1. Introduction

Where Hull City Council has taken on the role of Corporate Appointee or Public Authority Deputy for someone, it is essential that regular monitoring and review takes place. This is to ensure that:

  • the appointeeship or deputyship is still necessary;
  • the person’s assets are managed in their best interest and are maximised;
  • that all state benefits and other forms of income are accessed on the person’s behalf;
  • that timely action is taken when the person for whom the City Council act as an appointee reaches the asset threshold for financial deputyship.

2. Scope

Hull City Council is the corporate appointee and the Director of Adult Social Services (DASS) is the named Public Authority Deputy. In line with guidance from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) authority to act has been delegated to officers in Adult Social Care and Shared Services. This guidance note applies equally to all officers involved in the management, administration and monitoring of corporate appointeeships and public authority deputyships.

3. Thresholds

3.1 Appointeeship

Someone may require the local authority to act as appointee only if all of the following criteria are met:

  • the person has been assessed as lacking the mental capacity to manage their own financial affairs;
  • the person’s only income is state benefits and they have no other substantial assets;
  • there is no one who holds a relevant Power of Attorney or financial deputyship on behalf of the person;
  • there is no one else who is suitable, willing and able to act as appointee for them.

3.2 Deputyship

Someone may require the local authority to apply to the Court of Protection for public authority deputyship only if all of the following criteria are met:

  • the person has been assessed as lacking the mental capacity to manage their own financial affairs
  • the person has a private income in addition to state benefits or has assets worth more than £5,000
  • there is no one who holds a relevant Power of Attorney or financial deputyship on behalf of the person
  • there is no one else who is suitable, willing and able to apply for deputyship on their behalf

4. Roles and Responsibilities

4.1 Director of Adult Social Services

The Director of Adult Social Services (DASS) is responsible for:

  • overseeing the process and ensuring everyone with delegated responsibility discharges those responsibilities in line with guidance from the DWP and the OPG and in line with Hull City Council guidance, policies and procedures;
  • ensuring sufficient resources are made available to manage, monitor and review appointeeships and deputyships;
  • establishing clear governance arrangements, including the raising and escalating of concerns;
  • maintaining a record of all staff with delegated responsibilities, including signatories;
  • ensuring that adequate financial, security, management, organisational and quality control systems are in place;
  • ensuring that all decisions taken are free from any conflict of interest, be it personal or organisational;
  • ensuring everyone with delegated responsibilities have access to suitable learning opportunities in relation to:
    • the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the associated Code of Practice;
    • Court of Protection practice and procedures;
    • DWP requirements;
    • the role of the Public Guardian;
    • accessing advice on benefit entitlement, Continuing Health Care eligibility, section 117 entitlement and the implications of these on charges for care and support;
    • accessing advice on investments, savings and property.

4.2 Adult Social Care

Adult Social Care Department is responsible for:

  • identifying people who may require corporate appointeeship or deputyship;
  • carrying out formal assessments of mental capacity;
  • carrying out an annual review of the person which ascertains the best way to meet their needs and what action needs to be taken to promote their best interest;
  • liaising with the person, their family, friends and carers to complete the application paperwork for the DWP or the CoP;
  • ensuring relevant people, including the person, their family, friends, carers and support providers are aware of the arrangements proposed or made in respect of appointeeship or deputyship;
  • ascertaining and recording the person’s past and present wishes and spending patterns;
  • carrying out annual reviews of the person’s financial needs, expenditure and proposed expenditure, including gifting, to make sure the person obtains the maximum benefit from their available assets
  • contributing to the protection of the person from financial abuse by acting on any concerns and escalating them where necessary to the safeguarding team and / or the police;
  • arranging the schedule of the operational group to conduct reviews.

4.3 Shared Services

Shared Services are responsible for:

  • issuing forms in relation to the application process for Public Authority Deputyship or appointeeship and for co-ordinating the process;
  • identifying individuals due for review and circulating their details to the relevant social work teams one month in advance of the review date;
  • identifying and securing assets, savings and investments
  • notifying banks, other financial institutions and any income provider (e.g. private pension provider) of the court order authorising Deputyship;
  • referring person for benefits check;
  • maximising the person’s income. This may include:
    • seeking independent financial advice;
    • recovering money owed to the person;
    • seeking property management advice;
  • locating the person’s will and coordinating the process of making a statutory will if required;
  • administering the person’s finances including payment of bills;
  • securing and maintaining the person’s property. This will include:
    • carrying out regular visits to real estate property to make sure it is secure and well maintained;
    • carrying out an inventory of the person’s property;
    • arranging storage of moveable property where appropriate;
    • ensuring appropriate insurances and certificates (e.g. gas certificates) are in place;
  • disposing of the person’s property, under the direction of the operational group and in accordance with the law and with relevant guidance or Court orders;
  • terminating tenancy, via court order if necessary;
  • contributing to annual reviews for the person;
  • completing the Deputy’s annual report;
  • carry out regular billing of deputy’s costs

