Care home residents paid back after probe

Lord Rix with chairman of Mencap Brian Baldock, and CEO Jo Williams at the opening ceremony of Mencap's Dolphin Court in Havant.

Lord Rix with chairman of Mencap Brian Baldock, and CEO Jo Williams at the opening ceremony of Mencap's Dolphin Court in Havant.

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A CHARITY whose Havant care home was hit by allegations of financial irregularities says it has rebuilt relationships with residents and is protecting them from further financial abuse.

An investigation was launched at Dolphin Court, a Mencap care home, after poor record-keeping came to light.

The issue arose when carers who helped those with learning disabilities to buy personal items did not keep adequate records.

Thousands of pounds was subsequently paid out to the five residents involved in what Mencap described as an ‘isolated incident’.

Hampshire Police and the Hampshire safeguarding team also carried out an inquiry but no one was prosecuted.

A Mencap spokesman said relationships had been rebuilt with affected residents and their families, and added: ‘When supporting a vulnerable person to make decisions on how to spend their money, a careful balance needs to be struck.

‘Care staff have to make judgments based on their knowledge of and relationship with the individual, and by consulting with their family, establishing what is important to them.

‘The reality is that when you’re working day-in, day-out with vulnerable people with disabilities, risks are never far away.

‘Our job is to manage and reduce these risks to the best of our ability, while giving the people we support the opportunity to live fulfilled and empowered lives.

‘Mencap is committed to ensuring that the people with a learning disability we support at Dolphin Court are protected from financial abuse.

‘Our staff are trained to give support to our residents to manage their money and to positively lead their own lives and we improved this training after Dolphin Court.’

Regarding the pay-outs, believed to total more than £60,000, he said: ‘Where there was any doubt about whether the spend was agreed with the person we support or where a document was incomplete, we chose to repay these amounts, due to the historic poor application of management controls.’

Mencap employs 7,589 staff across the country and says in the last three years, there were only 32 disciplinary cases regarding some kind of alleged financial impropriety.

Of those, 14 were suspended and 12 were dismissed.

Hampshire Police is deciding whether to pursue any new lines of inquiry after being passed further information about allegations of financial irregularities at the Havant home.

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