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If you receive a personal budget for your child or young person, a direct payment is one way to manage the funds.

If your child is eligible for specialist services through a Social Care Plan for disabled children, or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), you can request to receive direct payments instead of the existing services commissioned by us (Hertfordshire County Council).

Direct payments for health

The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have their own Direct Payment arrangements for eligible children. That is not covered by this guidance except where a support package is jointly funded with health.

Who can have direct payments?

Direct payments are usually for those children who have very complex needs and require specialist support.

To get direct payments, the child or young person must:

  • be between 0-18 years old
  • be living in Hertfordshire
  • have a social care plan, children in need plan, a short breaks plan for disabled children or an EHCP
  • be willing and able to manage direct payments (or their parents/ carers must be)

If you have an EHCP and receive direct payments for educational use, you can receive direct payments until the EHCP stops (even if it continues beyond 18) where the provision covered by the direct payment is agreed to continue.

For social care use, the Adult Care Services policy applies from the person’s 18th birthday.

Using your direct payments

Direct payments allow parents and young people greater flexibility and control, to employ their own workers at times convenient to them and in the way they wish, to provide an individual service to meet their needs.

You can use your direct payments to pay for a Personal Assistant, who can take your child out to enjoy activities and clubs, support them with life skills, for example preparing for adulthood, or can provide support at home. Some people say this gives them the most control over the help they get.

This can come with the responsibility of being an employer. This might sound complicated but you can get free advice about employing a personal assistant from the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity.

Direct payments can also be used to pay service provider organisations.

You can also group direct payments with other families to buy combined support/ services, for the benefit of all the children and young people receiving the payments. Speak to the Children and Young Peple's SEND Brokerage Team to discuss this option.

How do you set up a direct payment?

You will need an assessment of your child and your family's needs, carried out by a member of the 0 - 25 Together Team for social care, or SEN for EHCP provision.

When you ask us to consider direct payments, the relevant professional will discuss with you:

  • all options for receiving services, including commissioned services.
  • the Direct Payment policy and the implications and responsibilities of receiving a direct payment
  • the proposed plan for how direct payments will be used to meet outcomes identified in the care plan, including the flexibility of the arrangements
  • whether it is poddible to provide funds for the proposed use

They will also make an assessment as to whether you or your young person are willing and able to manage the direct payments, with appropriate support being provided.

How does the council make decisions about Direct Payments?

The Direct Payment must be agreed by the council, and it will only be agreed if it is clear that:

  • They will be used in an appropriate way and in the best interests of the child or young person
  • They meet the criteria to receive a Direct Payment
  • Making the Direct Payment will not negatively impact upon services provided to other children
  • It is an efficient use of resources and offers value for money, and funds can be released for the proposed use.
  • There is agreement from the Head Teacher or Principal if the Direct Payment is to be used to pay for support within school or college.

If HCC / CCG do not agree to a Direct Payment, this will be explained in writing including details of how to challenge the decision.

If agreed, the amount of money will be decided in line with what is required to cover the level and type of support agreed in the childs plan.

How are Direct Payments set up?

Once agreed, the Children and Young People’s SEND Brokerage Team will send you:

  • a welcome letter explaining all the important information about your Direct Payments
  • the Direct Payment Legal Agreement
  • DBS information and Declaration of Criminal Records form
  • a leaflet about the Leonard Cheshire Direct Payment Support Scheme. They can also give you information about criminal background checks (called DBS) and do the check for your proposed Direct Payment employees. They will also help you with becoming an employer - for things like payroll, pensions and insurance.
  • bank details form
  • information about the Personal Assistant Register

You will be asked to set up a separate current bank account with a UK clearing bank or building society, which must be used for direct payments only.

This ensures that the money you receive for the direct payment can be separately identified from your own personal finances.

You will also sign and return a Direct Payment Legal Agreement. A copy of the legal agreement is kept by the Council's Brokerage Support Team.

Direct payments start from the date when the DBS check / Declaration has been completed and all the completed paperwork is received by the Children and Young People’s SEND Brokerage Team.

Receiving the payments

Direct Payments are not classed as income so they are not taxed and will not affect the level of any benefits you receive. If Direct Payments are used to employ a person then there is the responsibility to have Employer’s Liability Insurance and to pay tax and national insurance for the employee and to make a pension available where needed.

Direct Payments are usually paid 4 weekly, in advance, into your seperate bank account. You'll receive all the contact information for the Brokerage Finance Support team in your welcome letter. You'll need to keep receipts and records of what you spend as explained in the legal agreement. You must also send us the monitoring information on time.

Get advice about managing direct payments

The Children and Young People's SEND Brokerage Team can support you and offer information about direct payments. You can email us at CYPSENDBrokerage@hertfordshire.gov.uk or call 01438 844254.

You can get free advice and help to set up your direct payments from Leonard Cheshire Disability, a charity which helps disabled people in the UK. Visit them online, or go in person to their Hertfordshire office in Hitchin.

Dosh - Financial Advocacy is an organisation which supports people with a learning disability to manage their money. They also help a young person to manage their own direct payments.

Direct payment forms

Some documents can be requested by contacting the Children and Young People's SEND Brokerage Team: 

  • Direct payment agreement form

Opens in new window : ::- : - Available for families to read before confirming they would like to proceed with direct payments.

  • Direct payment bank details form Opens in new window

Completed by the person getting the payments to set up a separate bank account for the money to be paid into.

  • Direct payment bank statement cover sheet Opens in new window

Completed by the person getting the payment to go with the bank statements that are sent to the council.

  • Declaration of criminal records Opens in new window

This is completed for each carer that will be employed through direct payments. This form should be completed with the carer and returned to the council.

Other documents:

These documents are all relating to pooled Direct Payments. Pooling funding means taking some of your direct payments and adding it to funding from one or more people to purchase a service together.

  • Direct payments employing a personal assistant factsheet
  • Direct payments agency questionnaire
  • Direct payments agreement template: pooled services
  • Direct payments quality checklist
  • Direct payments appendix A: services
  • Direct payments appendix B: benefits and outcomes
  • Direct payments appendix C: risk assessment
  • Direct payments appendix D: employment of PAs and purchasing services
  • Direct payments appendix E: recruitment, induction, training and supervision
  • Direct payments appendix F: financial arrangements
  • Direct payments appendix G: emergency contact details.

 

 

0300 123 4043 - Hertfordshire County Council customer call centre

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