Agenda item

Client Finance Support Unit Report


Shaer Halewood, Director of Finance and Investment (S151) introduced her report that provide an update and assurance to members on an item of note regarding the Client Finance Support Team brought to the attention of the Members in the Chief Internal Auditors report (Section 3.3.5) for year ended 31 March 2019. The report informed that The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) provided for powers to be granted by the Court of Protection to a Local Authority Deputy in order for them to make best interests decisions about an incapacitated person, in any setting, in relation to their property and financial affairs. This Deputyship was applied in circumstances where there was no other person willing or able to act on their behalf.  Where a person’s income is state benefits, the team may also apply for an Appointeeship to the Department for Work and Pensions to manage these benefits and assist with a resident’s day to day financial affairs. The Local Authority Deputy (Director of Adult Social Care & Health) delegates these responsibilities to the team workers in the Client Finance Support Team. The report further informed that all activities that the team undertake and are committed to meeting were set out in the service specification (Section 75 agreement) as part of the Wirral Health and Care Commissioning arrangements for health and adult social care integration.



The Director of Finance and Investment’s report provided a summary of the following key areas:


  • Process Review
  • Improvement Plan
  • Legacy Issues


Members were apprised that the project remained on plan with most of the actions required delivered by October 2019.  At the time of writing, the areas of the improvement plan requiring completion wee, new banking arrangements for Clients to replace inefficient processes, and the IT implementation of a Financial Protection Module to ensure records are electronic with greater visibility and management oversight of activity.  This work had started, and the plan was that these will be in place no later than March 2020.


The Director of Finance and Investment provided assurance that no mismanagement had been identified and staff had been trying to do their best for clients, sometimes putting themselves at risk e.g. transporting valuable items from service user’s homes to be secured safely in the office. This, and other identified matters were identified as part of the improvement plan attached at Appendix 1 to her report. The Director informed that a working group had been established and the initial action plan was being worked through.


In response to a Member question regarding the return of all possessions, the Director informed that the bulk of such items had all been returned to client or appointed executive, however where persons could not be identified these would be handled by HM Treasury.


A Member sought assurance that on methods used to ensure procedures were watertight and there was no financial mismanagement of Client’s / Service User’s affairs.


The Director of Finance and Investment responded, stating that in most circumstances 2 people handled Client’s financial matters, and having spoken to the team, it was clear they were passionate about the people they managed, often visiting in their spare time, above and beyond their normal duties to ensure receipt of proper care - an extremely diligent team. New processes now included 2 people, taking pictures, assess level of vulnerability, items described and logged, and cash transport procedures arranged.


The Director of Finance and Investment provided further assurance regarding the clear roles and responsibilities of the client support team and social workers, and that significant advice had been taken from legal as part of the Support Unit review. Additionally, communication had also taken place with hospitals to ensure mapping of needs and criteria – with some flexibility built in.


The Chair thanked The Director of Finance and Investment for her report.


Resolved – That the report be noted.

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