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Conflict of Interest in relation to Client Finance/Appointeeship and the possibility that social care charges are unlawful

CASCAIDr made this Freedom of Information request to Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council as part of a batch sent to 172 authorities

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Dear Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council,

To whom it may concern

1. How many individuals is the local authority acting as an appointee for, please?

2. How many of these individuals (in area or out of area) pays adult social care charges to the council for non-residential services?

3. Which department is responsible for administering appointeeship?

4. Which department is responsible for assessing social care charges?

5. How many officers in either department carry out an overlapping role with regard to appointeeship and care charges?

6. How many times has the appointeeship team responded to a consultation on behalf of individuals or any group of benefits claimants regarding a change in the council’s charging policy, since 2015?

7. How many appeals about care charges has the appointeeship team submitted to the financial assessment team since 2015?

8. How many complaints has the appointeeship team submitted regarding care charges since 2015?

9. How many times has the appointeeship team sought or referred individuals they act for, to independent advice (whether third sector, legal aid or privately funded) about care charges, since 2015?

10. How many times has the appointeeship team questioned the accuracy, fairness or legal validity of individuals’ care charges or the council’s charging policy, since 2015?

11. Does the council treat appointeeship as a Care Act service? If so, does it charge for that as part of the Care Act charging system?

12. How much does it charge, if it makes a charge, per month or per week or per year, please?

13. If appointeeship is not provided for through the Care Act, does the council allow for a DRE deduction from Disability Benefits income, for the charge it makes for appointeeship (assuming a person is otherwise chargeable)?

14. If the council does not operate appointeeships for adult social care clients, does the council permit a full DRE deduction from Disability Benefits income, for any charge levied by any other corporate or private appointee (assuming a person is otherwise chargeable)?

15. In respect of all council clients who are currently in receipt of adult social care services, regarded as liable to pay a charge for their adult social care services, for whom the appointee role is currently undertaken - how is the relevant department holding the appointeeship responsibility proposing to manage the conflict of interest presented by the judgment in the Norfolk CC v SH case in December 2020, given that the decision means that other similar policies are presumptively unlawful? Please answer with a sentence or a paragraph; it is suggested that it is not a proper response to say that no decisions have been made, as yet, because the problem already exists.

Regards
Belinda Schwehr, CEO, CASCAIDr. www.CASCAIDr.org.uk

Freedom Of Info, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

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This mailbox is primarily used for Freedom of Information (FOI) and
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Dear Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Conflict of Interest in relation to Client Finance/Appointeeship and the possibility that social care charges are unlawful'.

I note that you have not confirmed or denied whether the authority holds this information, and have not applied an exemption that would remove this obligation.
As you may be aware, Section 1(1) of the FOI Act (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/200...) states that "Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request".
I would be grateful if you could clarify whether or not this information is held, or specify which exemption of the duty to confirm or deny you are applying.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

CASCAIDr

Freedom Of Info, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

This is only an automated message and confirmation that we have received
your email.

 

This mailbox is primarily used for Freedom of Information (FOI) and
Subject Access Requests (SAR’s) as well as other information requests.

 

Further information can be found at
[1]https://www.bolton.gov.uk/data-protectio...

 

Your email will be processed shortly.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Due to the current Coronavirus outbreak you may experience delays when
making information rights requests. Please bear with us during this
period.

>>Corporate Logo<<
This e-mail and any attached files are confidential and may also be
legally privileged. They are intended solely for the intended addressee.
If you are not the addressee please e-mail it back to the sender and then
immediately, permanently delete it. Do not read, print, re-transmit, store
or act in reliance on it. This e-mail may be monitored by Bolton Council
in accordance with current regulations.

This footnote also confirms that this e-mail message has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses currently known to Bolton Council.
However, the recipient is responsible for virus-checking before opening
this message and any attachment.

Unless expressly stated to the contrary, any views expressed in this
message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect
the views of Bolton Council.

http://www.bolton.gov.uk/

References

Visible links
1. https://www.bolton.gov.uk/data-protectio...

Freedom Of Info, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Important:- During this pandemic you may experience understandable delays
when making information requests. Please bear with us during this period.
Dear Belinda Schwehr,

We acknowledge with thanks your request for information held by Bolton
Council received at this office on 21 March 2021.

Can I sincerely apologise that you did not receive a response to your
request which I am investigating.   At this stage it does appear that your
request was not processed due to clerical error.

This request will be considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
and may take up to 20 working days to be processed (although we will
endeavour to provide the information as quickly as possible).

Please be advised that if an exemption applies to the information that you
have requested, the statutory period may be exceeded in accordance with
the provisions of the act.

Please retain the reference number RFI 008439 for any future enquiries
regarding this matter.

Many thanks

John L Curtis
Acting IG team leader

The Information Governance Team

1^st Floor, Town Hall, Bolton, BL1 1RU

 

>>Corporate Logo<<
This e-mail and any attached files are confidential and may also be
legally privileged. They are intended solely for the intended addressee.
If you are not the addressee please e-mail it back to the sender and then
immediately, permanently delete it. Do not read, print, re-transmit, store
or act in reliance on it. This e-mail may be monitored by Bolton Council
in accordance with current regulations.

