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Simon Bleckly Justin Swale Warrington BC / Sefton MBC 11 October 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Simon Bleckly Justin Swale Warrington BC / Sefton MBC 11 October 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Simon Bleckly Justin Swale Warrington BC / Sefton MBC 11 October 2013

2 What are we going to tell you? Background – why this area is important – and difficult! Key issues: Personalisation – personal budgets and direct payments Client finances – appointeeship and court of protection Financial risk and debt recovery Corporate financial safeguarding Whistleblowing Case study – Sefton MBC Questions

3 BACKGROUND Legislation – “Caring for our Future” White Paper and Care & Support Bill 2 key principles of relevance here: Statutory duty on LAs to promote independence and well-being, reducing reliance on formal care People should be in control of their own care – personal budgets and direct payments Think Local Act Personal Towards Excellence in Adult Social Care

4 BACKGROUND Draft Care and Support Bill: Legal entitlement to a personal budget The right to request a direct payment Minimum eligibility criteria – councils must do written care and support plans Councils must arrange / provide services to meet the minimum eligible needs Councils to have lead responsibility for safeguarding “Self directed support is a key means of empowering people”

5 BACKGROUND An increasing profile within Audit Plans: emerging risk Inclusion on strategic / directorate risk registers? LA restructures: Merger of children’s and adults’ services Social enterprises for ASC

6 PERSONALISATION Personal budgets and direct payments NW research 12/13: Too complex and bureaucratic Lack of flexibility and creative use of funding Rules too rigid, LA still promoting “preferred providers” Making it Real: Risk enablement Feeling in control and safe Delivered through personal budgets and self-funding

7 PERSONALISATION Key risk issues: Are there personal plans – are they regularly reviewed? High cost panels – do they consider new approaches? Effective brokerage services? Are staff more comfortable promoting “virtual budgets”? Allocating monies before personal plans agreed

8 PERSONALISATION Risks to the client: Person controlling the account not using the money to pay for care Family member gaining access to the account and misusing funds Person controlling the account forges accounting records, payslips etc to claim for services not provided Care worker / personal assistant claims for time not worked Recipient of DP doesn’t spend the money on appropriate goods Recipient does not maintain paperwork to demonstrate appropriate expenditure

9 PERSONALISATION Key controls (1) : Prepaid cards: Transaction limits / limits on cashback MCC blocking Staff sharing passwords with users Controls over refunds / ability to set up payments Regular, risk-based auditing (IA role?) Monitoring turnover of carers Mandates for carer’s signatures Evidence of transactions / wage payments Large transactions on respite / holidays Hours claimed checked to support plan

10 PERSONALISATION Key controls (2) : Staff vetting (CRB checks on PAs) Recovery of unspent balances Reassessments of care packages Whistleblowing arrangements Effective publicity and training

11 CLIENT FINANCES Appointeeship / Court of Protection Move away from trusteeship Centralised systems? Is this seen as a major financial system? LA management of finances a last resort?

12 CLIENT FINANCES Risk Issues Delays in setting up arrangements Lack of formal paperwork – still acting as trustees Failing to notify DWP of deaths / deal with queries Staff not authorised to withdraw clients’ money / exceeding authorised limits Lack of documentation relating to benefits awards, Standing Orders, Direct Debit arrangements Lack of separation of duties for setting up and administering accounts

13 CLIENT FINANCES Risk Issues Lack of separation of duties for recording and reconciling transactions in client records Lack of management check on accounts High balances on appointee accounts Nil balances on accounts Lack of appropriate skills / knowledge in specialist areas, e.g. disposal of property

14 CLIENT FINANCES Controls for client finances in homes: The home keeps clear records of people’s individual finances Finances are audited monthly by the home manager or administrator and relatives are informed of transactions The home ensures that residents receive their full entitlement of benefits and income Care home staff report concerns about financial abuse through safeguarding procedures, to the OPG or the DWP Local authority income teams make a safeguarding referral if a person’s care fees are not being paid The local authority deputy maintains links with care homes in the area

15 FINANCIAL RISK AND DEBT RECOVERY Following up on FACS ratings – identifying financial risk Obtaining all relevant financial details at the assessment stage, e.g. personal pensions Financial abuse by relatives with control over a client’s finances – safeguarding issue? LA actions to recover debts on client contributions Timeliness? Legal position? Best interest? Care and Support Bill provisions

16 CORPORATE FINANCIAL SAFEGUARDING What is financial abuse? “Theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits” (No Secrets) However: Not all vulnerable adults are unable to protect themselves from financial abuse and: Not all of those who are ineligible for social care services are able to protect themselves from financial abuse

