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7.5 Direct Payments Procedure


See also: Disabled Children’s Service - Thresholds and Procedure.

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.


This chapter was amended throughout in March 2012. It should be re-read in its entirety.


  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility Criteria
  3. Making Direct Payments
  4. Direct Payment Rates
  5. Packages of Care
  6. Employing Staff with Direct Payments
  7. Monitoring Direct Payments
  8. Procedure for Agreeing Direct Payments

1. Introduction

  1. Direct Payments are monetary payments by local councils direct to individuals, who have been assessed as needing certain services, including those that find themselves caring for others. Direct payments help people who want to manage their own support to improve their quality of life. They promote independence, choice and inclusion by enabling people to purchase the assistance or services that the council would otherwise provide in order to live in their own homes, be fully involved in family and community life;
  2. Day to day control of the money and care package passes to the person (for disabled children to the person with Parental Responsibility) who has the strongest incentive to ensure that it is spent properly on the necessary services, and who is best placed to judge how to match available resources to needs;
  3. The local authority pays for the service indirectly via the direct payment user and will remain responsible for and involved in the monitoring of that person's care in the same way they would were that person not a direct payment user.

2. Eligibility Criteria

  1. Criteria for eligibility for direct payments are as follows:
    • Direct payments may be made to disabled people aged 16 or over (no upper age limit) or to a person with Parental Responsibility for a disabled child;
    • The service user must have had an appropriate assessment (Children In Need Single Assessment);
    • The children should be disabled as per the definition contained within the Children Act 1989;
    • In the case of disabled children the person with Parental Responsibility must be willing to go onto the scheme;
    • In the case of disabled children, the person with Parental Responsibility manages the direct payments.
  2. Staff must actively promote direct payments to all people who are eligible. Direct payments should be offered as an option to new service users following an appropriate assessment and determination of eligibility for services. It should be offered to existing service users at review or any other appropriate time. Direct payments should be considered for 16 and 17 year old young people in their own right who are disabled to facilitate moves towards independence;
  3. The legislation allows direct payments to be used for the purpose of any services under the Children Act 1989 or the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000, except permanent residential care. This includes home care, day care, short breaks, community support services;
  4. Direct payments may not be used to purchase services from the local authority. They may not be used to purchase services from the parent of the service user and a series of other people, mainly close relatives and/or those already living in the household. In exceptional circumstances this may be considered - see guidance for full details.

3. Making Direct Payments

  1. Direct payments may be made to a person with Parental Responsibility for a disabled child over 16;
  2. Direct payment users have the option of purchasing their own care, either by contracting direct with agencies/establishments or employing their own staff or contracting with self-employed carers. They may either totally self manage the payment, or appoint a third party to assist, or be assisted by the East Riding Direct Payments Support Agency (DPSA) commissioned by the local authority to support the scheme;
  3. The East Riding Direct Payments Support Agency (DPSA) is under contract to the local authority to provide information, advice and support to direct payment users;
  4. The child must have had a Children In Need Single Assessment. In all cases a Support Plan must have been agreed and funding authorised. The results of any risk assessment must be made known to the person with Parental Responsibility to assist in managing health and safety issues.

4. Direct Payment Rates

  1. Direct payments rates are set annually.

5. Packages of Care

  1. Agreement for funding of packages of care must be agreed via the Children's Specialist Services Resource Panel. The Panel should ensure that the money paid through direct payments will provide the service the child has been assessed as needing and if some variation to these rates is needed Panel should agree this. It must be noted that we should not pay twice for the same period of care. For example, if a child receives funding for short breaks over 3 weeks (and this is agreed as an adequate sum to purchase the care they need) and they also receive funding for 5 hours a week for social activities, they should only receive this for 49 weeks of the year.

6. Employing Staff with Direct Payments

  1. People with Parental Responsibility for disabled children or young disabled people aged 16 or 17 who choose direct payments will receive advice from the DPSA and the Disabled Children's Service regarding safe employment of staff providing personal care. Children’s Social Care will undertake a (free) Disclosure and Barring Service check of staff employed by parents if the parents so wish. It must be emphasised that although it is desirable to have such a check the local authority cannot enforce this, but staff may want to query whether refusal of a check is grounds for not allowing direct payments. It may be that the family has known the person being employed for a considerable time and they do not feel a check is necessary. The DBS form should be completed and sent to the Disclosure and Barring Service Team. The form must clearly state that it is an East Riding form and have "Direct Payments" written on the top. It is the responsibility of the parent to verify the identity of the applicant.

7. Monitoring Direct Payments

  1. Direct payments will be monitored to ensure that service users continue to receive the services they have been assessed as needing, that the aim of increasing choice and independence has been met and that the user continues to manage direct payments. Financial monitoring will be completed at least annually;
  2. Service users who wish to complain about direct payments will be able to access the authority's complaints system.

8. Procedure for Agreeing Direct Payments

  1. Direct payments maybe introduced as an option and information provided during the assessment process;
  2. Assessment, application of eligibility criteria, and care planning should follow usual procedures for children in need;
  3. If all or part of the service for the child is to be via direct payments, an assessment will be presented to the Children's Specialist Services Resource Panel;
  4. If direct payments and funding is agreed, the Lead Professional notifies the service user in writing of outcome with a copy for the child's file. An E-Notification form will be completed;
  5. If direct payment and/or funding is not approved, the worker will inform the service user in writing, with a copy for the child's file;
  6. DPSA provides whatever assistance is necessary to set up direct payments and liaises with the Children's Disability Team as appropriate;
  7. Ensure service user has signed their agreement (to be kept by service user, one for the file);
  8. First review to be set up within 3 months of approval at panel;
  9. Subsequent reviews to be at least annually and to include financial monitoring;
  10. Any change in provision (other than annual uplifts) to be notified to Assessments and Payments.