One of the areas of focus for 2020 inspections with the Care Inspectorate is Personal finances and how service user access these and how staff ensure that service users have good outcomes from their personal monies.
I therefore thought it would be a good time to look at this area.
The issue of managing service user’s money and/or ensuring it is spent giving them the best outcome has long been an area of concern and scrutiny in the care sector.
As far back as 2009, when the Care Inspectorate and Mental Welfare Commission jointly published “Remember I’m Still Me. One of the main findings was that,
“There was a lack of understanding about financial responsibilities
throughout care homes. There was little creative use of funds to support
the person. This was not seen as being an important part of the duties of
care staff, and there was little evidence of finances being discussed during care reviews”.
In 2015 the Care Inspectorate published online, the Adults with Incapacity (AWI) Register and supporting guidance, to help managers keep a record of the way in which services users’ money was managed and by whom. This register includes a part for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) appointeeship. In this section, there are also ideas and suggestions on what service user’s money can be spent on. This list is not exhaustive.
The Mental Welfare Commission has a valuable publication, “Money Matters,” which lays out clearly what interventions are available, where a service user needs support in managing their finances.
The Office of the Public Guardian for Scotland also provides guidance for relatives, carers, and managers on the use of the Adults with Incapacity Act (Scotland) 2000.
It should be remembered that the management and use of service users’ funds are subject to the same standards as set out in AWI guidance.
8.14 Managers are required to keep financial records in the course of managing resident’s financial affairs. It must also be possible to ascertain any interest due to the resident at any time, especially so if more than one account is being managed. Such records should include the following details:
- an opening balance
- the date of all credits and debits
- the amount of the transaction
- a running balance
- a closing balance
- a narrative that explains the source of the credit/purpose of the debit
- each transaction to be initialed/signed for by a member of staff
- financial commitments made but not yet paid for
- income due but not yet received
- notes from the last review
In keeping with the principles of the Health and Social Care Standards (H&SCS), perhaps now is a good time for managers to review and audit this vital aspect of care provision.