This footnote also confirms that this e-mail message has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses currently known to Bolton Council.
However, the recipient is responsible for virus-checking before opening
this message and any attachment.

Unless expressly stated to the contrary, any views expressed in this
message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect
the views of Bolton Council.

http://www.bolton.gov.uk/

Dear Freedom Of Info,

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council really should have replied by now.

I note that you have not confirmed or denied whether the authority holds this information, and have not applied an exemption that would remove this obligation.

As you may be aware, Section 1(1) of the FOI Act (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/200...) states that "Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request".

I would be grateful if you could clarify whether or not this information is held, or specify which exemption of the duty to confirm or deny you are applying.

Can you tell us what the problem is, please? Or provide the information to complete the FOI request made 5 months ago (21/03/21).

Yours sincerely,

CASCAIDr

Freedom Of Info, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

This is only an automated message and confirmation that we have received
your email.

 

This mailbox is primarily used for Freedom of Information (FOI) and
Subject Access Requests (SAR’s) as well as other information requests.

 

Further information can be found at
[1]https://www.bolton.gov.uk/data-protectio...

 

Your email will be processed shortly.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Due to the current Coronavirus outbreak you may experience delays when
making information rights requests. Please bear with us during this
period.

>>Corporate Logo<<
This e-mail and any attached files are confidential and may also be
legally privileged. They are intended solely for the intended addressee.
If you are not the addressee please e-mail it back to the sender and then
immediately, permanently delete it. Do not read, print, re-transmit, store
or act in reliance on it. This e-mail may be monitored by Bolton Council
in accordance with current regulations.

This footnote also confirms that this e-mail message has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses currently known to Bolton Council.
However, the recipient is responsible for virus-checking before opening
this message and any attachment.

Unless expressly stated to the contrary, any views expressed in this
message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect
the views of Bolton Council.

http://www.bolton.gov.uk/

References

Visible links
1. https://www.bolton.gov.uk/data-protectio...

Freedom Of Info, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Belinda Schwehr

I refer to your below request for information.

Due to various reasons, your request has taken longer to complete than anticipated. We apologise for the delay and hope to provide you a response by 17.09.2021. Should the information be ready before this date, we will let you have it as soon as it is ready.

I trust this is satisfactory for our purposes. Should you have any enquiries on the matter please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Information Governance Team
Chief Executive’s Department
1st Floor, Town Hall, Bolton, BL1 1RU

show quoted sections

Freedom Of Info, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Belinda Schwehr

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Further to your request for information received at this office on 21
March 2021, please accept our apologies for the delayed response.

You Requested
1. How many individuals is the local authority acting as an appointee for,
please? 2. How many of these individuals (in area or out of area) pays
adult social care charges to the council for non-residential services? 3.
Which department is responsible for administering appointeeship? 4. Which
department is responsible for assessing social care charges? 5. How many
officers in either department carry out an overlapping role with regard to
appointeeship and care charges? 6. How many times has the appointeeship
team responded to a consultation on behalf of individuals or any group of
benefits claimants regarding a change in the council’s charging policy,
since 2015? 7. How many appeals about care charges has the appointeeship
team submitted to the financial assessment team since 2015? 8. How many
complaints has the appointeeship team submitted regarding care charges
since 2015? 9. How many times has the appointeeship team sought or
referred individuals they act for, to independent advice (whether third
sector, legal aid or privately funded) about care charges, since 2015? 10.
How many times has the appointeeship team questioned the accuracy,
fairness or legal validity of individuals’ care charges or the council’s
charging policy, since 2015? 11. Does the council treat appointeeship as a
Care Act service? If so, does it charge for that as part of the Care Act
charging system? 12. How much does it charge, if it makes a charge, per
month or per week or per year, please? 13. If appointeeship is not
provided for through the Care Act, does the council allow for a DRE
deduction from Disability Benefits income, for the charge it makes for
appointeeship (assuming a person is otherwise chargeable)? 14. If the
council does not operate appointeeships for adult social care clients,
does the council permit a full DRE deduction from Disability Benefits
income, for any charge levied by any other corporate or private appointee
(assuming a person is otherwise chargeable)? 15. In respect of all council
clients who are currently in receipt of adult social care services,
regarded as liable to pay a charge for their adult social care services,
for whom the appointee role is currently undertaken - how is the relevant
department holding the appointeeship responsibility proposing to manage
the conflict of interest presented by the judgment in the Norfolk CC v SH
case in December 2020, given that the decision means that other similar
policies are presumptively unlawful? Please answer with a sentence or a
paragraph; it is suggested that it is not a proper response to say that no
decisions have been made, as yet, because the problem already exists.

