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

The request was successful.

Dear West Sussex County 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

westsussex@infreemation.co.uk, West Sussex County Council

Dear CASCAIDr

Thank you for your request which has been assigned reference FOI/2189

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

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West Sussex County Council

 

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westsussex@infreemation.co.uk, West Sussex County Council

Dear Belinda Schwer

Our Ref: FOI/2189

On 21 March you made the following request for information, which has been
dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

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

We have now completed a search for the information which you requested and
confirm that this Authority holds data relevant to your request.

The response to your request is as follows:

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

752

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

720

3. Which department is responsible for administering appointeeship?

Financial Adult Safeguarding Team

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

Central Residential Charging Team

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?

Data not held. Appointeeship acts in all individual cases in the
customer’s best interest solely.  Any request for payment whether from the
Authority or another financial institution is looked at thoroughly before
payment. Any changes in policy, if incorrect or not in that customer’s
best interest, will be challenged.

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

Data not held (see response to question 6)

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

Data not held (see response to question 6)

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?

None

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?

Data not held (see response to question 6)

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?

Yes, but it does not charge for appointeeship only

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

No charge

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)?

N/A

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)?

N/A

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