Scotland’s councils are failing to pass on funds earmarked for training the providers and recipients of direct payment services to voluntary sector support groups, campaigners have claimed.
The Scottish Consortium of Direct Payments Support Organisations has stated that only a handful of councils have passed on a share of £1.8m in Scottish executive funding designed to increase uptake of direct payments and alleviate waiting lists.
A further £2m has been allocated for 2007-8. Consortium chair John Long said he understood the money was meant to be used to develop support organisations and fund them to train direct payment recipients and personal assistants, but councils were using it to promote direct payments.
He said: “Discussions with the Scottish executive have indicated they recognise that local support organisations are best placed to deliver the training and support required by direct payment recipients.”
Long added that future executive guidance would emphasise councils were expected to fund the training of personal assistants but not deliver it themselves due to potential conflicts of interest.
Eric Jackson, social work spokesperson at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said he expected future executive guidance to clarify several issues connected with direct payments.