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latest update 12 February 2010

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Cheated abuse victims will have to claim refunds

According to a report by John Webb, Director of Adult Social Services, and quoting Bill Norman, Director of Law, the former residents of Bermuda Road, Curlew Way and Edgehill Road who were financially abused by Wirral Council over a period of nine years, and cheated out of approximately half a million pounds, will have to make individual claims in order to get just some of their money back.

Sixteen individuals have been identified who fall within the remit of the recommendation of the Audit and Risk Management Committee. Of these three are deceased and five have moved out of the premises concerned.

The advice from the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management regarding the process for reimbursement is that individuals will need to be advised that they may have a claim against the Council in respect of the deemed “overpayment”. They will need to consider their positions and if they believe they have a legitimate entitlement, make a claim for reimbursement against the Council. It would be advisable, and indeed highly desirable, that each individual be given access to independent advice in formulating such a view and potential claim.

The cost of reimbursing all individuals who would be entitled to make a claim, should Cabinet approve the recommendations, is £241,482. An amount of £68,000 has been set aside in the accounts for such reimbursements so there is a potential shortfall of £173,485. The Adult Social Services Department has no resources available to meet this ‘oneoff’ cost and it is recommended that this be met from balances.

That Cabinet is asked to approve the recommendations of the Audit and Risk Management Committee:
(1) To implement the principle of reimbursement of service users at Bermuda Road, Curlew Way and Edgehill Road, Moreton between April 2003 and February 2006, insofar as the sums actually paid by an individual service user exceeded what they might reasonably have been required to pay had the Council implemented Fairer Charging in April 2003, by making, upon receipt of a legitimate claim, any appropriate reimbursement and/or to take any other appropriate restorative action.
(2) To approve the reimbursement of residents and former residents of Bermuda Road, Curlew Road and Edgehill Road, Moreton for the period dating back from March 2003 to December 2000, based on the difference between the “Special Charging Policy” and the wider review of Social Services charging approved by Members in July 2000, where the Council is in receipt of a legitimate claim; and/or to take any other appropriate restorative action.
(3) Cabinet is further asked to authorise officers to write (and confirm with appropriate other means) to individuals (and their carers and advocates) informing them of this decision and inviting them to seek appropriate advice so as to ensure they make an informed decision if they choose to submit a claim; and to provide sufficient information to advocates, acting on the individuals’ behalf, to ensure that the individuals can be fully advised of all relevant implications.

The report will be presented to a meeting of the Cabinet scheduled for next Thursday, 14 January 2010, in Committee Room 1 of Wallasey Town Hall, commencing at 6.15pm.

The meeting is open to members of the public.

© copyright Wirral Council. Reproduced under fair use for the dual purposes of comment and news reporting

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