17 CORPORATE FINANCIAL SAFEGUARDING Why consider financial safeguarding risks? Financial crime / abuse is often under-reported There are a wide range of perpetrators – family members, friends, “professional criminals”, strangers, care workers / other professionals There are many different types of financial abuse - losses vary from the insignificant to many thousands of pounds The personalisation agenda can increase potential risks The impact on the individual can be just as severe as other types of abuse It can be difficult to identify the symptoms of financial abuse It can be difficult to get appropriate support and advice

18 CORPORATE FINANCIAL SAFEGUARDING What are the risks? Abuse of a formal position of trust – appointees, deputies, attorneys Abuse of an informal position of trust – family members, friends / neighbours Theft of money / property Non-investment fraud, e.g. rogue traders Cold-calling and mass-marketing frauds Identity theft or customer impersonation

19 CORPORATE FINANCIAL SAFEGUARDING What are the risks? Frauds against the individual: Includes scams, mass marketing fraud, identity fraud Current estimate of £6.1 billion loss per annum Scams and mass marketing - £3.5bn estimated loss per annum, over 3 million people fall victim each year Identity fraud – over a quarter of all individuals have been a victim at some time – average loss nearly £500 per person Over half of the victims of identity fraud are unable to recoup their losses

20 CORPORATE FINANCIAL SAFEGUARDING What can we do about these risks? Understand the warning signs – may include: Sudden inability to pay everyday bills Reminders sent for e.g. utility bills Unexplained withdrawals of money from bank: Single large amounts Regular smaller amounts (e.g. via ATM) Loss of ATM / bank card or formal means of identification Personal possessions go missing from home Lack of documentation to support evidence of expenditure / income Unexplained transfer / gift of assets to a relative / someone outside the family Suspicious changes in wills / power of attorney (particularly LPA)

21 CORPORATE FINANCIAL SAFEGUARDING What can we do about these risks? Warning signs (continued): Visitors whose visits coincide with benefits payment days Evasiveness of people in position of trust when providing financial information Increased interest and / or involvement on person’s financial affairs by relatives / friends Significant amounts of junk mail / cold calls Unnecessary goods, services or subscriptions purchased Deterioration in living conditions, e.g. no evidence of cleaning Note that these are just warning signs – people can make unwise decisions, but still be competent to manage their own financial affairs

22 CORPORATE FINANCIAL SAFEGUARDING What can we do about these risks? Incorporate these areas in assessments – identify the risks More effective liaison with the council’s financial support sections: Client finances Income assessment and recovery teams Internal Audit / Legal Services Early identification of potential outcomes and involvement of external agencies, e.g. DWP, OPG, Police Awareness of reporting lines, e.g. whistleblowing Training and awareness-raising

23 WHISTLEBLOWING Effective whistleblowing arrangements are a key control – but: Does your whistleblowing procedure cover third party providers? Do you get referrals in this area? Are all practitioners aware of your procedures and how to use them? Would you know how to deal with a referral in this area? Is it clear how whistleblowing fits in with safeguarding referrals and other accountability frameworks?


25 The Background Sefton Employee and Relative Residential Care from 2008 Financial Assessment / Client Contributions Contact from Care Home May 2012

26 Safeguarding ‘Investigation’ Ascertain Financial Position / Arrears Ensure Placement is not in Danger Notify Police Appointeeship Not a Disciplinary Matter!!!

27 Personnel / Internal Audit Investigation Suspension Initial IA Support : - Employee Role / Responsibilities - Details of Further Debts - Details of Assets / Property - Employee’s Husband - Legal Advice re Recovery Personnel Conduct Interviews - Employee Admission

28 Investigation Findings/Conclusion/Outcome Employee WAS Appointee Consistent Failure to Pay Client Contributions Since 2008 Unacceptable Financial Loss to Council Financial Abuse of Vulnerable Adult Discredit to the Council Breach of Trust Employee Dismissed

29 Debt Recovery / Further Actions Debt Increases Options for Recovery Sale of House Result!!!

30 Lessons Learnt / Audit Implications Lack of Communication / Joined Up Approach Delays in Obtaining Appointeeship Weaknesses in Financial Assessment Process Correct Raising of Debts & Communication with Client’s Relatives Are There Others? Debt Recovery Procedures

31 What have we told you? There is a big culture shift underway Personalisation brings both opportunities and risks Risk assessments may have to change – financial safeguarding issues can be complex Internal Audit need to have constant dialogue with managers and practitioners It’s a great opportunity for Audit to add value

32 Any Questions ?

33 It’s the last slide! References: “No Secrets: Guidance on protecting vulnerable adults in care” DoH 2000 “Caring for our future: reforming care and support” DH consultation 2013 “Draft Care & Support Bill” The Stationery Office 2012 “A Problem Shared: making best use of resources in adult social care” Think Local Act Personal 2013 “Personal Budgets: Taking Stock, Moving Forward” TLAP 2011 “Assessment: financial crime against vulnerable adults” SCIE 2011 Links:

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