Rules on how direct payments can be used must be relaxed, according
to shadow secretary of state for the family Theresa May,
writes Sally Gillen in Bournemouth.
She told a fringe meeting at the conservative party conference
in Bournemouth that guidance about how the cash can be spent was
“I fear that direct payments has not met expectations. A
small number of people are using the wonderful system but the vast
majority are not because it is too bureaucratic,” said
She added that direct payments was the one area in social care
where there seemed to be “the prospect of genuine
choice” but it had to be improved. Choice, she said, would be
a “key battle ground” of the next election.
Later research Michele Wates said a study she carried out into
the use of direct payments by disabled people revealed many found
the system “a minefield”.
Guidance on how to carry out police checks on carers and arrange
insurance were lacking.
“It is not good if social services give people direct
payments and then wash their hands of them,” said Wates.
She added that in areas where there were support groups to offer
advice on how to use the system, it had worked best.