Saving Cascaidr – a guest blog by founder, Belinda Schwehr.

I might not be the CEO of CASCAIDr any longer but I can’t stop caring about it, and the crisis in the advice sector!

I want to highlight the cost of offering decent legal advice about adult social services disputes, so that people understand why we’re currently closed.

A bit like when one goes to A&E, people are often distressed and not particularly organised about making a referral, with little idea how to order their story. They maybe haven’t got the words, or they’ve been battling the system for months. They may be damaged, pessimistic or strung-out about having to go over it, all over again. But we’re online, only, apart from reasonable adjustments, so we have to expect people to get their story down, somehow.

Just like at A&E, you’d want to find someone there who knows the difference between a Conversation, an assessment and a care plan, wouldn’t you? Between a direct payment to the client and one to their Authorised Person instead? Between CHC and s117 or a split package? Between Choice of Accommodation and Continuing Ordinary Residence? Between a tenancy and a placement?

Community care law is not taught in universities. The only places such lawyers are found are legal aid law firms and local authorities, or other charities. Most CABx don’t cover this area of law.

Even if a lawyer is happy to work in a charity that isn’t a law firm, they’ll have bills to pay.

They’ll have spent YEARS acquiring expertise and honing the skill of unpacking a referral, figuring out whether the person is stuck somewhere in the Care Act process, or elsewhere, due to housing, special education, primary health need or mental health issues.

That set of skills has a market price. In the real world, scarcity invariably puts the cost UP, or people move OUT of the field altogether if they’re not decently remunerated.

Putting someone into a Triage/casework role at CASCAIDr, with those skills, requires £55K, plus oncosts, plus a proper contract, before anyone will move roles into the charity sector.

Even that ONE person will need IT systems/management, regulatory fees and licences, insurance and an administrator, so they can concentrate on law. They must balance the rate of work coming in against the staff they can pull in to take on the growing work.

So we can either chase grants, fund-raise or sell other useful stuff, if we are to remain viable, without charging people for advice.

That requires more bodies with brains and legal acumen. Volunteers of any kind can be taught community care law, but need managing, because whilst highly motivated, they work remotely, and their output needs supervising.

That’s why CASCAIDr needs a sponsor, right now, if we are to survive (please email if you know of someone who might grasp the enormity of this field of expertise just dying out…)

Or donations, please, via our site on

Books, a laptop. Glasses and justice scales