Highly controversial plans to raise the cost of respite care throughout Perth and Kinross could be halted after a legal challenge from a local family.
Council chiefs are ready to launch a radical shake-up of community care services which they hope will make budget savings of £300,000.
But the move, which saw at least one household hit with a 900% rise in costs, could now be shelved after the council was served with a writ for a judicial review, claiming a breach of human rights.
Council officers believe the scheme, scheduled to start in October, also needs to be postponed because of Frank’s Law.
The national policy, named after the Courier-backed campaign by footballer Frank Kopel’s widow Amanda, aims to offer free personal care to everyone.
Throughout the summer, council officers have been visiting and calling around 350 households who face a rise in charges.
One pensioner from Crieff was told that professional at-home care for his adult son – who has learning difficulties and epilepsy – would rocket from £400 a year to £4,000.
Proposals to shelve the policy have been welcomed by the Centre for Inclusive Living Perth and Kinross, which spoke out against the plan.
Manger Gillian Edwards said: “It is great news that Perth and Kinross Council are looking seriously into the affect that this change was going to have on disabled people.
“Hopefully there can now be more consultation so that the future changes can be implemented without as much worry and stress.”
Next week, councillors will be urged to formally defer and review the charges to allow for more details on how Frank’s Law will be rolled out across the country.
In a report, Head of Legal and Governance Services Lisa Simpson said the Scottish Government’s Carers Act – which requires the council to waive charges for clients – also needs to be addressed.
Ms Simpson said: “Given that both of these legislative changes impact upon the same client group as those potentially affected by the revised policy, and given that there is still a lack of clarity as to how the new legislation is to be implemented, it has been difficult to assess what the cumulative impact of these changes to the charging regime would be.
“It would be prudent to pause and reassess this when the respective statutory guidance is available.”
She added: “It should also be noted that the council has been served with a writ for judicial review in respect of one particular client affected by the revised policy.
“The judicial review application raises a number of potential issues relating to equalities and human rights.
“The matter is complex and the challenges relate to both the policy itself and the process for determining it.”
Members of the Strategic Policy and Resources Executive sub-committee will be asked to defer any changes at their meeting on Monday.