In 2007 Suffolk County Council wanted to ensure that the best housing and support available was created for people with learning disabilities who had been living for many years in local long stay NHS hospitals. Neil Cawthorn, a solicitor in private practice, advised the Council in moving across to a new shared ownership model of supported living. Many people were supported to move into their own homes gaining valuable independence. Many of those homes were shared ownership properties secured by interest only mortgages.
Subsequently the Council took the view that it wanted the people it was supporting to gain a better understanding of how to manage their finances. The council wanted to encourage a greater degree of independence when making financial decisions but was aware that this is a complex area that would need strong support and guidance in areas such as obtaining a mortgage and securing a property.
So in 2011 Neil Cawthorn set up his own legal practice to provide this much-needed support towards independence and The Professional Deputy Service was created.