This chapter was added to the manual in March 2017.
1. What are Direct Payments?
A Direct Payment is money given to parents/carers or young people, by the authority, to enable them to buy in support that is assessed as being needed, instead of the authority providing that support through their own services i.e. residential care or outreach services. Direct Payments do not affect benefits.
2. Who can get Direct Payments?
Those who have been assessed as meeting the criteria for disabled children's services and are:
- Persons with Parental Responsibility of a disabled child under 18;
- Disabled young people (16-18).
3. How Often are Direct Payments Made?
Direct Payments are paid in advance into a bank or building society account specifically set up for this purpose, as a one off payment or on a weekly basis. If the direct payment is assessed as being needed at key times e.g. school holidays, then payment will be made accordingly.
4. What is the Process?
- The child and/or family's needs are first assessed by a Social Worker from the Disabled Children's social work team;
- As well as completing an Assessment of Need, they will also make an assessment as to whether the parent/carer or young person is willing and able to administer direct payments, with appropriate support being provided;
- The Social Worker will then present a request to a Resource Panel of Managers and service providers who will decide whether Direct Payments are the most appropriate option to meet the need and how the funds should be allocated;
- Once agreed, the Children with Disabilities Commissioning Manager will visit the recipient to explain how the scheme works discuss any PA recruitment needs, initiate direct payments process, which includes completing the direct payments agreement.
5. Direct Payments Can be Spent on Employing a Personal Assistant (PA)
- To take the young person/child into the community to access an activity, support inclusion, going to a club etc;
- To work with the child directly within the home, to give parents and siblings a break;
- To stay overnight to give respite to parents;
- Or a registered childminder or child home carer (for children aged under 8).
6. Direct Payments Can also be Spent On
- Using an approved agency to provide direct care to meet your child/family's needs;
- After school clubs and holiday play schemes for your disabled child;
- Residential overnight breaks for your disabled child not provided by the local authority.
7. Direct Payments Can Not be Spent On
- Any services already provided by the council e.g. Residential or Outreach support services;
- People living in the same household except in exceptional circumstances.
8. What are the Benefits of Direct Payments?
Direct Payments allow parents and young people greater choice flexibility and control, to employ their own workers to provide an individual service to meet their needs.