4.4 Operational Group

The Operational Group are responsible for:

  • carrying out joint reviews for people;
  • decision making with regard to the disposal of property and applying to the Court to sell major assets (e.g. the person’s house);
  • escalating any concerns which cannot be otherwise resolved to the board

4.5 Public Authority Deputyship and Appointeeship Board

The Public Authority Deputyship and appointeeship Board is responsible for:

  • reviewing the process, policy and procedure in line with the law;
  • monitoring the process and making requirements for corrective action if necessary;
  • identifying and agreeing the resources necessary for the local authority to fulfil its duties in respect of Public Authority Deputyship and appointeeship.

5. Communication

Ongoing communication between officers with delegated responsibility is vital for the efficient and effective discharge of the local authority’s responsibilities with regard to deputyships and appointeeships. Named lead officers should be identified from each team who will be responsible for co-ordinating the work of their team and for ensuring effective communication takes place between individuals contributing to the process.
Any issues arising in respect of someone for whom the local authority holds an appointeeship or deputyship which might affect that appointeeship or deputyship should be discussed between the named workers or between the lead officers if there is no named worker.

Any issues which cannot be resolved should be escalated to the operational group, which must meet at least once a month.

6. Review

Everyone should have a review at least annually and more frequently if their individual circumstances require it. The review panel must consist of at least one officer from shared services and the lead officer from the social work team responsible for the person’s care and support. If someone is not receiving care support, the lead officer from the team which would be responsible if they were must take on the duties of the adult social care team as outlined at 4.2 above.

The details of the people to be reviewed should be circulated to the teams at least one month in advance of the meeting of the operational group which will carry out the review. Workers from adult social care and shared services should be allocated to carry out the relevant tasks outlined in Sections 4.2 and 4.3 above.

The review itself should consider the following:

  • whether the person still lacks capacity;
  • whether the person still requires appointeeship or deputyship;
  • whether a person subject to appointeeship has reached the financial threshold for deputyship
  • whether the person’s key details have changed;
  • whether the person is receiving all the state benefits or other income to which they are entitled;
  • whether there are any key decisions to be made in the next 12 months, for example the sale of property or a major purchase;
  • whether the list of people to be consulted in relation to the making of key decisions is up to date
  • identifying the contact which has been made with the person in the last 12 months and the contact which needs to be made in the next 12 months;
  • what care and support is being provided, who pays for it and whether an application to any other funding stream should be made (e.g. Continuing Health Care);
  • what the person’s assets are, how they are being managed and whether they should be managed differently;
  • agreeing an outline spending plan for the next 12 months which takes account of day to day expenses, payment for care and support, gifts the person wishes to make or would make if they had capacity, major purchases such as a holiday, furniture, electrical goods, replacement of clothing etc;
  • any property maintenance issues e.g. home insurance, gas boiler safety checks, repairs to the property etc;
  • the need for the sale of property and the drawing up of a detailed plan for same where necessary;
  • the making or liquidation of investments;
  • the need for independent financial advice and the drawing up of a detailed plan for the same where necessary.

The list is not exhaustive and if there is any other matter which is relevant to the effective discharge of the responsibilities of an appointee or deputy by the local authority, this must be raised and discussed.
Where actions are identified in relation to an individual, a named person must be identified to carry them out within a set timescale and these should be monitored at future meetings of the operational group.
Any concerns which cannot be resolved or any actions which are outstanding for two or more meetings of the operational group should be escalated to the board. If the matter is urgent or high risk it should be escalated to the Public Authority Deputy as soon as is reasonable.

7. Audit and External Review

The way in which the local authority manages appointeeships and deputyships is subject to external as we as internal audit and review. Any guidance, standards or recommendations provided by audit, the DWP, the Office of the Public Guardian or the Court of Protection either through practice directions or case law must be considered by the board and acted upon. The board will do this by:

  1. requiring action from the operational group;
  2. requiring action by lead officers;
  3. amending policy, procedure and guidance as necessary;
  4. any combination of the above.

Hull City Council audit section will carry out an audit annually and will provide an overall judgement and recommendations for improvement.

The Office of the Public Guardian will carry out periodic inspections and will provide an overall judgement and recommendations for action. If they have serious concerns about the performance of a local authority, they can petition the Court of Protection to rescind the deputyships held by that local authority.

The DWP does not carry out inspections of corporate appointees, but will respond to any concerns raised in relation to the way in which a local authority carries out its duties. In cases of serious concern, it will rescind the appointeeships held by that local authority.