Monitoring and Auditing of Allowances to Children/Young People (Fostering)
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure sets out how Foster Carers should monitor and record expenditure in providing for the needs of the child/young person.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in March 2023 to include information on the Fostering hub.
'Expenditure – Monitoring and Audit Sheet'
Foster carers should use the 'Expenditure - Monitoring & Audit Sheet' to demonstrate how the allowances provided for the needs of the child/young person have been used and what items have been purchased. All expenditure should be recorded (in brief) on the 'Expenditure - Monitoring & Audit Sheet' and set out whether the allowances have been provided in the form of purchased items, in the form of cash or in a different way. Information should include all allowances provided and in particular:
- What items of clothing have been purchased;
- How pocket money has been provided; and
- How birthday and festival allowance have been used or provided.
This is required for monitoring and audit purposes and to ensure that children and young people have received their full entitlement for each financial year, particularly when they move between placements. Foster carers should, where possible, retain all receipts for their own income tax and national insurance records.
Receipts should also be copied and/or given to the supervising social worker to be copied; any expenditure on a single item for the child/young person of £50.00 and above must be accompanied by a receipt.
The supervising social worker will check and approve the 'Expenditure - Monitoring & Audit Sheet' every three months (or at the supervision visit close to the three month point) and ensure that the allowances are being used to meet the needs of the child/young person in a flexible manner. The supervising social worker should also copy the 'Expenditure - Monitoring & Audit Sheet' and any accompanying receipts (or take these away to be copied and return originals).
The supervising social worker should then place a copy of the approved 'Expenditure - Monitoring & Audit Sheet' and any accompanying receipts on the foster carers file. In addition, the supervising social worker should pass a copy of the approved 'Expenditure - Monitoring & Audit Sheet' to the child/young person's social worker who should place them on the child/young person's LCS case file.
For any carers receiving a hub allowances payment for activities for a Fostering hub, the supervising social worker will audit the expenses, ie Mockingbird and other similar hubs. The payments are expected to be spent on activities monthly, however if the activity money is not spent and exceed £500, the activity money will be temporarily stopped until the balance has reduced.
Decisions regarding how the allowances are to be used and in what form they are provided should be agreed within the care planning/pathway planning/placement plan process and agreed between the child/young person, their foster carer and the supervising social worker, social worker and independent reviewing officer.
Where a child/young person is also in receipt of any of the following:
- Disability Living Allowance (Care or Mobility);
- Personal Independence Payment (Care or Mobility);
- Employment & Support Allowance; and
- The foster carer is acting as the child/young person's 'Benefit Appointee' (managing the benefits on behalf of the child/young person), the supervising social worker should check and approve the 'Disability Benefits – Expenditure Monitoring and Audit Sheet' at the same time as the general 'Expenditure - Monitoring & Audit Sheet'.
In principle all DLA/PIP should be used to meet any disability needs of the child/young person and all E&SA (16 & 17 year olds) should be used to meet any additional and day to day needs; once E&SA is in payment, pocket money and clothing allowances cease. How the DLA/PIP/E&SA is to be used should be agreed by the social worker, foster carer and supervising social worker via the delegated authority process and be set out in the child/young person's placement plan. Any unused or accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA should be added to the child/young person's Junior ISA.
Foster carers should also record all disability benefit expenditure and retain receipts/copies of receipts for their records. Supervising social workers should copy the approved 'Disability Benefits - Expenditure and Monitoring Audit Sheet' and place a copy on the foster carers file and send a copy to the child/young person's social worker who should place it on the child/young person's LCS case file (with copies of receipts if expenditure is over £50.00). Foster carers should retain receipts/copies of receipts as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may wish to audit the disability income/expenditure.
Foster carers are also reminded that it is their responsibility to retain their Hertfordshire remittance advice payments sheets for income tax and national insurance purposes.