Shropshire Council

I'm an adult

Here are the steps to setting up a direct payment

Three people, one elderly

Step 1 - eligibility

Any Shropshire adult over 18 who is eligible for social care support following an assessment or reassessment by their social care worker can request a direct payment. If you're not able to ask for a direct payment because you lack capacity (understanding) about this, someone can ask for one in your best interest. We use an assessment (under the Care Act 2014) to decide whether a person needs care and support to help them live their day-to-day life.

If you’re interested, our Care Act assessment factsheet explains more about eligibility and preparing for your assessment. We also have a simple visual guide to explain about eligibility and preparing for your assessment.

We have a legal responsibility to offer you a direct payment if you're eligible. Please contact First Point of Contact or your social work team on 0345 678 9044 for more information.

Legally there are a few reasons why you can't be offered a direct payment. There may also be reasons why a direct payment may not be best for you. In these circumstances we'll write to you to explain the reasons and offer alternatives. 

Take a look at the Direct Payment Policy for further information.

Step 2 - support planning and agreement

Couple with support planning bookFollowing confirmation of eligibility your social care worker should discuss and plan with you how to arrange your support, and this will be written in your support plan. If you choose to have a direct payment it will be written and agreed in your support plan. You'll discuss the best way to meet your outcomes (goals) and how best to use the direct payment, which could be used, for example, to buy equipment or membership subscriptions, or support from a care agency or a personal assistant.

Your social care worker will give you a copy of your support plan once it's all agreed.

You'll need to read, agree, sign and return the direct payment agreement that your social care worker will send to you, before the direct payment can be set up. Take a look at a sample copy.

Step 3 - who manages?

You can still request a direct payment if you need some help with the paperwork or money management. In this case you can ask someone you trust to manage it on your behalf. This is the 'nominated person'. They can be a family member or friend. Both of you need to sign the nominated person's agreement and send it back to your social care worker. For more information on this, and a link to the agreement form, take a look at our our nominated and authorised person guidance page.

A nominated person manages the direct payment, but they wouldn't take on any employer responsibilities if you had a personal assistant, you would be the employer.

If you don't have someone who could help with this, we can look at an organisation (third party) instead. To do this you'd need to speak to your social care worker.

If a person doesn't have the capacity (understanding) to ask for a direct payment, someone else can on their behalf. A 'best interest' discussion decides if this is the best option for that person. If a direct payment is the best choice for them, someone else needs to take responsibility for managing the direct payment. They would be the 'authorised person'. They may already be a lasting power of attorney (LPOA) or deputy, or another person that the LPOA or deputy and the council agree with. They need to sign the authorised person's agreement and send it back to your social care worker. Take a look at our nominated and authorised person guidance page for more information.

The authorised person becomes the employer if employing personal assistants. If there is no authorised person, we can look at an organisation (third party) instead. To do this you would need to speak to your social care worker.

Step 4 - finances and your contribution

WalletYou should receive a financial assessment to complete which will calculate what you may need to pay towards the costs of your support. If you already have some support in place arranged by us you may know already what your contribution is. Your contribution needs to be paid into your direct payment account that you set up (see step 5). Take a look at our 'Money matters' section for more information.

Step 5 - finances and setting up a bank account

CoinsYou need to open a separate bank account to receive a direct payment (unless it’s a one-off purchase of an item, in which case it can be paid into your own account).

You can use a high street bank or a Just Credit Union (JCU) account specifically for direct payments. Take a look at our 'Money matters' section for more information.

You'll need a photo ID to set up any new bank account.

Your social care worker can give you the link or application form to set up a JCU account.

Once you've completed a JCU application, they'll send other forms for you to complete, including a carers payment form that authorises them to pay who you need them to pay (eg personal assistant, care agency, payroll, membership etc).

Step 6 - finances - sharing DP bank details

Once you've set up your DP bank account, please write the details in your direct payment agreement before sending back to your social care worker. They'll pass them over to the Finance Payment Team so that the direct payment monies can be paid.

It can take some time to process a direct payment through our finance systems, so the quicker you can get your bank details and the signed direct payment agreement to us the better.

Step 7 - if using direct payment for a care agency, day service, membership or equipment

If using DP for a care agency or day service, you should discuss and agree the terms and conditions.

