Skip to main content

Protecting Moveable Property and Belongings

1. The Section 47 Requirement to Protect Property

Section 47 of the Care Act sets out the requirement of the Local Authority to take steps to mitigate or prevent loss to a person's movable property or belongings when:

  1. They have been placed into a care home by the Local Authority; or
  2. They have been admitted to hospital; and
  3. They are unable (either temporarily or permanently) to protect or deal with their moveable property or belongings; and
  4. No suitable arrangements have been made or are being made for someone else to do so.

In carrying out this requirement the Local Authority is permitted to:

  1. Enter any premises which the person was living in immediately before being placed into a care home or admitted to hospital; and
  2. Deal with any moveable property or belongings in any way that it deems reasonably necessary to mitigate or prevent loss or damage; in so long as;
  3. The person has given their consent; or
  4. Where the person lacks capacity, a person legally authorised to give consent has done so; or
  5. Where there is no legally appointed person, the Local Authority has deemed it in their Best Interests.

This procedure will support practitioners to:

  1. Identify whether moveable property or belongings exist; and
  2. If so, decide whether the responsibility to protect them applies; and
  3. If so, decide how best to do so.

2. Local Policy Regarding Protection of Moveable Property and Belongings

It is important that you are familiar with, and have regard to any available local policy regarding the protection of moveable property and belongings, as this will set out:

  1. Any local circumstances in which the Local Authority will not protect a person's moveable property or belongings (only when there is no responsibility to do so);
  2. Any particular items of moveable property or belongings that you are not permitted to make arrangements to protect (for example illegal substances);
  3. The methods of protecting property that are available to you (and also any that you should not use);
  4. The local partner organisations to support the function; and
  5. The local position and process around reimbursement of costs from the person.

3. Identifying Moveable Property and Belongings

Identifying moveable property and belongings

When a person is placed into a care home or admitted to hospital you should take steps to identify the moveable property or belongings they have in their home.

This information can be gathered from a range of sources:

  1. You may know it from previous visits to the home;
  2. The person may tell you, particularly if they are worried about e.g. the welfare of a pet;
  3. A family member, friend or neighbour may tell you, particularly if they are concerned about e.g. large amounts of money in the home;
  4. Another professional or a care agency may tell you, based upon their own visits to the home;
  5. If the person does not tell you, by consulting with them directly; or
  6. If the person lacks capacity, by consulting with a person who you deem it in their Best Interests to consult.

You can consult with the person (or others) yourself, or you can delegate this to another appropriate person (for example a nurse at a hospital where they have been admitted).

When moveable property and belongings have been identified you should:

  1. Make a record of the moveable property and belongings; and
  2. Take steps to decide whether the requirement to protect them applies.

Examples of moveable property and belongings

Examples of moveable property and belongings include, but are not limited to:

  1. Pets;
  2. Jewellery;
  3. Money and credit/bank cards;
  4. Pieces of valuable technology;
  5. Important documentation (e.g. passport or an outstanding bill);
  6. Anything else that is important to the person.

4. Deciding whether Moveable Property and Belongings Require Protection

Considerations to be made

The existence of moveable property or belongings does not in itself mean that the Section 47 requirement to protect those belongings also exists. Consideration should be given to:

  1. Whether the property or belongings identified are secure;
  2. Whether the person is able to make their own arrangements to protect their property or belongings; and
  3. If not, whether another person (e.g. a family member, friend or neighbour) is willing and able to make suitable arrangements to do so.

When the Section 47 requirement applies

The requirement for the Local Authority to protect the person's moveable property and belongings applies when:

  1. Some (or all) of the moveable property and belongings identified are not secure; or
  2. Some (or all) of the movable property and belongings identified are going to become insecure; and
  3. The person is not able to protect, or make their own arrangements to protect all (or some) of the moveable property and belongings identified; and
  4. Another person (e.g. a family member, friend or neighbour) is not willing or able to make suitable arrangements to do so.

