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5.11.8 Children Looked After & Care Leavers Trust Panel Arrangements

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This guidance sets out the process to be followed when seeking to establish arrangements for managing and overseeing financial assets on behalf of children looked after and care leavers who are the responsibility of Hertfordshire Children’s Services; some of whom may subsequently receive support from Hertfordshire Adult Services.

AMENDMENT

Section 1, Background, was revised and updated in March 2017. A new Appendix 1: Trust Panel Pre-Meeting Template and Trust Panel Agenda Template was also added for detailed information requirements and pre-meeting template.


Contents

  1. Background
  2. Process for Establishing the Trust/Financial Management Arrangements
  3. Financial (Trust) Panel Arrangement Meetings

    Appendix 1: Trust Panel Pre-Meeting Template and Trust Panel Agenda Template


1. Background

This guidance sets out the process to be followed when seeking to establish arrangements for managing and overseeing financial assets on behalf of children looked after and care leavers who are the responsibility of Hertfordshire Children’s Services; some of whom may subsequently receive support from Hertfordshire Adult Services. Given that the nature and amount of each award, legacy or financial asset will differ, as will the circumstances of each child/young person, the outcome of the process will vary and may result in a variety of trust types, or oversight arrangements. Factors to be considered when developing financial management and/or trust arrangements will need to take account of some, or all of the following issues:

  1. The age and ability of the child/young person;
  2. Whether they are likely to have, or lack ‘Capacity’ at the age of 16;
  3. The amount of award or financial asset;
  4. The risks posed to the child/young person from others and the potential for financial exploitation;
  5. Any pre-existing arrangements for managing the award/financial asset, i.e. if the asset is held in an estate, trust or has pre-existing conditions attached.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the guidance regarding Criminal Injuries Compensation Awards:

  1. Applying for awards;
  2. Supporting young people to manage awards.

The guidance also constitutes the terms of reference for the ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ process and meeting.


2. Process for Establishing the Trust/Financial Management Arrangements

At the point a child/young person becomes looked after, an audit should be undertaken regarding any financial assets that the child/young person has and/or will receive prior to, or at the age of 18. Where a child/young person looked after has, received, or is anticipated to receive a financial award, or accumulate financial assets in excess of £6000.00 (either as a single amount or in aggregate) or more, a ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting should be take place.


3. Financial (Trust) Panel Arrangement Meetings

The £6,000.00 lower threshold has been set to correspond with the amount of ‘capital’ that a means tested benefit claimant can have, before it results in a reduction of benefit. Any ‘capital’ above £6,000.00 and below £16,000.00 will result in a reduction in means tested benefit. The reduction is applied at a ratio of £1.00 per £250.00 of ‘capital’ above £6,000.00; this is termed ‘tariff income’. Means tested benefits cease once a claimant has ‘capital’ above £16,000.00.

The ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting should be held as soon as the child/young person (with an award/financial assets above £6,000.00) becomes looked after, or as soon as confirmation of an award or future award is made.

For children/young people with an award/financial assets between £6,000.00 and £15,999.00 (upper benefits threshold), the ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting should be attended by the Service Manager covering the team within which the child/young person’s case is held who would be deemed the ‘accountable person’. For children/young people with an award above £15,999.00 the ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting should be attended by the Head of Service covering the team in which child/young person’s case is held who would be deemed the ‘accountable person’. The case holding social worker/personal adviser for the child/young person is responsible for setting up the ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting.

Membership of the ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting:

  1. Service Manager or Head of Service (accountable person);
  2. Child/Young Person’s Social Worker/Leaving Care Personal Adviser;
  3. Representative from Brokerage Support (Brokerage Support Manager);
  4. Representative from the Legal, Member and Statutory Services Team (Chair);
  5. Representative from the Money Advice Team;
  6. Child/Young Person’s Advocate (as appropriate);
  7. Other professionals (as appropriate).

For the meeting to be quorate members 1 to 5 must be in attendance.

If the child/young person is aged 16 or 17 and lacks ‘Capacity’, a representative from the Transition Team must be invited and a representative from the Income and Payments Team – Health and Community Services. In cases of 16 or 17 year olds who lack ‘Capacity’, the meeting would not be quorate without one of these two representatives.

The decisions, recommendations and actions stemming from the meeting will be specific to the child/young person and should be used to decide on the follow up actions and work. Outcomes may range from supporting children/young people to set up discretionary trust funds, seeking specific financial guidance to assist with managing assets, identifying responsible trustees, making an application to the court of protection for the appointment of an independent deputy, supporting a child/young person to make decisions on the use of awards/assets.

Documents and information to be circulated in advance of the meeting by the social worker:

  1. A statement of the amount of the financial asset, trust fund or CIC Award;
  2. Documentary evidence and background regarding the financial asset, trust fund, CIC Award, i.e. where held, when granted, when accessible;
  3. A ‘capacity’ assessment if aged 16 and above;
  4. Any risks of financial exploitation.

See Appendix 1: Trust Panel Pre-Meeting Template and Trust Panel Agenda Template for detailed information requirements and pre-meeting template.

Consideration should always be given to issues regarding the Department for Work and Pension rules on the disposal of capital, the impact of awards on benefit eligibility and adult services charging rules.

A record of all ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meetings should be kept, alongside a spreadsheet setting out all of the arrangements underway to manage individual children and young people’s finances, awards and trusts. The overarching spreadsheet and individual record should be held by the Brokerage Support Manager, and the individual arrangements should also be kept on the child/young person’s LCS record.

Note:
The ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting must take particular account of the Department for Work and Pensions rules on ‘Capital’. For example, any award of capital arising out of any form of personal injury, including medical negligence, road traffic accidents, vaccine damage etc. are disregarded in full for 12 months after the receipt of the award, regardless of the amount. In addition, the disregard will continue if the award is placed in any form of trust fund (which includes a Discretionary Trust Fund or Court of Protection trust framework). If money is subsequently taken out of the trust fund, the whole award may be treated as available capital. In certain circumstances the amount removed from the trust fund may be counted as income and the capital disregarded.

The ‘Financial Panel Arrangements’ meeting must take account of these factors and must not be deemed to encourage the ‘disposal’ of capital in order for a person to receive a means tested benefit.


Appendix 1: Trust Panel Pre-Meeting Template and Trust Panel Agenda Template

Click here to view Appendix 1: Trust Panel Pre-Meeting Template and Trust Panel Agenda Template.

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