Simon Bleckly
Justin Swale
Warrington BC / Sefton MBC
11 October 2013
What are we going to tell you?
 Background – why this area is important – and
 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
 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
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”
 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
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
 Making it Real:
 Risk enablement
 Feeling in control and safe
 Delivered through personal budgets and self-funding
Key risk issues:
 Are there personal plans – are they regularly
 High cost panels – do they consider new
 Effective brokerage services?
 Are staff more comfortable promoting “virtual
 Allocating monies before personal plans agreed
Risks to the client:
 Person controlling the account not using the money to pay for
 Family member gaining access to the account and misusing
 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
 Recipient does not maintain paperwork to demonstrate
appropriate expenditure
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
Key controls (2):
 Staff vetting (CRB checks on PAs)
 Recovery of unspent balances
 Reassessments of care packages
 Whistleblowing arrangements
 Effective publicity and training
 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?
 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
 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
 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
 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
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)
 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
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
It can be difficult to identify the symptoms of financial abuse
It can be difficult to get appropriate support and advice
What are the risks?
 Abuse of a formal position of trust – appointees, deputies, attorneys
 Abuse of an informal position of trust – family members, friends /
Theft of money / property
Non-investment fraud, e.g. rogue traders
Cold-calling and mass-marketing frauds
Identity theft or customer impersonation
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
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
 Suspicious changes in wills / power of attorney (particularly LPA)
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
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
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
Effective whistleblowing arrangements are a key control –
 Does your whistleblowing procedure cover third party
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?
The Background
 Sefton Employee and Relative
 Residential Care from 2008
 Financial Assessment / Client Contributions
 Contact from Care Home May 2012
Safeguarding ‘Investigation’
 Ascertain Financial Position / Arrears
 Ensure Placement is not in Danger
 Notify Police
 Appointeeship
 Not a Disciplinary Matter!!!
Personnel / Internal Audit
 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
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
Debt Recovery / Further Actions
 Debt Increases
 Options for Recovery
 Sale of House
 Result!!!
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
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
Any Questions?
It’s the last slide!
“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

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