The requirement also applies when a person making arrangements to protect moveable property or belongings:

  1. Has not done so; or
  2. Is not able to continue to do so for as long as protection is required; and
  3. There is nobody else to make suitable arrangements.

If you are unsure whether the Section 47 duty to protect the property or belongings exists you should:

  1. Seek the advice of your line manager; and
  2. Refer to local policy around protecting moveable property and belongings.

Partial protection

If:

  1. Some of the moveable property or belongings identified are secure; or
  2. Suitable arrangements can be made by the person (or other) to protect some or the moveable property or belongings identified; then
  3. The Local Authority requirement to protect only applies to those items of property or belongings that are not secure or that cannot be protected by the person (or others).

When the Section 47 requirement does not apply

The requirement for the Local Authority to protect the person's moveable property and belongings does not apply when:

  1. All of the moveable property and belongings identified are secure, and likely to remain so; or
  2. The person is able to protect, or make their own arrangements to protect all of their moveable property and belongings; or
  3. Another person (e.g. a family member, friend or neighbour) is willing and able to make suitable arrangements to do so.

In these circumstances you should:

  1. Record the steps that are being taken to protect moveable property and belongings; and
  2. Consider any monitoring arrangements that may be required to ensure that arrangements are made as intended; and
  3. If arrangements are not made as intended, consider whether the Section 47 duty applies or a safeguarding concern needs to be raised.

Seeking consent of the person

You must seek the consent of the person to:

  1. Protect their moveable property or belongings; and
  2. When this involves entering their home, to enter their home; before
  3. Taking steps to do so.

How to obtain consent

Consent should be provided in writing using the approved consent form, but can be provided verbally when:

  1. The person is not able to provide written consent; or
  2. Obtaining written consent poses practicable challenges (for example, the person is a long way from the Local Authority area); or
  3. Any delays in seeking written consent pose a high level of risk of damage or loss to moveable property and belongings.

If verbal consent is provided you should ensure that, wherever possible:

  1. The provision of consent is witnessed; and
  2. The details of the person witnessing consent are recorded.
Need to know

Verbal consent can include a telephone conversation, a conversation via Skype or consent provided through confirmed gestures of the person.

Written consent can include an authorised e-mail or written statement, which can then be attached as evidence of consent to the approved consent form.

Delegating responsibility

The responsibility to seek consent can be delegated to another appropriate person, for example:

  1. A nurse in a hospital where the person is admitted; or
  2. The manager of a care home.

When delegating you must:

  1. Be clear about the consent that you require is sought; and
  2. Request confirmation in writing about the consent that has been given (for example via e-mail); and
  3. Be satisfied that consent has been obtained.

Information about reimbursement of costs

When seeking consent you (or the delegated person) must explain to the person:

  1. The legal right of the Local Authority to seek reimbursement from them for any costs it incurs in protecting their moveable property or belongings; and
  2. Where known, the Local Authority policy on seeking such reimbursement.

Click here to access the 'Reimbursement of Costs' section of this procedure.

Partial consent

A person may consent to you:

  1. Protecting some of their moveable property or belongings; but
  2. Not others; or
  3. Entering some areas of their home; but
  4. Not others.

If the person has capacity to consent (or to refuse consent) you must not:

  1. Protect property they have not consented to you protecting; or
  2. Enter parts of their home they have not consented to you entering; unless
  3. This is unavoidable at the point that property and belongings are being protected.

Refused consent

If a person has capacity and does not provide consent for you to protect any of their moveable property or belongings, or enter any part of their property then you must not do so.

Need to know

Sometimes a person may refuse consent for you to enter parts (or all) of their home if:

  1. They have been finding it difficult to maintain their environment; and
  2. They are worried that you will make a judgement about their long term needs based on this.

When seeking consent you should provide reassurance that:

  1. The purpose of entry is solely to protect property; and
  2. Any assessment of their long term needs will not be carried out at that time.

Mental capacity

If you are concerned about a person's capacity to consent you must carry out a proportionate Mental Capacity Assessment.

