Norfolk County Council - Finance Abuse and Safeguarding Officer
Norfolk County Council has had a financial abuse and safeguarding officer (FASO) in post since May 2019 after the need for the position was identified by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board, in relation to compliance with Section 42 of the Care Act 2014.
The FASO enables a universal service to the person in need of care and support who has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, financial abuse. They will be a point of contact for financial services, social services and the police in financial abuse and safeguarding cases. The FASO can assist in investigations and complaints of financial abuse. They also provide guidance on financial abuse cases and complete internal training sessions.
The FASO can receive a case from the financial services departments or from social services. Social services can refer a case on receiving concerns of financial abuse and prior to a formal Section 42 enquiry, and up to after a formal safeguarding strategy discussion. The FASO will review all relevant financial and social services systems and make a decision as to what action is required. They will contact the person(s) managing the finances and request information and explanations. Investigations might suggest that a client's mental capacity should be assessed. Once all relevant enquiries have been made, an informed decision is made. This could be a formal safeguarding referral to the police.
Of referrals to the police by the FASO, 100% of these have led to a police led investigation. This is down to the pre-submission information gathering by the FASO and knowledge of the information required by the police to make their decision.
Not all cases require formal criminal action, but the FASO will always take action to investigate and stop financial abuses. A referral to the FASO is only considered complete when the obligations under s42 of the Care Act have been met, all relevant enquiries have been made and the abuse has stopped.