Direct payments must be open to more groups

Direct payment schemes must not be restricted to particular
sub-groups, despite the government’s recent focus on
increasing uptake among older people, writes Lauren

Draft policy and practice guidance published by the department
of health at the end of August and due to be implemented at the end
of the year, reminds councils that they now have not just a power
but a duty to make direct payments, and that they must ensure
schemes serve all groups, such as people with learning
difficulties, equitably.

The guidance adds: “The aim of direct payments is to promote
independence, and they do so most effectively when they are
introduced in a spirit of partnership between the council and the

“Councils should seek to leave as much choice as possible in the
hands of the individual, and allow people to address their own
needs in innovative ways, whilst satisfying themselves that the
person’s assessed needs are being met, and that public funds
are being spent appropriately and with best value.”

Councils must also avoid making blanket assumptions that whole
groups of people will be unable to manage direct payments, it adds.
Alternative ways of making direct payments, such as through a
user-controlled trust or through a mixed package of
council-arranged services and direct payments, should also be

Where it is concluded that someone is unable to manage a direct
payment themselves, councils should consider payments to someone
other than the person with an assessed need – known as
indirect or third party payments – to ensure services are
still person-centred. Further policy and practice guidance on
indirect payments will be published at a later date.

‘Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996 – Draft policy and
practice guidance: Consultation Paper’ from

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.