In an important local government case, Louis Browne KC from Exchange Chambers has acted for Wrexham Borough Council to recover non-payment of care home fees under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
The Defendant in the case held lasting power of attorney (LPA) over property and finances for her father. As LPA, the Defendant had a duty to act in his best interests which included ensuring that the fees for his care home placement were paid.
The Defendant would have been familiar with the need to pay for her father’s care, support and accommodation as she was involved with social services when he lived in Milton Keynes and again in London.
However, upon moving to Wrexham, the Defendant failed to pay for her father’s care home fees and as a result, the Council paid the associated costs to avoid her father’s placement being put at risk pending those costs being recouped from his daughter as LPA.
An Asset Depletion Panel was constituted to discuss the case under Chapter 8 and Annex F of Parts 4 and 5 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 Code of Practice. The panel unanimously decided that it was a case of asset depletion, finding that the Defendant had spent her father’s income and the proceeds of sale of his property and had spent his money on herself, treating her father’s account as her own.
Subsequently, Under Annex F, paragraphs 15.1- 15.3 of Part 4 & 5 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 Code of Practice, Louis Browne KC acted for Wrexham Borough Council to recover non-payment of care home fees from the Defendant.
Louis was instructed by Julie Ray at Wrexham Borough Council who commented upon the case:
“It was the first case of its kind in Wrexham, so it was very much a learning curve for everyone involved. It was essential that Welsh Guidance and legislation had been followed and with Louis’ calm, pragmatic approach and professionalism in guiding us through the whole process, we were in safe hands. Not only did Louis’ specialist knowledge prove essential to a satisfactory outcome, but he offered advice on how the local authority could better deal with cases of asset depletion moving forward.”