Rules on how direct payments can be used must be relaxed, according
to shadow minister for the family Theresa May.
She told a Commission for Social Care Inspection fringe meeting at
the Conservative party conference in Bournemouth this week that
guidance about how the cash could be spent was “too strict”.
“I fear that direct payments have not met expectations. A small
number of people are using the system but the vast majority are not
because it is too bureaucratic,” said May.
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 would be a “key battleground” of the
Later, researcher 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.