Direct Payments for Disabled Children
In September 2015, a new Section 4.3, Workplace Pensions was added to this chapter.References to the 'Brokerage Service Provision Team' were revised to read the 'Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team' throughout the chapter.
This chapter will be read in conjunction with Direct Payments Guidance which has been written for both parent carers' and staff use. It is placed on HertsDirect in a Direct Payments section of the Social Care section of the Local Offer. This includes:
- Introduction - the legislative context
- What are Direct Payments?
- Who is eligible for Direct Payments?
- Transition into adulthood
- What Direct Payments can be used for
- What Direct Payments cannot be used for
- Flexibility in use
- Employing Relatives
- What is the process for setting up a Direct Payment?
- Direct payment rates
- How often are direct payments made?
- Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks
- When might direct payments be suspended or stopped?
- Pooling direct payments
- Quality Assurance
- Care planning, reviewing and monitoring direct payments
- What support is available?
- Differing family arrangements
- List of Excluded Individuals
- List of Offences
This chapter is specifically for staff undertaking assessment, administering and processing direct payments, and supporting families with direct payments.
2. Assessing Eligibility for Direct Payments
Please read chapter 3 of the Direct Payments Guidance. Further guidance for workers is provided below.
2.1 Court appointed deputy
If a family requests that a court appointed deputy manages the direct payment, the 0-25 Together Service worker will discuss the proposed arrangement with the family to identify any practical and safeguarding issues. The 0-25 Together Service worker will discuss the proposed arrangement with the Team Manager for a decision, and if agreed will liaise with the legal department to ensure the Direct Payment Agreement reflects the arrangements. It will be important to ensure appropriate insurance is in place as part of these arrangements.
2.2 Willing and able assessment
Please read chapter 9 of the Direct Payments Guidance for information about the context of the assessment, including the need to explore all options with the family, and the steps following the assessment including:
- Decision making panel;
- Financial arrangements;
- Monitoring requirements.
A checklist for 0-25 Together Service workers (see Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow) is available to support the assessment of whether the parent carer is willing and able to manage direct payments.
Most parents of disabled children can give a clear indication of their consent to receiving a direct payment. They may require help to manage aspects of payroll services, budgeting; submitting quarterly/six monthly bank statements, employer responsibilities and recruitment, but the fact that they require assistance should not preclude the making of a direct payment.
The presumption should be that a person will (with assistance if necessary) be able to manage direct payments unless there are compelling reasons to conclude that they are not.
These compelling reasons might include evidence that over a period of time the person has not been able to comply with the requirements of their agreement with the authority. If direct payments have been started, and it then appears that the recipient is not able to manage the payments (with assistance) the direct payments must cease.
Please click on the following links for further guidance where required:
- Parental Responsibility and Consent;
- Carer's Assessment Procedure;
- Young Carers Procedure;
- Mental Capacity Act.
The 0-25 Together Service worker's assessment of ability to manage direct payments will include:
- The parent/carer or young person's understanding of their vulnerability and ability to put in place measures to ensure they are safeguarded, including having knowledge of the signs and symptoms of harm, abuse and neglect;
- Ability to safely recruit personal assistants including understanding:
- The importance of DBS checks - see chapter 12 of the Direct Payments Guidance for more information below for examples of different offences and how these would be risk assessed, clarifying that there are offences and situations that would not automatically restrict a person to work as a direct payment carer;
- The use of references - please refer to the sample Professional Reference Template;
- To clarify understanding of who would not be suitable carers and the role of the Council in responding to concerns about a carers suitability (see chapter 12 of the Direct Payments Guidance.
- Ability to discuss with prospective carers any issues of risk arising from the nature of the care to be provided or from the carer's own background including any previous offences which may impact on their suitability and implement measures to mitigate against risks;
- Ability to discuss boundaries, safe care procedures, discipline, use of public toilets and changing facilities especially where the young person requires independence and/or where the carer is of a different sex, road safety and other appropriate risk management strategies;
- Understanding when Ofsted registration applies to care (see chapter 5 of the Direct Payments Guidance);
- Responsibility to refer to the DBS any relevant concerns that may arise in the course of employment and the support available from the council through the Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team in doing this;
- Discussion as to whether care may take place in the prospective carer's home now or in future, and an understanding of the potential risks of contact with other people living in that home, how to address this within the DBS check by ticking the service will be home based - see chapter 12 of the Direct Payments Guidance for more information;
- Ability to ensure the personal assistant(s) are appropriately trained including in any moving and handling needs, medical interventions, physical interventions;
- Ability to monitor and supervise carers;
- Ability to set up a carer's employment and cease employment if necessary;
- Ability to engage a service provider of an appropriate standard and ensuring the wellbeing of the child / young person is safeguarded;
- Ability to fulfil employers responsibilities including awareness of legal responsibilities (please refer to Employing a PA Factsheet) concerning employment, safeguarding and data protection;
- Ability to manage a bank account;
- Ability to provide quarterly/six monthly bank statements;
- If the parent/carer is proposing to pool direct payments (see chapter 14 of the Direct Payments Guidance) with others, an assessment of the suitability of such arrangements for this child and consideration of any limitations such as:
- The number of other children / young people to pool with;
- The number of hours to be pooled and any retained for individual use.