Click here to access the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a comprehensive resource providing practice guidance about assessing capacity.

If the person has capacity to consent

If the person has capacity, they may:

  1. Provide full consent;
  2. Provide partial consent; or
  3. Refuse consent.

If the person lacks capacity to consent

If the person lacks capacity to consent you can only take steps to protect their moveable property and belongings (including entering their home) if it is in their Best Interests for you to do so.

The Best Interest decision must:

  1. Be made in line with the Mental Capacity Act; and
  2. Only be made by the Local Authority only when there is no other person authorised to make it.

Persons authorised to make the decision are:

  1. A Lasting Power of Attorney; or
  2. A Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection; so long as
  3. They have the authority to provide (or refuse) consent on that matter.

If a Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy exists

So long as the Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy has the authority to do so they should:

  1. Make a decision in the person's Best Interests; and
  2. The decision must be treated as if the person has made it themselves.
Need to know
As part of their decision making process, the Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy should consider whether they themselves are able to make suitable arrangements to protect the person's moveable property or belongings, as this would normally be the least restrictive of the person's rights.

Concerns about the decision made

If you are concerned that a decision made by a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Deputy may not be in the person's Best Interests you should refer to the guidance within the 'Managing Disagreement' procedure in the Mental Capacity Act resource, which can be accessed by clicking here.

If there is no authorised Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy

If there is no authorised Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy you should:

  1. Apply the Best Interests principle of the Mental Capacity Act; and
  2. Decide whether protecting the identified moveable property and belongings is in their Best Interests; and
  3. If so, make arrangements to do so; and
  4. If not, do not make any arrangements to do so.

The rationale for your decision must be clearly recorded, and you must consult with:

  1. The person;
  2. Any Deputy or Lasting Power of Attorney (where they do not have the authority to make the decision themselves); and
  3. Any advocate.

Click here to access the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a comprehensive resource providing practice guidance about the steps that must be taken when making a Best Interest decision.

Concerns when consent is refused or partial

You should seek the advice of your line manager as required, and consider raising a safeguarding concern when:

  1. The person has refused consent (or only provided partial consent); or
  2. Where the person lacks capacity, an authorised person has refused consent (or only provided partial consent); and
  3. There is a high risk of damage or loss to the person's moveable property or belongings as a result.

If you believe that the committing of a criminal offence in relation to the person's moveable property or belongings is imminent then you should:

  1. Provide information to the police; and
  2. Explain to the person that you have done so.
Case example

Peter has been admitted to hospital with a broken leg. You know that he has a large amount of money and jewellery in his home, and that this is not kept secure.

In the past Peter has made several allegations about a neighbour pressurising him to borrow money that he has never returned, although on each occasion Peter has withdrawn the allegation.

Against the advice of others, Peter is known to have given the neighbour a key to his home. You have serious concerns that the neighbour may steal the money while Peter is away, but Peter is refusing consent for you to enter his home and protect his moveable property and belongings.

You explain to Peter that you must raise concerns to the police, who may decide to take further action to ensure his property is safe.

Concerns about a decision made by a LPA or Deputy

If you are concerned that a decision made by a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Deputy may not be in the person's Best Interests you should refer to the guidance within the 'Managing Disagreement' procedure in the Mental Capacity Act resource, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Making a record of consent

If the person had capacity

Where relevant it is important that all of the following information is recorded on the person's electronic file:

  1. The consent that has been provided (full consent, partial consent or refused consent);
  2. Any rationale provided by the person for partial or refused consent;
  3. How the consent was provided or refused (e.g. verbal or written); and
  4. If verbal, the details of any witness to the consent;
  5. Where consent is partial, the belongings and areas of the person's home where consent has been provided;
  6. Where consent is partial or refused whether there are any concerns about damage or loss to the person's moveable property or belongings; and
  7. If so, the action that has been (or will be) taken to raise concerns and mitigate the risk.

