Direct Payments Support Scheme

What is the Direct Payment Support Scheme and What does Choices and Rights do?

We currently have a Direct Payment Support Scheme for disabled people and another for families of disabled children. Both of these schemes are currently funded on a Service Level Agreement with the Local Authority (Hull). Since the scheme started we have assisted over 1000 disabled people/families of disabled children, to access Direct Payments/Personal Budgets and given them assistance recruiting Personal Assistants, we also provide on-going support to Direct Payment Users covering elements of correct employment procedures and guidance. Our team of Independent Living workers will offer support to anyone accessing the service throughout their journey to independent living.
We can provide information and advice on all aspects of taking your personal budget as a Direct Payment to employ personal assistants. We can help you to get everything set up and ready to use.
If you are considering employing a personal assistant, our Independent Living workers will provide both general information and advice as well as in-depth guidance to employing personal assistants. They can explain the benefits of directly employing personal assistants to provide care, help find and employ personal assistants and on-going advice with being an employer.

What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are payments of cash made by a Local Authority or the NHS to disabled and older people and family carers. These are a way of you meeting your own support needs instead of the Local Authority or the NHS providing services to you. You need to have an assessment carried out by a Local Authority social worker or an NHS continuing care nurse. The assessment will show whether you are eligible for a Direct Payment and what you can use it for.

Who can get a Direct Payment?

• Older people
• People with learning disabilities
• People using mental health services
• People with physical disabilities and sensory impairment
• Informal and family carers
• Children and families
• Parents of disabled children
• Young carers aged 16 and over
• An appointed suitable person

Are you eligible to use Direct Payments?

If you or the person you are caring for has been assessed by the Local Authority or NHS as needing social care services, you may be able to have some of these services paid to you as a Direct Payment. An assessment is a discussion with you about your needs and involves gathering information from people who know you well such as a carer, family member, doctor or community nurse. You will be fully involved with your assessment and will have the opportunity to make your views know.
There are specific criteria that will be considered in the assessment of your needs to identify whether you are eligible for a service or Direct Payment from the county council or the NHS.

Why would someone choose to have a Direct Payment?

People who require care and support are usually best placed to decide themselves, or with help from someone who knows them best, how they can improve their situation and manage their difficulties so things don’t get worse for them. Many people value the opportunity to tailor support towards their personal preferences and choice and achieve this by taking a Direct Payment. It also provides greater choice as people can buy support services from outside of a local authority’s preferred provider list.

How much should the Direct Payment be?

The Direct Payment has to be an amount sufficient to buy appropriate care services including the employment of Personal Assistants and paying all the costs associated with choosing this type of service.

What about recruitment of Personal Assistants (PAs)?

Choices and Rights offer tailored support in order to recruit you a new PA. We work with the service user to develop an advert for the position. We then advertise the advert on your behalf including to government job websites and other major job advertising platforms. We collect incoming applications as care of and forward these on to yourself. Choices is always down to the yourself, as to whom you employ. We can support with the full process from advertising to interviewing support, full circle back to employer advice.
As part of the Direct Payment support scheme we also have developed and manage a database of potential Personal Assistants (PA’s). We have approximately 1300 potential PA’s on the database that have already been reference checked and the number is growing every month. The database has proved to be successful locally and has recently been rolled out across the East Riding, through a partnership working with the East Riding Council. Adverts are regularly mailed to all the potential PAs who can then see and apply for vacancies they are interested in.

What do you need to be aware of when employing personal assistants?

If you choose to employ personal assistants, there are responsibilities which must be fulfilled. Some of these responsibilities include:
• Providing a contract of employment
• Paying employees and making deductions– there are payroll agencies to support with this
• Providing a Payslip
• Purchasing Employers Liability Insurance
• Managing your staff
• Keeping records, such as timesheets and a record of holidays

When you employ staff you are responsible for ensuring that a Pay as you earn (PAYE) payroll scheme is in operation, so that earnings can be declared to the Inland Revenue. This is to make sure that they pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contributions. We do not expect you to do this yourself and the Independent Living workers will set you up with a payroll service operated by Hull Council for Voluntary services who will deal with all of the payroll on your behalf. They will act as your agents with the Inland Revenue.
What about contracts?
You are also required to provide your employee with what is known as written terms and conditions. Choices and Rights can provide you with contracts and other important paperwork/support to get you on the right track to been a good employer.

Why do you need and how do you set up Employers Liability Insurance?

When you employ staff in the UK, regardless of whether you are an individual who is employing someone to meet their own care needs or employing on behalf of a disabled child in your care there are certain aspects of Employment Law which have to be complied with.
By Law, as an employer, you must have Employers Liability (EL) Insurance in place, and you can be fined for employing staff without the appropriate liability insurance in place.  Employers’ liability (EL) insurance enables you as an employer to meet the costs of damages for employees who are injured or made ill at work through the fault of the employer or the client. Employees injured due to an employer’s negligence can seek compensation so it is important that you have this protection. A Choices and Rights Independent Living worker can arrange all this for you.

Below are some example of how ‘Direct Payments’ can be used:

Mary has a learning disability and attends a Social Services day centre two days each week. This is so Mary can learn to cook and meet other people. The day centre is quite big and Mary does not like going there. Her social worker and advocate helped Mary to get direct payments instead of going to the day centre. With help from her mum and next door neighbour, Mary employed two people, one of whom assists her to attend cookery classes at her local college, the other assists Mary to take part in activities at the local Women’s Centre where she has now made several friends who she goes to the pub with.

Carl needs assistance to get up in the morning and go to bed at night. He also needs assistance to go shopping and to get out and about after work and during the weekends. Carl was receiving help from a care agency paid for by Social Services. However, he found some of the staff patronising and didn’t like a constant stream of strangers assisting him with personal care. Using Direct Payments, Carl now employs three young men who work on a rota.

John has been living in a residential home since becoming disabled ten years ago. He needs 24 hour care and always thought that living in a residential home was the only way of having his needs met. After discussing the situation with his social worker and family, John decided to leave the residential home. He then used his Direct Payments to employ four personal assistants who live in on a weekly rota.

How do you contact the team at Choices and Rights?

Choices and Rights Disability Coalition.
The Centre for Independent,
Jude Lodge (Tiverton House), Tiverton Road, Bransholme, Hull. HU7 4DQ
• Telephone:01482 878778
• Fax:01482 370999
• Textphone:01482 370986


Choices and Rights are committed to providing an excellent level of Customer Service and strive to maintain this with regular reviews, staff training and encouraging feedback from our clients. If a service user is dissatisfied with the quality of service provided by Choices and Rights they can raise a complaint by telephone, email, a letter, via our feedback form or in person.