- The number of other children / young people to pool with;
- The 0-25 Together Service worker will also need to ensure the pooled care arrangements proposed will meet the individual's identified needs, discussion of safeguarding issues, risk assessment and the practical arrangements to be considered.
The support offered by the Leonard Cheshire Disability, Direct Payment Support Scheme should be discussed. If the direct payment recipient does not intend to use this support they must inform the 0-25 Together Service worker. The 0-25 Together Service worker should advise the Brokerage Service Provision Team of this so that the Skills for Care booklet on Employing Personal Assistants can be referenced in the letter that will be sent to the direct payment recipient.
2.3 Recording the outcome of the assessment
The outcome of this assessment and a summary of the issues discussed will be noted on the child's LCS record by the worker and should note how the direct payments are to be used to meet the identified needs and any flexible use.
The assessing worker must also record whether the child's welfare will be safeguarded and promoted by the means of a direct payment.
Any decision to refuse direct payments must be made in discussion with the team manager.
Please read chapter 4 of the Direct Payments Guidance on Hertsdirect to understand the options for direct payment recipients as they approach transition.
Ordinarily, planning for social care transition starts on or after a young person 16th Birthday in accordance with the Transition Pathway for Disabled Children in order that their transition to adulthood is recognised and that they receive support in their own right as opposed to through a nominated parent or carer. Any delays in Transition after the age of 18 need to be notified to the relevant Group Manager and Head of Service.
4. The Use of Direct Payments
Chapters 5 to 8 of the Direct Payments Guidance provide details of how direct payments can and cannot be used.
4.1 Ofsted regulations
Please note that Ofsted regulations may apply to some direct payment arrangements, especially for children under eight years of age. Full details and exemptions are given in chapter 5 of the Direct Payments Guidance.
4.2 Employing relatives
Regarding the employment of relatives, as explained in chapter 8 of the Direct Payments Guidance, the allocated worker from the 0-25 Together Service should seek advice from the team manager before making a payment in these circumstances.
4.3 Workplace pensions
Direct Payment recipients are now (from 2015) required to provide access to workplace pension schemes for employed personal assistants. This applies when certain criteria are met and further advice should be sought from Leonard Cheshire Direct Payment Support Scheme. Please refer to Sections 5 and 10 of the Direct Payments Guidance which explains that where this applies, the Council will provide additional funds to cover the cost.
5. Disclosure and Barring Service Checks and Risk Assessments
Please read chapter 12 of the Direct Payments Guidance.
5.1 Direct payment recipient declines DBS check
Where a direct payment recipient has declined to obtain a DBS check from the prospective carer, the Declined DBS Risk Assessment Form (See Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow) must be used. The 0-25 Together Service worker and a member of the Brokerage Service Provision Team will attend and support the risk assessment interview.
The completed risk assessment form will be sent to the HR Safe Staffing Team and then to the Operational Director for approval. The direct payment recipient will be required to sign Declaration (2) (See Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow) before direct payments can start.
5.2 Commencing care prior to DBS check
Where the need for support is immediate and a direct payment recipient wants a carer to start prior to receiving the outcome of the DBS check, the direct payment recipient will be required to sign Declaration (1) (See Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow).
5.3 Carer is unwilling to provide evidence of DBS check
In cases where the direct payment recipient insists upon employing a carer who is unwilling to provide evidence of the DBS check outcome, the Council will consider the risks and any concerns and will either refuse the direct payment or require Declaration (2) (see Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow) to be signed.
5.4 DBS check reveals a trace
Where the DBS check reveals a trace the HR Safe Staffing Team will advise as to whether a risk assessment is required. The DBS Trace Risk Assessment Form should be completed by the direct payment recipient if they wish to consider employing the carer. The 0-25 Together Service worker and a member of the Brokerage Service Provision Team will attend and support the risk assessment interview.
5.5 Referrals to the DBS
Where direct payment recipients wish to refer to the DBS any relevant concerns that may arise in the course of employment, they are advised to contact the Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team (BSBRT) for further support. The BSBRT should liaise with Herts HR Safe Staffing Team to provide support.
Please see Appendix 1: DBS Decision Flowcharts.
6. Suspending or Stopping Direct Payments
Please refer to chapter 13 of the Direct Payments Guidance for a list of circumstances that will necessitate consideration of suspending or stopping direct payments. The 0-25 Together Service worker must contact the family and agree the next steps. Any explanation from the recipient for the circumstances should be considered and a review must take place before any action is taken. Please consult with the legal department before taking any further action.
7. Pooled Direct Payments
Please refer to chapter 14 of the Direct Payments Guidance for full information about 0-25 Together Service and Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team roles.
To set up a pooled direct payment arrangement, a meeting of all interested parties needs to be arranged. One of the families can arrange this or the Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team can do this.
The Brokerage service provision officer attending the meeting will use a BSBRT checklist (see Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow) to facilitate the discussion and will take the Pooled Direct Payment Agreement Template to the meeting to capture the decisions made.
