How Does The PDS Become Responsible for Supporting a Person’s Finances?
We do this in three ways:
- When the person has mental capacity to choose to make a Power of Attorney relationship – we will act as attorney.
- If a person lacks capacity to make a Power of Attorney and lacks mental capacity to manage their finances – we will act as Deputy for Property and Financial Affairs
- When a person wants support to receive and manage health and social care direct payments – we act as the nominated person
Deputy for Property and Financial Affairs
Parliament passed The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) so that adults who are not able to manage their own finances are protected. The MCA works on the principle that a person is presumed to have capacity to make decisions about what is important in their lives.
The Court of Protection will appoint a Deputy if it is satisfied that the person lacks capacity to manage their finances generally. The PDS will become a Court appointed Deputy in these circumstances.
However, the principles of the MCA still apply. Even if the PDS is a Deputy for Property and Financial Affairs, if a person can make a decision, with appropriate support, then they make the decision and not the Deputy.
The PDS is usually asked to support an individual after a decision has been made that they cannot look after their finances by themselves. A social care or health professional will usually have reached this conclusion.
We may then be approached and asked to act either by the family, the support provider or social worker. We then ask The Court of Protection for an Order which appoints The Professional Deputy Service as the person’s Deputy for Property and Financial Affairs. The Court of Protection will ask everyone connected to the person if there is any objection, including the person themselves.
The Court will also ask why a Deputy is needed, especially if the person only has a benefit income and no other resources. We have many families and support teams who say that The PDS brings greater independence and more dignity to the person supported, even if benefits are the only income.
See Why Choose Us for more information about the added benefit we bring.
Power of Attorney
Anyone can appoint another person to be their attorney to manage their finances or even decisions about their health and welfare, as long as they have capacity to make that decision. The attorney can be a family member or friend or a professional attorney such as a solicitor.
We support a number of persons through a Power of Attorney agreement. The person appointing us as attorney often has much more ability to make decisions and less support from support organisations. We must follow the Mental Capacity Act and support the person to make the decision themselves, where they are able to. We have found we tend to spend much more time supporting people to make decisions about their finances under this arrangement. There is more information about these in How Much We Cost.
We do support some people only with receiving the monies and managing the bills due from their social care direct payment. We do not employ support assistants but will contract with an agency for care, monitor account levels, report to the County Council or the NHS on use of money, manage payment arrangements, such as opening a bank account and paying bills.
We are also keen to develop much greater use of Individual Service Funds for supported living. This is when the person supported asks for their direct payment to go to the support provider. The PDS will act as the nominated person with an Individual Service Fund so bringing independent fund oversight and accountability to the support provider. We believe that a person who lacks capacity to manage their finances should also have the right to the more personalised support provided by an Individual Service Fund.