Signing financial records

HI just looking for some advice and views on this matter. The service I work in has told us to start having clients sign their financial records (day to day spending) , whilst I agree that people should be involved as possible I feel uneasy about having people , who do not understand what they are signing and will just sign whatever they are asked to signing these records.
To clarify I do involve people in the management of their own money as much as possible it’s just them signing when they don’t understand or know what they ate signing for that I am not happy about.
Any views and or advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

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It seems to me that as long as the record of spend is tracked which it should be if the agency is appointee and staff supporting are accountable, this is good practice on the way to increasing people’s awareness and ability to make decisions. If they are just handed money it risks less involvement and learning. The MCA guidance also urges as much involvement and help to make decisions. Within limits people should also like the rest of us be able to make unwise decisions as part of learning (We’ve probably all been there!) - the issue is guidance, ideally within a spending plan where the person as much as possible has made decisions about the important things they want to ensure the money is there ofr - and can then be referred to in making choices. People should be encouraged to think about choices and make decisions and own their money - one of the most important bits of control people have. So I’m sure checks would be made and certainly should be to keep people safe but signing and owning their own money should all be part of a process to increase their awareness and ability to make decisions. It IS their money and we should all be reinforcing this with them within agreed best interest boundaries if they lack capacity

I agree totally it’s just the bit where they will sign whatever is presented to them I have issue with. An example being showing them a £10 note in their wallet but saying you are signing to say there is no money left which they happily do. I just see it as a bad habit to get into.

As someone with a background in speech and language therapy and adult safeguarding, I completely share your concerns. I am currently on mat. leave, so may not be the clearest thinker ; ), but these are my thoughts.

Has there been as assessment of the person /people’s ability to take part in their own financial decision-making? (This would need to be a specific mental capacity assessment for each question - but it could be framed as ‘can this person make decisions about how to spend their money on a daily basis’).

That would be the first step - and this would need to be recorded

If the person does not have capacity to make a particular financial decision then you would need a best interest decision about how the money was to be managed, and documented evidence of this.

If the person lacks capacity to make a decision about their finances, then a signature is at best a token gesture and poor practice, and at worst, could raise significant issues if there were ever any concerns about financial abuse.

Your local speech and language therapy and psychology team may be able to help you with ways to assess someone’s level of understanding, and social services may also have processes which could help around money management.
The SCIE also has some useful resources:

I hope this is helpful. It’s great to see someone really thinking about the implications of something like this, and not just carrying out a tick box exercise.

Hi songbird. I share your concerns. Asking people to sign something they don’t understand is illegal, not valid and immoral. Any doubt, your organisation should assess people’s capacity to understand and therefore sign. Make sure this is clearly recorded, including the attempts you have made to try and involve people in this process. If they lack capacity then they can’t sign it, simple as that. The Local Authority may launch a safeguarding investigation into your practice and CQC should certainly raise concerns about this practice if your managers suggested practice happens. hope that helps

Hi - from my point of view as an accessible information worker, we have a duty to make the information easier to understand if we want the person to sign something. This would be the reasonable adjustment as required by The Equality Act 2010. In this case I would make an easy read summary of the financial statement which would make it easy to see what the person was signing for - cost, service, time period etc… This summary would not have to contain all the detail or legalese, just enough to match the person’s capacity to understand. The easy read version would be in at least 16pt sans serif font (e.g. Arial) with one idea per sentence, a picture to support each idea and plenty of white space. Key info (amounts, dates, names of providers) would be in bold and the language would be such that even if the person cannot read, they can understand the words as they are read to them, with the pictures acting as prompts. This may seem like a lot to do but you could easily set up an easy read template for a financial statement that would just need editing for each use. And it’s a legal requirement, just like any of the other adjustments we make for people with disabilities, like access ramps and induction loops…