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 Portsmouth City Council as part of a batch sent to 172 authorities

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Dear Portsmouth City 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

FOI, Portsmouth City Council

1 Attachment

 

Information Governance, Corporate Services
Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL
Telephone:    023 92 834385
                                               

                                                                       
 
Reference: FOI2021/0367
 
Dear Belinda Schwehr
 
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 21st March 2021.
 
Your request is being considered and, subject to the points made below,
you will receive the information requested as promptly as possible within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.
 
If we need to obtain more information from you in order to understand what
information you require, we will contact you. If this is the case, the 20
days time limit will not commence until your request has been clarified.
 
The Act defines a number of exemptions that may prevent release of certain
information.  The City Council will consider whether any of these
exemptions apply and, where required by the Act, whether it is in the
public interest to release the information.  If we have to make a public
interest test, the 20 day time limit might be extended. We will inform you
if the time scale has to be extended and if any information is withheld
and of your rights of appeal.
 
The City Council would like to make you aware that disclosure of
information obtained through FOIA is a disclosure into the public domain.
 
The City Council’s standard approach is to provide the information in the
form in which we hold it.  If you require alternative formats, e.g. audio,
large print, etc. or a different language, please let me know and we will
provide it if reasonably practicable to do so. If your request is a
question and we do not hold the answer in recorded form we will try and
provide an answer where we are able unless it requires the creation of new
information.
 
There may be a fee payable for this information request and we will send
you a Fees Notice if this is the case. Any fee must be paid before the
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time limit.
 
Any personal information you provide in relation to this request will only
be used for the purposes of processing your request for information.
 
If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Corporate
Information Governance Officer at Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices,
Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2AL, telephone 023 92
834385, e-mail [1][email address].
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
                                                                                               
           
Wendy Burton
FOI Officer
 
 
 

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FOI, Portsmouth City Council

1 Attachment

 
Information Governance, Corporate Services
Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL
Telephone:    023 92 834385
 
 
Our Ref: FOI2021/0367
 
Dear Belinda Schwehr
                                   
INFORMATION REQUEST – FOI2021/0367 - Conflict of Interest in relation to
Client Finance/Appointeeship and the possibility that social care charges
are unlawful
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 21^st March 2021,
which was considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
 
In accordance with the Act, Portsmouth City Council confirms it holds the
information in part.
 
 
YOUR REQUEST AND OUR RESPONSE:
 
1. How many individuals is the local authority acting as an appointee for,
please?
294 
2. How many of these individuals (in area or out of area) pays adult
social care charges to the council for non-residential services?
210
3. Which department is responsible for administering appointeeship?
Appointeeship - Adult Social Care (ASC) Finance
4. Which department is responsible for assessing social care charges?
Financial Assessments and Benefits team - ASC Finance
5. How many officers in either department carry out an overlapping role
with regard to appointeeship and care charges?
None
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?
No change in ASC charging policy since 2015.
7. How many appeals about care charges has the appointeeship team
submitted to the financial assessment team since 2015?
Information not held
8. How many complaints has the appointeeship team submitted regarding care
charges since 2015?
Information not held
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

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?
£4.00 per week - Res
£10.00 per week - Community
 
Please note that where hardship is apparent charges are waived. This is a
flat rate charge and not considered part of the Care Act Charging Policy.
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)?
No
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.
 
We do not hold any information on this matter, additionally I confirm that
Portsmouth is already undertaking a review of its Adult Social Care
position and this is ongoing in line with NAFAO and ADASS initial
guidance.  However, whilst this is ongoing we are still waiting further
guidance from ADASS and NAFAO, so are not in a position to provide any
information in relation to Appointeeship's responsibilities.
 
Under the Re- Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 (SI
2015/1415) the supplied information may not be re-used without obtaining
the permission of Portsmouth City Council.
We trust that our response fulfils your request, however, you have the
right to appeal against this outcome or to complain about our treatment of
your request.  If you wish to do so, please set out in writing your
grounds of complaint and send to the Corporate Information Governance
Officer at Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square,
Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2AL, telephone 023 92 834385, e-mail
[1][email address]. Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of
the complaints decision you may wish to follow the Portsmouth City
Council’s Compliments and Complaints procedure which can be found on the
Portsmouth City Council website or by contacting the Civic Offices.
 
Once these processes have been exhausted you have a further right of
appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
 
 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
[2]https://ico.org.uk
 
Yours sincerely
 
Sharlotte Hughes
Information Governance Specialist
 
Portsmouth City Council
Civic Offices
Portsmouth
PO1 2BQ
 
T: 023 9288 2659
E: [3][email address]
E: [4][Portsmouth City Council request email]
[5]www.portsmouth.gov.uk
 
 
 

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