Direct payments add to council costs

Direct payments will cost councils more than conventional care procurement unless they reduce the value of payments, an Audit Commission report has claimed.

Its study of 11 councils found that the costs of supporting direct payment recipients and training staff outweighed potential savings in transferring administrative responsibilities to users and freeing up care managers’ time.

The only way authorities could make savings overall would be by reducing the value of direct payments below the sum they paid for comparable levels of care, it added.

Of those councils that provided this information, five paid more for care, three paid the same and two paid more for direct payments, and all found that direct payments cost more than they saved.

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