Maximizing Social Care Finance: The Key Role of Independent Financial Advisers in UK Council Services

Within the intricate web of adult social care looking after finances is tough work. The roles of Appointees and Deputies stand out for their critical responsibility in managing the financial affairs of individuals who lack the capacity to do so themselves.

This article explores why a council might consider engaging an independent financial adviser for their appointment and deputyship services, emphasising the added value and expertise they bring to this sensitive and complex area.

A financial adviser working with a Deputyship Service allows deputyship citizens or service users to be referred for financial advice to ensure their assets are maximised rather than maintained in a low-interest paying bank account.

Other options that can be considered and discounted are below.

  • Option: capital held within a Deputyship bank account as a ‘designated client account’.
    • Unsuitable as this approach does not comply with the Public Guardians deputyship standards and the need to demonstrate due diligence in managing these service users assets.
  • Option: The internal team carry out research into the best interest rates available from mainstream savings options and invests money.
    • Unsuitable as this approach does not comply with the Public Guardians deputyship standards and colleagues frequently do not have financial advice qualifications or experience and may select a product that results in losses being incurred.

Enhancing Decision-Making with Expertise

Deputies, appointed by the Court of Protection, and Appointees, who manage benefit income, play a vital role in safeguarding the financial well-being of service users. An independent financial adviser can provide specialized knowledge and insight, particularly beneficial in managing diverse financial assets and savings. This expertise ensures that all financial decisions are made with a comprehensive understanding of the market, investment opportunities, and potential risks.

Objectivity and Impartiality

A key advantage of an independent financial adviser is their objectivity. Unlike internal advisers who may have pre-existing biases or limited perspectives, independent advisers offer unbiased advice solely focused on the service user’s best interests. This impartiality is crucial in making financial decisions that genuinely reflect the needs and preferences of those who lack the capacity to make these decisions themselves.

Risk Management and Compliance

Financial management, especially in the context of deputyships, involves navigating a complex landscape of legal requirements and financial risks. Independent financial advisers are adept at identifying, assessing, and mitigating these risks, ensuring compliance with legal standards and court orders. Their involvement can significantly reduce the likelihood of financial mismanagement or non-compliance, protecting both the service user and the council.

Long-term Financial Planning

For service users who require ongoing financial management, long-term planning is critical. Independent financial advisers can develop comprehensive financial strategies that consider future needs, potential changes in circumstances, and market fluctuations. This foresight is invaluable in ensuring the long-term financial security and stability of service users.

Reducing Administrative Burden

Managing the financial affairs of service users can be administratively burdensome for councils. By outsourcing this task to independent financial advisers, councils can alleviate this burden, allowing them to focus more on other critical aspects of Adult Social Care Finance. Moreover, this can lead to more efficient use of resources and potentially lower costs in the long run.

Meeting formal obligations

A financial adviser can help the Council to deliver investment advice for Service Users with larger capital portfolios. A financial adviser can ensure compliance with duties under any court order and the requirements of the Office of the Public Guardian Deputy standards. Initial and regular reviews can ensure a suitable investment plan remains fit for the client’s circumstances. If a whole of market firm is used, they can provide professional and comprehensive external financial advice across different products and providers. Often a Council’s Section 151 Officer cannot provide suitable recommendations. Limited resources within the social, deputyship and appointeeship team mean adding a professional advisor adds capacity to the service and outsources advice, which may also be applicable for more complex cases.

The Office of the Public Guardian supervises Deputies and publishes standards to which Local Authority Deputies are required to adhere to. The Office of the Public Guardian states that the Council should ‘seek independent advice to maximise the return on the client’s savings, investments and any other assets’ in the case of deputyships. Their guidance in Section 3(b)(4) clarifies that there must be ‘access to specialist advice for example a financial accountant either internally or externally’. Another of the standards (1a (5)) requires a Deputy to seek independent financial advice where appropriate to maximise the return on the client’s savings and other assets.

Enhancing Trust and Transparency

The involvement of an independent financial adviser can enhance the transparency of financial decision-making processes, building trust among service users, their families, and the broader community. This transparency is essential in maintaining the integrity of the Appointee and Deputyship Services and upholding the council’s reputation.


The engagement of independent financial advisers in the realm of Appointee and Deputyship Services offers numerous benefits, including enhanced expertise, objectivity, compliance, long-term planning, administrative efficiency, and increased trust and transparency. For UK Councils, this is not just a matter of financial prudence but also a commitment to upholding the highest standards of care and responsibility for some of the most vulnerable members of society.

What is the Role of an Independent Financial Adviser in UK Council's Appointee and Deputyship Services?

Independent financial advisers provide expert advice and guidance on managing the financial assets and savings of individuals under the care of Appointee and Deputyship Services, ensuring decisions are made in the best interests of those who lack the capacity to manage their own finances.

Why is an Independent Financial Adviser Important in Adult Social Care?

They bring objectivity, expertise in financial planning and risk management, and help in ensuring compliance with legal standards, which is crucial for the financial well-being of service users.

What is the Difference Between an Appointee and a Deputy in UK Social Care?

Appointees manage benefit income on behalf of a service user, whereas deputies, appointed by the Court of Protection, handle a broader range of financial responsibilities, including bill payments, bank account management, and overseeing pensions and other assets.

How are Deputies Appointed for Social Care Financial Management?

Deputies are appointed by the Court of Protection when there is a need for ongoing decision-making on behalf of a person who lacks capacity to manage their own financial affairs.

What Kind of Financial Decisions Can a Deputy Make?

Deputies can make decisions regarding bill payments, managing bank accounts, retirement and occupational pensions, and other financial assets, as authorized by the Court of Protection.

How Does a Financial Adviser Ensure Legal Compliance in Deputyship Services?

By staying updated with legal requirements and court orders, financial advisers ensure that all financial activities are compliant with laws and regulations, protecting both the service user and the council.

Can Family Members Act as Financial Advisers in Deputyship Cases?

While family members can be appointed as deputies, an independent financial adviser is often recommended for their expertise and objectivity in financial management.

What Measures are in Place to Protect the Interests of Service Users in Financial Management?

Regular audits, oversight by the Court of Protection, and the involvement of independent financial advisers help ensure that financial management is conducted transparently and in the best interest of the service user.

Are There Specific Qualifications Required for Financial Advisers in Adult Social Care?

Financial advisers in this context are usually required to have professional qualifications in financial management, along with experience in handling similar roles in the social care sector.

How Can a Council Choose an Independent Financial Adviser?

They can seek a recommendation from us, each councils delivery of their services differs and we can help you to ensure your service users get the best advice with effective admin and controls.

Does appointing an IFA mean the Council loses control?
The Council would still retain their decision making responsibilities on behalf of the client, as per the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice 8.61 ‘a deputy may seek professional or expert advice (for example, investment advice from a financial adviser or a second medical opinion from a doctor). But they cannot give their decision-making responsibilities to someone else.’ Edale operate on an advisory basis so the Council receives an options analysis and a recommendation they can agree or not.
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