Council 'has more than £80,000 belonging to dead social care clients'

An audit found Moray Council had some of the funds in a corporate bank account for four years.

Moray Council holding more than £80,000 belonging to dead health and social care clients, audit finds LDRS

Moray Council is holding more than £80,000 belonging to dead health and social care clients, an audit has found.

Some of the money has been sitting in the corporate bank account for four years.

The total of £80,482 belongs to ten deceased people and no contact has been made by any executor with the council over the funds.

Clarification will have to be sought on the legality of the money being kept for such a long time and potential for any action.

An audit into the Corporate Appointeeship scheme flagged up the issue.

The scheme allows local authorities to apply to the Department of Work and Pensions to have a named officer appointed to clients receiving benefits, and assessed as not being able to manage their finances.

Officers have legal authority to administer the money.

A total of 59 clients, including the deceased, are managed by the scheme, with a combined value of £483,000 held in the council’s corporate bank account.

The £80,482 is included in the overall total.

The audit checked how corporate appointees managed and supported individuals to access their money properly.

In his report audit and risk manager Dafydd Lewis said: “The scope of the audit was to ensure funds were appropriately handled, stored, recorded and administered on behalf of clients, in line with agreed policy and procedures.”

His recommendations include considering holding money belonging to deceased clients in a separate account and to seek guidance on the length of time funds can be kept.

A full review of cash handling procedures will be carried out.

Policy on managing service user’s money and the Corporate Appointeeship scheme will also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

The report will go before members of the audit and scrutiny committee next week.

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