Once in place they will send an invoice for their service. You can pass this on to JCU to pay or set up an arrangement with your high street DP account to pay them.

For memberships or equipment, you'll need an invoice/receipt and then pay them again from your high street DP bank or send it to JCU.

You need to keep copies of invoices and bills as well as bank statements to share with the Reconciliation Team when they do their finance check-up of the direct payment at three months, and then 12-monthly if running smoothly. JCU will send the bank statement to us themselves.

Step 8 - if employing a PA

Person under a magnifying glass

For advice and info about PA recruitment and employment responsibilities take a look at our 'Finding a PA' page. Costs of recruitment can be included in your direct payment.

If you want to employ a PA, we recommend that they provide a DBS (police record check) and have two references. You can pass on the PA details to your social care worker who can arrange for your PA to have a DBS check completed through our HR team.

For more information about DBS checks take a look at our 'Resources page'.

The standard rate of £11.94/hr into the direct payment account for PAs enables you to pay them £10.20/hr, which is above the living wage. The rest accrues for replacement pay and holiday pay.

Payroll

  • We recommend that you have a payroll to help meet your employment responsibilities. You can choose your own company, or your social care worker can refer you to a local company
  • The costs of payroll are included with your direct payment, and you need to arrange regular payments to the payroll via JCU or your high street DP account
  • You need to complete and return all forms that the payroll company send you
  • Once registered with the payroll you will receive pay slips for your employees if their timesheets are signed by you and sent to payroll
  • If using JCU, payroll sends the pay slips to them so that the PAs can be paid. Otherwise, you need to ensure payment to PAs from your high street DP account

Insurance

  • By law you must have employment liability insurance in place for you and your PAs from day one
  • The costs of insurance are included with your direct payment up to a maximum cost of £61 per annum. Again you'll need to arrange payment via JCU or your high street DP bank account
  • We strongly recommend getting a policy that includes a free 24-hour legal helpline for advice about employment issues
  • You can choose your own insurance provider; your social care workers can tell you of some companies and give you a contact number. You must ring the company and arrange it yourself. Some insurance providers can wait for payment whilst the policy is set up

Contract of employment

  • By law you must have terms and conditions of service or a contract of employment in place with your PA from day one
  • Your social care worker can share a template of a contract with you, or you can get one from the ACAS website or your insurance provider
  • You must fill in the PA details, hours etc, you and your PA should read and sign it, and both of you should have a copy
  • Please note that you'll need a new contract each time you employ a new PA

Consider with your social care worker the contingency plans for when the PA is on leave or sick.

Step 9 - if using a self-employed PA

For advice and information about PA recruitment, take a look at our 'Finding a PA' page. Costs of recruitment can be included in your direct payment.

If you use the services of a self–employed PA, it's recommended that they show you their enhanced DBS (police record check), and we recommend requesting two references.

They must show evidence to you of their self-employed status, a unique tax reference number from HMRC. The Reconciliation Team will want to see this when they complete a financial check-up with you. They must also show evidence of their public liability insurance to you, and again the Reconciliation Team will want to see evidence of this.

We'll pay £11.94/hr for self-employed PAs. They're not eligible for statutory pay such as holiday or sick pay. Consider with your social care worker contingency plans if the self-employed PA takes unpaid leave or is sick

They should give you an invoice of their services/hours, and you can then pay them from your high street DP bank account, or send the invoice to JCU.

Step 10 - finance check and review

For more information take a look at our 'Money matters' section.

Once the direct payment has started, you'll be sent a welcome letter from the Finance Check-up (Reconciliation) Team explaining more about what's expected.

At three months there will be a check-up from the Reconciliation Team to see how you're finding managing the direct payment.

You'll need to keep all receipts, bank statements, and invoices of expenditure related to your direct payment to show to the Reconciliation Team when they complete a finance check-up.  If you have a JCU account, they'll share these documents directly with the Reconciliation Team.

If everything’s working well, you'll then have an annual finance check-up. Where possible these should coincide with the reassessment that you have with your social care worker. The reassessment is looking at how the support and direct payment is working for you to meet your agreed goals, outcomes, and any changing needs or circumstances.