If the person lacked capacity to consent

Where relevant it is important that all of the following information is recorded on the person's electronic file:

  1. A Mental Capacity Assessment, setting out why the person lacks capacity to consent;
  2. If an authorised Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy exists, the Best Interests decision made by them; or
  3. If not, the Best Interests decision made by you (the Local Authority);
  4. If there are any concerns about a decision made by a LPA or Deputy; and
  5. If so, the action that has been (or will be) taken to raise concerns and mitigate risk.

6. Deciding How to Protect Moveable Property and Belongings

The importance of Local Policy

When deciding the best way of protecting a person's moveable property and belongings you must be familiar with, and have regard for any available local policy, as this will set out:

  1. Any particular items of moveable property or belongings that you are not permitted to protect;
  2. The methods of protecting property that are available to you (and also any that you should not use);
  3. The local partner organisations to support the function; and
  4. The local position around reimbursement of costs from the person.

Involving the person

Wherever possible the person should be fully involved in any conversations about the best way to protect their moveable property and belongings.

If they cannot be involved (e.g. due to ill health) or they lack capacity you should:

  1. Consider whether the duty to provide independent advocacy applies; and
  2. Where they exist, involve any Deputy or Lasting Power of Attorney; and
  3. In cases where the person lacks capacity, involve anyone else that you feel it would be in their Best Interests to involve.

In all circumstances any view expressed:

  1. By the person about the best way to protect their moveable property and belongings their wishes and views must be regarded; and
  2. If the person lacks capacity, any view expressed by a Lasting Power of Attorney or Deputy must be regarded.

Examples of ways to protect moveable property and belongings

Examples of steps to mitigate or prevent loss or damage to moveable property or belongings include, but are not limited to:

  1. Taking belongings to the person where they are;
  2. Securing the property by locking existing doors and windows;
  3. Repairing damaged locks or arranging for additional ones;
  4. Moving property or belongings from one area the property to a more secure one (for example placing exposed jewellery into a locked draw);
  5. Removing property or belongings to another location (in line with local policy); and
  6. Arranging for a third party to take care of a pet (e.g. a neighbour or a charity).

Considerations to be made

When deciding the best way to protect the person's moveable property or belongings consideration should be given to:

  1. The current level of risk of damage or loss to the moveable property or belongings;
  2. Whether the person is likely to be able to assume responsibility for protecting their own property in the future; or
  3. Whether it is likely that another person may be able to make suitable arrangements to protect the property in the future;
  4. What costs are likely to be incurred (and the implications of these in regards to reimbursement);
  5. How long the property or belongings are likely to require protection for (and whether the proposed method or protection is sustainable);
  6. What the impact of the method of protection on others (for example others living at the property);
  7. Whether local policy permits the proposed method of protection;
  8. What available services there are to support the proposed method of protection;
  9. Whether action other than the moving or removal of property is required (e.g. paying outstanding bills).
Need to know

Wherever possible a temporary or reversible solution to protecting moveable property and belongings should be agreed when:

  1. A person without capacity is likely to regain capacity; or
  2. A person's inability to protect their own property is not permanent; or
  3. Another person is taking steps to become an authorised decision maker (e.g. a Deputy) regarding the matter.

Specific considerations for pets

Pets are often regarded by people as family members, and the bond between a person and their pet should not be underestimated. Therefore if a person has a pet they are likely to view the welfare of their pet as a high priority.

Being able to reassure the person that their pet is safe and cared for can:

  1. Reduce anxiety;
  2. Promote recovery; and
  3. Give piece of mind.

It is also important to note that under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, there is a duty upon any person responsible for an animal to:

  1. Ensure they meet the needs of that animal; and
  2. Prevent any abuse or neglect of that animal; and
  3. It is a criminal offence should they fail to do so.

If the Local Authority decides that the Section 47 responsibility of the Care Act applies to a pet they become:

  1. Temporarily responsible for ensuring that the needs of that pet are met; until
  2. The pet is in the care of another person or organisation.

