Agenda item

Progress Report on Reimbursement in Relation to Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA)


Further to minute 95 (24 March 2010), the Director of Adult Social Services provided an update on progress in the implementation of reimbursement to certain residents and former residents of Bermuda Road, Curlew Way and Edgehill Road supported living establishments in Moreton, following the agreement of the Cabinet (minute 256 (14 January 2010) refers) to the recommendations of this Committee.


The Director reported that of the sixteen individuals, who had been identified as eligible for a payment, four were now deceased and reimbursement payments had been made to their next of kin. Each of the remaining twelve people had been provided with an independent advocate, ten with Wirral Mind, one with Mencap and one with Advocacy in Wirral. He reported that a task force had met on a regular basis since February 2010 in order to the review progress with advocates on individual cases and to discuss any issues. Those meetings were attended by advocates, Weightmans Solicitors and Council staff (including officers from finance, welfare benefits and operational areas). In response to a comment from the Chair, the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management confirmed that although Weightmans Solicitors had been appointed to represent the Council, their attendance was to ensure that the reimbursement process was carried out in a proper and lawful manner. The Council had accepted that it was liable and the role of Weightmans was non-adversarial and intended to be supportive.


The Director of Adult Social Services reported that, in May 2010, a letter had been received from the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), who had been made aware of the proposed reimbursements and had identified potential safeguarding concerns in relation to substantial sums of money being paid to vulnerable adults who may not have the capacity to make their own decisions. The OPG had advised that capacity assessments should be completed in respect of all individuals and that, where they did not have capacity, it would be appropriate for applications to be made to the Court of Protection. Of nine initial assessments completed, there was an indication that eight individuals did not have the capacity to make decisions around financial matters. Referrals had been arranged for formal assessments of those eight individuals, which is a requirement of the Court of Protection. The Director proposed that the Department would make applications to the Court where there was not an appropriate person or family member willing to do so. The outcome of the three remaining initial assessments was awaited. The Director confirmed that the one payment already made was to a person who did have capacity.


In response to a question from a Member in relation to the timescales for the completion of the work to reimburse the remaining eleven individuals, the Director indicated that there was a desire to conclude the process as soon as possible. Although the pace of work had been guided by work undertaken with advocates, he commented that it was now dependent upon the progress of the applications to the Court of Protection.


Resolved –


(1)  That the report be noted.


(2)  That the final details of reimbursements to individuals be reported to the Cabinet.


(3)  That an update report be presented to the January 2011 meeting of the Committee.

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