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 Stoke on Trent City Council as part of a batch sent to 172 authorities

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Dear Stoke on Trent 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

Stoke on Trent City Council

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Dear Ms Schwehr

 

Your request for information ref: SOT-101824

 

Thank you for your request for information about appointeeship.  Your
request was received by the Information Rights Team on 22 March 2021. 
This is being dealt with under the terms of the appropriate Information
Rights legislation.

 

In some circumstances we may charge for information.  If there is a charge
we will let you know, as you will be required to pay this before we deal
with your request.

 

Some information does not have to be released under this legislation.  We
will check the information you have asked for and send you as much as
possible.  If another person or organisation is named in the information,
we may have to ask their opinion before we decide what we can give you.

 

You should expect to receive a response to your request on or before 21
April 2021 in line with the legislation's 20 working day statutory
deadline.

 

For your information we may publish the response to your request on our
City Council's website, which can be found at the following address:
[1]www.stoke.gov.uk.

 

If you have any queries about this email please do not hesitate to contact
us.

 

You can find details of how we handle your personal information by
visiting [2]www.stoke.gov.uk/dataprotection

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights Team

 

Information Rights

Floor 2 Civic Centre Glebe Street

Stoke-on-Trent ST4 1HH

City of Stoke-on-Trent 

t 01782 232853, 01782 233020, 01782 233732, 01782 235965

e [3][Stoke on Trent City Council request email]

Winner – UK Housing Awards Council of the Year 2019

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is a Fostering Friendly employer. Being a
foster carer is truly life changing. If you have a spare room and spare
time, even as little as one weekend a month, you can make a real
difference to a child’s life. Fostering for Stoke-on-Trent City Council
offers a rewarding career with comprehensive training and guidance. Click
here for more information. For more information about becoming a Fostering
Friendly employer please click here.

link for the first Click here  -
[4]https://www.stoke.gov.uk/info/20044/fost...

link for the second click here -
[5]https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/g...

Manage your council tax online and sign up for paperless billing with our
new online account at [6]www.stoke.gov.uk/onlineaccount - and access it
using the MyStoke app, putting fly-tipping, and litter reporting in your
hands at the touch of a button. Available in the [7]App Store and on
[8]Google Play

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2. http://www.stoke.gov.uk/dataprotection
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4. https://www.stoke.gov.uk/info/20044/fost...
5. https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/g...
6. http://www.stoke.gov.uk/onlineaccount
7. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-stoke...
8. https://play.google.com/store/apps/detai...

Stoke on Trent City Council

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Dear Ms Schwehr

 

Your request for information ref. SOT-101824

 

We have now considered your request and a copy of the information is
enclosed below.

 

The information supplied may be used for domestic or journalistic
purposes.  Its use for commercial gain including issuing to the public,
social media or computer blogs may be subject to the issue of a licence
under the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015.

 

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

Response: 374

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

Response: 78

3. Which department is responsible for administering appointeeship?

Response: Strategy and Resources

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

Response: Strategy and Resources

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

Response: 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?  

Response: None

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

Response: This information is not recorded

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

Response: None

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?  

Response: 0

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?  

Response: This information is not recorded

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? 

Response: Its done under general wellbeing but not specifically CA service

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

Response: N/A

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)?  

Response: N/A – Appointeeship is not a chargeable service

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)?  

Response: N/A – council operates appointeeships

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.   

Response: As at 29 March 2021 the Department of Health & Social Care’s
webpage [1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

“We are aware that a legal challenge has been made against the charging
policy of a local authority, and we are currently considering. All local
authorities should continue to act in accordance with the relevant
legislation and guidance.” 

Once an update has been received we shall review our working practises.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to: The Information Rights Manager, Information Rights
Team, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Floor 2, Civic Centre, Glebe Street,
ST4 1HH, or email [2][Stoke on Trent City Council request email].

 

If, after contacting us, you are not content with the outcome, you may ask
the Information Commissioner for a decision.  Before doing this, please
see the following link for guidance from the Information Commissioner
relating to how to use your information rights responsibly and
effectively, to enable you to gain the best outcome from the process -
[3]http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public.

 

Generally, the Information Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you
have already used our internal review procedure. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, tel: 0303 123
1113 or you can visit their website at
[4]https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

 

You can find details of how we handle your personal information by
visiting [5]www.stoke.gov.uk/dataprotection

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights Team

 

Information Rights

City of Stoke-on-Trent

Floor 2  Civic Centre  Glebe Street  Stoke-on-Trent  ST4 1HH

T: 01782 232853, 01782 233020, 01782 233732, 01782 235965

E: [6][Stoke on Trent City Council request email]

 

 

Request

 

Dear Stoke on Trent City Council,To whom it may concern1. 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. RegardsBelinda
Schwehr, CEO, CASCAIDr

Winner – UK Housing Awards Council of the Year 2019

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is a Fostering Friendly employer. Being a
foster carer is truly life changing. If you have a spare room and spare
time, even as little as one weekend a month, you can make a real
difference to a child’s life. Fostering for Stoke-on-Trent City Council
offers a rewarding career with comprehensive training and guidance. Click
here for more information. For more information about becoming a Fostering
Friendly employer please click here.

link for the first Click here  -
[7]https://www.stoke.gov.uk/info/20044/fost...

link for the second click here -
[8]https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/g...

Manage your council tax online and sign up for paperless billing with our
new online account at [9]www.stoke.gov.uk/onlineaccount - and access it
using the MyStoke app, putting fly-tipping, and litter reporting in your
hands at the touch of a button. Available in the [10]App Store and on
[11]Google Play

show quoted sections

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
2. mailto:[Stoke on Trent City Council request email]
3. https://ico.org.uk/for_the_public
4. https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/
5. http://www.stoke.gov.uk/dataprotection
6. mailto:[Stoke on Trent City Council request email]
7. https://www.stoke.gov.uk/info/20044/fost...
8. https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/g...
9. http://www.stoke.gov.uk/onlineaccount
10. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-stoke...
11. https://play.google.com/store/apps/detai...