In order to meet this requirement you should apply the following additional considerations when deciding how best to protect the pet:

  1. Whether the pet is well, or requires medical attention;
  2. Whether the pet takes any medication to manage a health condition;
  3. Whether the pet is likely to be anxious;
  4. Whether the pet has access to food, water and warmth; and
  5. Whether the pet can enter and leave the person's home independently if it needs to.
Need to know

The Cinnamon Trust is a national charity that may be able to provide:

  1. A short term fostering service for a person's pet when they are admitted to hospital or placed temporarily into a care home; or
  2. Long term care of pets when a person is placed into permanent care.
The Cinnamon Trust can be contacted on 01736 757 900.
Need to know

The RSPCA is a national charity able to offer information and advice about a range of animal welfare matters through their online virtual assistant. This includes information about local services that may be able to support an animal in need.

This can be accessed at their website: www.rspca.org.uk/home.

Making a decision

It is the responsibility of the Local Authority to decide which steps it deems 'reasonably necessary' to mitigate or prevent loss or damage to the person's moveable property and belongings.

If the person has capacity

If a person with capacity:

  1. Has a clear view about how their moveable property and belongings should be protected; and
  2. The Local Authority agrees those arrangements to be 'reasonably necessary'; and
  3. It is practicably possible to make those arrangements; and
  4. Where a cost will be incurred, the person is willing to meet the cost of those arrangements (in line with local policy);
  5. The Local Authority should take steps to make those arrangements.
Need to know
If there are costs incurred with the person's preferred option and they have declared that they are unwilling to reimburse the Local Authority you should refer to local policy for further guidance.

If the person lacks capacity

If a person lacks capacity:

  1. The views and wishes of the person must be regarded; and
  2. The views of any Lasting Power of Attorney must be regarded; and
  3. The views of any advocate must be regarded; and
  4. The views of any other person's consulted must be regarded; and
  5. A decision must be made by applying the Best Interests principle of the Mental Capacity Act.

Click here to access the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a comprehensive resource providing practice guidance about the steps that must be taken when making a Best Interest decision.

If the person lacking capacity:

  1. Has a clear view about how their moveable property and belongings should be protected; and
  2. The Local Authority agrees those arrangements to be 'reasonably necessary'; and
  3. It is practically possible to make those arrangements; and
  4. Where a cost will be incurred the person is able to meet that cost; and
  5. Any person who is responsible for managing their finances is willing to meet that cost;
  6. The arrangements should normally be viewed as in the person's Best Interests; unless
  7. There is evidence that they are not so.

7. Making Plans to Enter a Person's Home

The home that can be entered

When carrying out its Section 47 responsibility to protect moveable property and belongings the Local Authority is permitted to enter any premises in which the person was living immediately before they were:

  1. Placed into a care home by the Local Authority; or
  2. Admitted to hospital.

Deciding who should enter

Two people should always enter the person's home, in order to bear witness to the moving or removal of the person's moveable property or belongings by the other.

Wherever possible at least one of the people involved should:

  1. Be familiar with the layout of the person's home; so as to
  2. Locate the moveable property or belongings easily.

The primary Local Authority Representative

One of the people entering the person's home must be nominated by the Local Authority as their primary representative. When nominated this person must be provided with a formal letter of authority (see below).

The second person

Depending on the circumstances the second person could be:

  1. Another Local Authority representative;
  2. A health professional;
  3. A care provider;
  4. A family member, friend or neighbour;
  5. An independent advocate;
  6. A Deputy or Lasting Power of Attorney; or
  7. An Appointee.
Need to know
If the person has named a particular individual as someone who they do not wish to enter their home, you must not involve that person.
Need to know

If there is a dog or cat in the home consideration should be given to involving:

  1. Someone who knows the pet, and can pacify it should it be anxious or aggressive; or
  2. Requesting the support of the RSPCA or another animal welfare organisation.

Letter of Authority

The Local Authority must provide a formal letter of authority to its primary representative before they enter the person's home.

