Agenda item

Establishment of a Financial Abuse and Exploitation Service for Rotherham

To consider a report which sets out proposals for a new service to help prevent the financial abuse and exploitation of Rotherham residents.


Cabinet Portfolio: The Leader

Strategic Directorate: Adult Care, Housing and Public Health.


This report set out proposals for a new service to help prevent the financial abuse and exploitation of Rotherham residents. The proposed service would include the recruitment of a specialist investigator dedicated to Rotherham to investigate cases where crime was suspected, the review of historic exploitation cases and the delivery of financial exploitation and abuse awareness training for key staff and partners. The service would add to the existing safeguarding offer within the Council’s Adults Safeguarding Service and the Council’s Trading Standards Service to provide a more comprehensive response.


Discussions had been held with West Yorkshire Joint Services Trading Standards Team to support the development of options for a service offer for Rotherham. This illustrated the key aspects of work to supplement and enhance a procured Rotherham service offer. The activity would be supported by existing resources within Council services such as Adults Safeguarding, Trading Standards and key partners. The new service offer would include the appointment of a specialist investigator to deal with Rotherham casework; a review of historical cases; delivery of awareness raising; and development of processes and procedures.


The Leader introduced the report and outlined that this initiative was cross-cutting but would sit in the Adult Care Service. An overview of what was meant by financial exploitation was given and it was noted that this was one of the most frequent concerns raised with adult safeguarding. It was outlined in respect of this type of criminal exploitation, older people were often victims, however, it was not limited to this group.


The Chair invited questions from the Board and a discussion on the following issues ensued:


·      Further details were sought of the options considered. It was outlined that there were benefits to not commissioning the service from ‘scratch’. The West Yorkshire team had developed considerable expertise and a local investigator would add to this.

·      The recommended hybrid option was welcomed. It was noted that it was likely that a number of investigations would focus on financial abuse of people with care packages. A concern was expressed that the narrative around successful investigations or convictions should be managed carefully so as not to deter carers. In response, it was noted that there was a challenge about the where the new service was positioned, although as the concerns were reported as safeguarding issues, it was felt that it was located appropriately. Assurance was given that the messages about convictions and progress would be managed sensitively.

·      It was noted that an evaluation would be carried out after the first year. The Chair requested that a briefing be circulated to the Board on progress.

·       It was noted that vulnerable children and young people in receipt of care packages or payments could also be victims of financial exploitation. It was outlined that there was no intent in the design to limit the service to one section of the community.

In conclusion, the Chair welcomed this initiative as part of the Council’s wider safeguarding responsibilities.




1.    That Cabinet be advised that the following recommendation be supported.

1)         Approve the establishment of a Financial Exploitation and Abuse Service for Rotherham as detailed at Section 3 – Option 2.

2.    That a briefing is circulated to update OSMB on the outcomes of the first year of delivery following appointment of a specialist service provider.

Supporting documents: