Moray Council to recover excess money from home care service users

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Moray Council plans to seek a ‘significant’ sum of money from a number of service users who are arranging their own home care packages.

An audit of the financial tracking of self-managed support payments found a total of £45,587 was in the accounts of eight service users which should have been returned to the local authority after not being spent.

Excesses ranged from £618 to £13,285, with claimants only allowed to rack up three months of payments.

Service users must also notify the council if too much money is accumulating.

Of a sample of 15 random care packages surveyed, 13 accounts had not been financially reviewed, including six overdue by more than 12 months and one over two years.

Examinations must be performed by Moray Health and Social Services.

The goal of self-directed support is to empower people to take control of the care they need to help them live independently.

In Moray, 150 adult service users receive payments to arrange their own care at a cost of around £3million a year.

All self-directed support accounts will now be reviewed and action will be taken to recover any excess funds.

The issue was brought before the Audit and Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

Head of audit and risk Dafydd Lewis said: ‘It has been a particularly difficult time for the service, but it has not reviewed care packages in light of agreed timelines.

“The review will result in significant funds flowing back to the council.

“The pandemic is having an impact. Families took care of family members, and service users did not use the full package. »

Independent Forres adviser George Alexander has raised concerns that service users may struggle to find the right care delivery for their needs, resulting in funds not being used.

He said: “I understand the pandemic must have been a problem.

“I just wonder if we can justify service users keeping some of that money.”

Work is underway to make improvements as a result of the audit, including preparing a program to deal with the backlog of outstanding reviews and sending reminders to service users not to allow payments to accumulate.

An annual financial review will be performed on all self-directed support accounts, and support plans will be evaluated annually to ensure service users are receiving the right package of care.

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