The person providing the letter must be satisfied that:

  1. The duty to protect moveable property and belongings of the person applies; and
  2. Appropriate consent to enter the person's home and protect their belongings has been provided (or a Best Interests decision made this effect).

The letter of authority should:

  1. Be written on Local Authority headed paper;
  2. Set out the name of the primary Local Authority representative;
  3. Set out the legal authority they have to enter the person's home; and
  4. Be signed by a person who has the authority to do so.

The draft letter content below can be inserted into your Local Authority letter template and personalised for this purpose if required.

To whom it may concern,

In order to carry out its duties under Section 47 of the Care Act (insert full name of the Local Authority) authorises a named representative, (insert name of the person who will be entering the person's home) to:

  1. Enter (insert full address of the person's home); on
  2. (Insert date of planned entry).

(Insert name of person who will be entering the person's home) is authorised to take any steps they deem necessary to prevent or mitigate the loss or damage of moveable property or belongings within the property. This includes removing such items from the property, or taking steps to secure the property.

Any person preventing, or attempting to prevent (insert name of person who will be entering the person's home) from carrying out this function is committing an offence and may be liable to a fine.

Signed, for and on behalf of (insert full name of the Local Authority)

(Local Authority signatory and position to be inserted).


The primary Local Authority representative must then:

  1. Take the letter with them to the person's home; and
  2. Produce it to any other person who requests to see it, or questions why they are entering the property.

Deciding how access will be gained

It is important to consider how access to the person's home can be gained in advance, so as to identify and mitigate potential risks and complications.

Entry could be:

  1. Through an unsecured door;
  2. With a key provided by the person, a family member or friend;
  3. A family member, friend or neighbour could facilitate entry;
  4. A care agency could facilitate entry;
  5. Through an open ground floor window, only if deemed safe to do so following a risk assessment.

If it is clear that you are not going to be able to gain access easily you should:

  1. Arrange a Local Authority approved locksmith to gain entry; and
  2. Upon their arrival show them your letter of authority; and
  3. Make sure that after gaining entry they take steps to ensure the property can be secured when you leave.
Need to know
The Local Authority is legally entitled to seek reimbursement from the person for any costs it incurs in protecting moveable property or belongings. It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the local position on seeking such reimbursement before making any arrangements that will incur a cost.

Assessing risk

It is important to identify potential risks involved in entering the person's home in advance, to ensure that any practicable steps to mitigate such risk can be taken.

The table below sets out some of the risks that may be present, along with some of the steps that could be taken to mitigate them.

Risk Steps to mitigate
Aggressive animal inside

Enter the person's home with somebody who the pet knows, and is able to pacify them (e.g. a family member).

Request support from the RSPCA or another animal welfare organisation.

Risk from another person

Present the letter of authority if challenged.

Lock the door when inside the person's home.

Arrange to enter the property when the person posing a risk will not be there.

Request support from the police.

Risks from the environment

Wear protective clothing e.g. gloves, shoe protectors or an apron.

If lighting is poor, visit during daylight hours.

Risk of allegation against you

Follow procedures and ensure that you do not enter the property alone.

Make a record of every item moved or removed.

Report any incidences or difficulties immediately.

8. Protecting Moveable Property and Belongings

Entering the person's home

If entry to the person's home is required to protect their moveable property and belongings you should enter the property in line with what has been agreed. This means:

  1. Entering with a second person;
  2. Entering in a manner agreed;
  3. Entering safely, having regard for any risk assessment carried out.

If you experience difficulty entering the property you should:

  1. Not enter the property; until
  2. You have sought advice of a line manager; and
  3. Steps have been agreed to enter the property safely.

Under no circumstances should you force entry to the person's property or take unnecessary risks to your own safety, or that of another person.

Challenges and prevention

If you are challenged in any way you must be able to show the letter of authority given to you by the Local Authority. With this, any person preventing, or attempting to prevent you from entering the property or from moving/removing items is committing an offence and may be liable to a fine.

