Direct payments enable a person to purchase their own community care services, as opposed to having them arranged for them by the local authority and/or their contracted providers. It enables the person receiving community care services to employ a carer, known as a ‘Personal Assistant’. This arrangement generally allows for greater control and flexibility as to how care services are provided, often bringing with it increased independence. It is important to note that, although direct payments allow for more flexibility, they must still be used to purchase services which are required to meet the person’s assessed needs. Direct payments may also be provided to people who are entitled to services under the carers’ legislation.
If an individual has been assessed as having eligible needs for community care services, the local authority is obliged to provide Direct Payments (for both adults and children) as an alternative to providing services. There are some conditions attached to who may (and may not) receive a direct payment. The main ones are that the recipient has consented to the provision of direct payments (or that a suitable third party has done so on their behalf, where they lack capacity) and also that they are capable of managing the direct payment (alone or with assistance). There are a number of organisations and agencies which can assist to enable users to manage Direct Payments effectively.
Sinclairslaw has considerable experience in helping clients resolve a whole range of problems with their direct payments; we are here to help.