The worker from the 0-25 Together Service should seek advice from the team manager if s/he considers any of these elements to be unmet:
- The arrangements are appropriate to meet the identified needs;
- The arrangements are adequate to safeguard children involved; and
- Are an appropriate use of public funds.
Upon receipt of confirmation from the 0-25 Together Service workers concerned, the Brokerage Service Provision Team will ensure that the following have been received:
- The direct payment pooled direct payment bank account form;
- Where applicable:
- Confirmation of prospective carers DBS checks;
- Any risk assessments required;
- The Declaration of Criminal Records Form for each prospective carer.
The Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team will then sign the Pooled Direct Payment Agreement on behalf of the Council and return this to each direct payment recipient concerned, as confirmation that the pooled arrangement can proceed.
8. Child in Need Reviews
Please refer to chapter 16 of the Direct Payments Guidance. In preparation for these meetings the Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team will:
- Request a direct payment returns report from the Brokerage Support Team;
- Request reports from direct payment carers or service providers.
Following the monthly contact that the Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team makes with direct payment recipients to see what progress is being made in setting up the arrangement and any support needed, and / or the 7 week phone call, the BSBRT will discuss with the 0-25 Together Service worker if an earlier review is required.
9. Differing Family Arrangements
Disabled children accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 or subject to an interim or final Care Order
When a child is looked after, his/her parents retain full parental responsibility. The parents are therefore not legally prohibited from receiving the direct payment, however, practically; this may not be sustainable if the child is placed in long term foster care.
A foster carer is not legally permitted to receive a direct payment on behalf of a disabled child.
It may be appropriate to give a young person who is aged 16 or 17 a direct payment who is in long-term foster care if s/he is able to consent to a direct payment and can manage the direct payment with assistance.
When a child is the subject of an Interim or a final Care Order, the Local Authority shares parental responsibility with the parents.
In the event that a child is looked after or subject to an interim or final Care Order, the allocated 0-25 Together Service worker should seek further advice from their manager/legal team if a direct payment is requested.
If a child becomes accommodated by the Local Authority a decision will be made by the Council as to whether direct payments should cease. In reaching a decision the allocated 0-25 Together Service worker in conjunction with the team manager and/or the legal team and will consider whether the child's parent is retaining parental responsibility, or sharing parental responsibility with the Local Authority, and whether the practical circumstances are in favour of direct payments continuing, or whether a 16 or 17 year old is capable and willing to receive direct payments in their own right. There may be other factors for individual arrangements to be considered.
Where the Disabled Child has moved out of the County
In the event that a disabled child moves out of the county, the 0-25 Together Service worker should seek further advice from their manager/legal team.
Suitable Person such as a Deputy managing the Direct Payment
Currently, legislation does not permit direct payment recipients (i.e. an individual with parental responsibility for a disabled child or a 16/17 year old disabled child) to appoint a Suitable Person to manage the direct payment on their behalf.
In certain circumstances a disabled child has an appointed Deputy to manage his/her property and affairs. The Deputy's authority for managing the child's property and affairs stems directly from a Court Order, which can include management of his/her direct payment.
Where there is a Deputy appointed and the direct payment recipient or their parent has requested that the Deputy manages the direct payment, the request should be made in writing to the 0-25 Together Service worker. 0-25 Together Service workers should obtain a copy of the Deputyship Order and if there is any doubt about the validity of the Order, they should seek to undertake a search of the registers of the Office of Public Guardian by completing form OPG 100. The search results will reveal whether the Court of Protection has appointed a Deputy and if so, the details of the individual.
The Council will expect the Deputy to ensure:
- The child's welfare will be safeguarded and promoted by the means of a direct payment as set out in this policy;
- The direct payments are used in accordance with the care plan to meet the identified needs;
- The direct payments are used in line with this policy and the law;
- The direct payments are set up as required by this policy including setting up a separate bank account;
- Compliance with the Council's monitoring requirements.
The Direct Payment Agreement will need to reflect this arrangement. The Brokerage and Short Breaks Review Team will liaise with the Legal Services Department to ensure an appropriate Direct Payment Agreement is in place.
In the event that the allocated 0-25 Together Service worker is concerned about the actions of the Deputy, they should seek further advice from their manager/legal team.
Appendix 1: DBS Decision Flowcharts
Appendix 2: Links
Disabled Children - Willing and Able Assessment:
Direct Payments 0-25 Together Service Checklist for Assessment
(see Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow)
Direct Payment Agreement and Financial Forms:
Pooled Direct Payments:
BSPT Checklist for Pooled Direct Payment Arrangements
(See Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow)
Direct Payment Agreement - Pooled Services
Direct Payment Agreement - Pooled Services Appendices A - H
Pooled Direct Payments Bank Account Form
Pooled DP Bank Statement Cover Sheet
DBS Checks and Risk Assessments:
Declined DBS Risk Assessment Form
(See Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow)
Declaration (1) (See Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow )
Declaration (2) (See Compass hyperlink not yet available - to follow)
Toolkit for Direct Payment Recipients:
'Support and aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs and disability'can be found on the Department for Education website.Employing Personal Assistants