Adult Social Care Appointee and Court Deputyship Service
If someone lacks the mental capacity to manage their money and is incapable of managing their finances, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out who can make decisions on their behalf.
What we mean by incapable
Labelling a person as incapable of managing their own finances is a serious matter. It should never be done without looking at the whole situation.
There is a difference between people who are incapable of handling their own finances and those who have physical difficulties doing so, for example, because they cannot physically get to the bank or building society.
Where a person has the mental capacity to manage their finances, we have no legal right to become involved in managing their finances.
A qualified person must look at the person’s situation in detail (through an assessment) before they decide the person is incapable.
Everyone’s circumstances will be different. Generally, a person could be considered incapable of handling their own financial affairs if:
- they have a mental health illness, dementia, brain injury or learning disability
- after a mental capacity assessment, it appears they do not understand the value of money or are unable to make informed decisions about how to manage/budget it.
Appointee and Court Deputy Team
If the person has no friends or family to assist, or has been deemed to be at risk of financial abuse, our Appointee and Court Deputy Team may be able to take over responsibility for:
- receiving benefits
- paying bills
- repaying debts
- budgeting, and so on
The aim of the Appointee and Court Deputy Team is to act as a service of last resort for people who lack the mental capacity to manage their finances and have no family or friends to look after their affairs.
We will try to safeguard them by making sure that:
- they have sufficient money provided as personal allowance for regular expenditure
- protect client’s financial wellbeing
- all bills are paid punctually
We will manage their benefits, pensions, and other income in accordance with both DWP and Court of Protection rules and regulations.
Above all, we will always make any decisions with the best interests of the person in mind.
What we can do when dealing with someone's financial affairs
The team accepts referrals from social workers within Birmingham City Council.
Once it is agreed that the Appointee and Court Deputy Team will manage someone’s financial affairs, we will:
- make applications to the Court of Protection and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to give us the authority to act and make decisions on the person’s behalf
- maximise the client's state benefits
- agree a weekly budget for the person
- pay any debts
- set up direct debits for any regular essential bills
- monitor the person’s finances
- liaise with the Court of Protection, Benefits Agency, financial institutions, utility providers and other linked companies
Why we apply to the Court of Protection
We manage certain cases through the Court of Protection depending on the complexities.
This means we can make sure that people who have savings and assets such as private pensions are protected and that appropriate decisions are made on their behalf, including being able to sign tenancy agreements and other legal documents.
The Court of Protection will monitor and supervise the deputy to check they are acting appropriately, and in the best interests of the client.
Is there a charge for this service?
We charge for deputyships in line with the practice directions set out by the Court of Protection for local authority deputies.
What we will not do
- manage the financial affairs of anyone who is mentally capable of doing this for themselves, even if they need some help from support workers to do this
- be responsible for delivering cash directly to clients
- take over any of the responsibilities of the care manager or social worker
Occasionally, we may not have the resources or expertise to be able to take on or retain cases that meet certain criteria, such as:
- high value - for example, net assets over £30,000 and/or owning property
- litigation/legal issues
- overseas assets
In these cases, if and where it is deemed to be in the person's best interests, the council may signpost the case, or apply to the court, for a professional deputy (panel deputy) to be appointed. This is a company approved by the Court of Protection to deal with a person's property and finances as a Court Appointed Deputy.
A professional (panel) deputy’s fees may be higher than the fees the council can charge. This is because they deal with more complex and higher value cases.
Remember, the council will only consider the use of a panel deputy where there are complex issues deemed outside of the council's remit or expertise, and where it is felt to be in the person's best interests.
Ultimately, the Court of Protection will decide who can become a deputy.
Page last updated: 21 June 2023