Our Response
In accordance with Section 1 (1) of the Act the Authority has a duty to
confirm whether it holds the information of the description specified in
the request and if that is the case, to have the information communicated
to the requester. Some of the information you have requested is not held
by the Authority. Please see below for a point by point response to your
request:

 1. How many individuals is the local authority acting as an appointee
for, please?

Currently 498

 2. How many of these individuals (in area or out of area) pays adult
social care charges to the council for non-residential services?

Currently 433 clients in receipt of non-residential services

 3. Which department is responsible for administering appointeeship?

Department of People

 4. Which department is responsible for assessing social care charges?

Department of People

 5. How many officers in either department carry out an overlapping role
with regard to appointeeship and care charges?

2 Officers

 6. How many times has the appointeeship team responded to a consultation
on behalf of individuals or any group of benefits claimants regarding
a change in the council’s charging policy, since 2015?

A large consultation was carried out involving c.3,300 people in receipt
of non-residential care services at the time of the last change in the
Council’s charging policy in 2018. They were invited to take part in the
consultation, in which 677 responses were received during the two months
the survey was open.

The post consultation report can be accessed via the following link:
[1]Post Consultation on proposed changes to paying for Non-Residential
care (Fairer contribution policy)

 

 7. How many appeals about care charges has the appointeeship team
submitted to the financial assessment team since 2015?

There have been no formal appeals. Where care charges have been queried,
they are usually resolved between the teams, and the outcomes and
clarifications explained to the client.

 8. How many complaints has the appointeeship team submitted regarding
care charges since 2015?

None. There have been no formal complaints. Care Charge queries have been
resolved within the teams.

 9. How many times has the appointeeship team sought or referred
individuals they act for, to independent advice (whether third sector,
legal aid or privately funded) about care charges, since 2015?

Information not held.

10. How many times has the appointeeship team questioned the accuracy,
fairness or legal validity of individuals’ care charges or the
council’s charging policy, since 2015?

Information not held. This information is not recorded. Where the outcome
of an assessment is under query, both teams will work in collaboration to
investigate and resolve the issue as part of usual business process.

11. Does the council treat appointeeship as a Care Act service? If so,
does it charge for that as part of the Care Act charging system?

No

12. How much does it charge, if it makes a charge, per month or per week
or per year, please?

Value of Client Charge for Residential Clients Charge for Non-Residential
Funds Clients
£0 - £1000 No charge No Charge
£1001 - £1999 £51 per year plus VAT £51 per year plus VAT
£2000 - £15999 £5.10 per week plus VAT £10.20 per week plus VAT
£16000 and above Consideration is given to Consideration is given to
referring for deputyship referring for deputyship

 

13. If appointeeship is not provided for through the Care Act, does the
council allow for a DRE deduction from Disability Benefits income, for
the charge it makes for appointeeship (assuming a person is otherwise
chargeable)?

No

14. If the council does not operate appointeeships for adult social care
clients, does the council permit a full DRE deduction from Disability
Benefits income, for any charge levied by any other corporate or
private appointee (assuming a person is otherwise chargeable)?

Not applicable

15. In respect of all council clients who are currently in receipt of
adult social care services, regarded as liable to pay a charge for
their adult social care services, for whom the appointee role is
currently undertaken - how is the relevant department holding the
appointeeship responsibility proposing to manage the conflict of
interest presented by the judgment in the Norfolk CC v SH case in
December 2020, given that the decision means that other similar
policies are presumptively unlawful? Please answer with a sentence or
a paragraph; it is suggested that it is not a proper response to say
that no decisions have been made, as yet, because the problem already
exists.

This is not a request which falls to be responded to under access to
information legislation. It does not relate to information held nor
matters of information

As per the Information Commissioners Office’s Freedom of Information Code
of Practice, should you disagree with our decision, you may appeal within
40 working days of this email to:
The Borough Solicitor, Bolton Council, Town Hall, Bolton, BL1 1RU
Email: [2][email address]

Should you further disagree with the decision following the appeal you may
wish to contact the Information Commissioner:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
[3]www.ico.org.uk
Tel: 01625 545700, Fax: 01625 524510

Should you have any other queries regarding this please contact
[4][email address]

Yours sincerely

Information Governance Team

Chief Executive’s Department

1^st Floor, Town Hall, Bolton, BL1 1RU

 

>>Corporate Logo<<
This e-mail and any attached files are confidential and may also be
legally privileged. They are intended solely for the intended addressee.
If you are not the addressee please e-mail it back to the sender and then
immediately, permanently delete it. Do not read, print, re-transmit, store
or act in reliance on it. This e-mail may be monitored by Bolton Council
in accordance with current regulations.

This footnote also confirms that this e-mail message has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses currently known to Bolton Council.
However, the recipient is responsible for virus-checking before opening
this message and any attachment.

Unless expressly stated to the contrary, any views expressed in this
message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect
the views of Bolton Council.

http://www.bolton.gov.uk/

References

Visible links
1. http://www.democracy.bolton.gov.uk/CMIS5...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ico.org.uk/
4. mailto:[email address]

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are CASCAIDr please sign in and let everyone know.