Signs of criminal activity

If, upon entering the person's home there are signs of criminal activity (for example theft or vandalism) you should:

  1. Not move or remove any items; and
  2. Contact the police to report the activity and support them in identifying items that may have been unlawfully removed.

Protecting moveable property and belongings

When protecting property and belongings this should be done in line with what has been agreed.

The privacy and dignity of the person must be upheld at all times, meaning you should:

  1. Only enter areas of their home that they have consented for you to enter; and
  2. Only enter other areas of their home when it cannot be avoided; and
  3. Only touch belongings that the person has consented for you to protect; and
  4. Only touch other items when it cannot be avoided.
Case example
Joe has consented to the Local Authority entering his bathroom so as to remove his watch and return it to him. Upon entering the property it becomes clear that the only way to access the bathroom is through Joe's bedroom. This makes entering the bedroom unavoidable.

You should make a full inventory of:

  1. Each item moved within the home; or
  2. Each item removed from the home.

The second person should be able to verify the inventory, which should include:

  1. The original location of each ; and
  2. The new location of item; and
  3. Whether there appears to be any damage to the item.

Where items are to be taken to a secure location you should arrange to do so at the same time as you remove them, wherever this is possible. For example, if cash is being taken to a bank. Receipts for items left at any secure locations should be obtained.

Need to know

Under no circumstances should you:

  1. Borrow or use money removed from the property; or
  2. Take the person's money or belongings home with you.
If you are not able to take the person's belongings to the agreed location on the same day that you removed them you must arrange for them to be stored securely in a Local Authority office.

Dealing with affairs

The Section 47 requirement to protect property extends to a requirement to deal with associated affairs when:

  1. The person is unable (either temporarily or permanently) to deal with them; and
  2. No suitable arrangements have been made or are being made for someone else to do so.

For example:

  1. There may a utility bill that requires payment; or
  2. Property rental may need to be paid; or
  3. A credit card balance is due.

If there is no suitable person to carry out these tasks, for example an Appointee you will need to consider what action it would be 'reasonably necessary' for the Local Authority to take so as to mitigate or prevent loss or damage.

Examples could be:

  1. Using cash in the home to pay an outstanding bill;
  2. Liaising with a landlord to negotiate a new payment date.

Where it is likely that the person will be unable to deal with their affairs for some time you should consider any need to:

  1. Apply for Corporate Appointeeship; or
  2. Apply to the Court of Protection for Deputyship.

9. Ongoing Protection of Property

The requirement to protect moveable property and belongings only applies for as long as:

  1. The person remains placed in the care home by the Local Authority; or
  2. The person remains in hospital; and
  3. They remain unable (either temporarily or permanently) to protect or deal with their moveable property or belongings; and
  4. There remain no other suitable arrangements for doing so.

If any of the above changes the Local Authority is:

  1. No longer required to protect the person's moveable property and belongings; and should
  2. Make arrangements to cease doing so.

10. Reimbursement of Costs

The Local Authority is legally entitled to seek reimbursement from the person for any costs incurred in the protection of their moveable property and belongings, regardless of whether they have capacity to consent to such costs.

The legal right of the Local Authority to seek reimbursement from the person for any costs it incurs, and the local policy on doing so should be explained:

  1. When seeking consent for the Local Authority to protect property and belongings; and
  2. When deciding the best way to do so.

It is important that you are familiar with, and have regard to any available local policy regarding the protection of moveable property and belongings, as this will set out:

  1. The local position around reimbursement of costs; and
  2. The process of seeking reimbursement; and
  3. That action that should be taken if a person refuses to pay costs when a reimbursement request is made.

You should always refer to local policy for further guidance when:

  1. There are costs incurred with a preferred protection method; and
  2. A person with capacity has declared they are unwilling to reimburse the Local Authority; or
  3. Where the person lacks capacity, somebody responsible for managing their finances has declared they are unwilling.

Telford Adult Social Care Procedures