘easements’ for very long. However, anecdotally, it appears that many local authorities informally operated what were, in effect, easements with resulting unmet need. Those problems are continuing. For example, in some authorities day centres have remained closed for nearly a year. Adequate replacement support to meet needs has not always been provided which has had significant impact on those who used those services and, in many instances, on family carers.

The Act could remain in place for two years in total. There is also a concern that, in a context of what was already a severe level of underfunding of social care and a likely increasing pressure on public funds, the reduction in social care support to individuals may not reverse automatically with the easing of pandemic restrictions or even the termination of the Coronavirus Act provisions and reinstatement of rights.

It is important that those affected, community organisations, and legal advisers are aware of the types of unlawful impact that the suspension of rights has had and may have in the future so that these are more likely to be challenged and rectified.

The aim of this project is to set up an analytical framework to assist the Law Centre’s Health and Social Care team to identify patterns of impact on rights which may need tackling strategically.

The students are likely to have the opportunity to:

1. learn about the key duties from the Care Act and what the statutory guidance tells us about how key processes should be undertaken so these duties are carried out;

2. help develop a method to enable Law Centre staff establish the extent to which these duties are properly satisfied in client interviews and when working on cases

3. test the method on a sample of post Coronavirus Act Law Centre cases;

4. help devise a way of collating the results so that patterns are identifiable; and

5. support the development of further strategies to address identified patterns.

Through these tasks students will develop skills in legal interpretation, legal analysis, and strategic planning.


Opportunities with the Strategic Public Law Clinic are open to Warwick law students. Student volunteers are expected to commit 3-5 hours per week during term time, including regular team meetings. Students must take the work seriously and maintain their commitment for the duration of the project or agreed timeframe.

We anticipate the project will run for one term. However, given the nature of the work, projects may extend into an additional term and student volunteers will be offered the option to continue should that happen.

How to apply

Via the form below, applicants should submit a short C.V. and a cover letter (as a single document - no more than 300 words for the cover letter) explaining what they believe they would contribute to the clinic and what they hope to learn from the experience that will help them in their future endeavours.

  • Submit your application by Friday, 18 March 2021
  • Shortlisted students will be notified week commencing 22 March 2021
  • Group interviews will take place in week1 next term ( w/c 26 April 2021) with Dr Tara Mulqueen and Karen Ashton, Head of Public Law and Human Rights CELC.
  • Inductions to scheduled for Wednesday 28 April following successful interview and availability of the project group
  • Care Act project training is provisionally scheduled for the morning of Friday 30 April

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please email Dr Tara Mulqueen or Jan Arnell