I recently came across a query about who is responsible for paying for food for a support worker when out and about with the person/s they support.
Is it the responsibility of the person being supported to buy lunch for their support worker or does the responsibility lay with the organisation or individual who provides the support?
Apparently for some it is company policy for the supported person to pay these expenses, even though the person may lack capacity. The mental capacity act 2005 section 7 and 8 does not cover the practice above seemingly leaving this particular issue open to interpretation.
Some organisations that provide support deem that the client is to pay as long as the cost of the food for the support worker is less than the cost of their own! This seems a rather random stance to take which avoids the crux of the matter… if a company provides support, and if that support requires going to café’s etc. to develop social skills some believe the company ought to foot the bill., unless the support worker is employed directly by the client, in which case it is deemed appropriate for the client to pay. As to the legislation it too is not straightforward. If the individual doesn’t have the ability to consent, then how is buying a staff member lunch in their best interests. Would it be considered as financial abuse?
If a company is getting paid to support an individual is not the cost of expenses factored in ? It has been mooted that the organisations that provide support make a big profit from individuals with learning disabilities who buy into their services and that as such the service provider should foot the bill for staff expenses incurred while out and about.
I have been given to believe that councils do not normally pay providers for the associated costs incurred whilst supporting someone. One view is that as the person who requires support is in receipt of disability benefits the costs ought to funded out of this; however, if they are already paying for the support is it right for them to also cover the cost of any associated costs of being out an about? And what about the care plan? Surely if these situations are in the care plan they would also be taken into account when any financial assessment is carried out for social services care.
So then, options:
- Service user pays for lunch
- Support worker pays for lunch
- Care provider (company) pays for lunch
What do you think? Who do you think is responsible for paying for lunch in these situations? I would be very interested to hear your views on this somewhat confusing topic!