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Martin Searle Solicitors

Case Study: Professional Deputy Instructions – File Audits

Summary

How Cate Searle and Chloe Smith provided advice following file audits on a Professional Deputy’s private client and personal injury matters, which identified community care law issues.

The situation

Elaine, the Head of a Private Client department in Croydon, approached Cate for assistance on her department’s Professional Deputy matters. Elaine’s Private Client team acted as personal injury solicitors; a few members of the team also acted as professional Deputies for the clients who did not have mental capacity.

After reading a client’s care needs assessment from Social Services, Elaine felt concerned it did not adequately describe the client’s diagnoses nor his care and support needs. It appeared as though the client would be unable to remain living in his own home. He had always expressed that this was of great importance to him before losing capacity.

Elaine had also found that two of her team’s cases involved not only personal injury, but also NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments. The Professional Deputy handling that matter did not have experience in this area. Elaine wanted to ensure that all funding options were considered by the Professional Deputies, and the matters reviewed where necessary to ensure that their client’s Best Interests were being met – in terms of both their welfare and their care home fees funding.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Cate and Chloe conducted 25 file audits to ensure that each case had been considered from community care law perspective to supplement the excellent work in the other legal matters undertaken by the Deputies for their clients. They provided advice packs on each case that required further action. The matters that did not require any further action received a summary review highlighting future potential issues and dates for further review by the Deputy.

The result

We identified ten clients who had never been assessed for their potential eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare. Three clients did not meet the NHS Checklist criteria but the remaining seven were put forward for CHC assessments. Five of those seven were immediately found eligible for the FNC weekly payment and two of those seven were also found eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare thus conserving those clients’ assets considerably.

The file audits revealed other minor action points such as checking the client’s entitlement to benefits. We also helped the Deputies challenge several care needs assessments on a consultancy basis which resulted in an increase to some of the client’s Social Services personal budgets. Elaine asked us to take on one case in which we found potential allegations of deprivation of capital to avoid care home fees by family members and conducted further case work investigation on the Deputy’s behalf. Social Services raised concerns about that client’s spouse and capital expenditure over the nine years before the deputy took over, which eventually progressed to a full financial investigation in which we represented the Professional Deputy to reach a satisfactory conclusion for the client.

If you are a Professional Deputy or Attorney and require advice and assistance on any community care law matter, we can help.

Contact us today on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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