There is support and assistance to help you manage your direct payments and keep you in control of your own support.
Our Direct Payments Advisory Service is a dedicated team of people who can explain how to set up and manage your direct payments.
Once you've been given your personal budget, a member of the team will support you in setting up your direct payments and talk to you about your responsibilities, such as opening a separate bank account and keeping a record of how the money is spent.
They'll also help you to think about any alternative arrangements which might be needed if your usual support arrangements break down.
If you can't manage the money yourself
If you aren't able to manage the responsibilities of having a direct payment yourself, but still want the choice and control that having a direct payment brings, you can set up a third-party arrangement.
This means that someone you trust, such as a friend or relative, can manage your direct payment on your behalf. Or a specialist agency can manage the money for you.
If this applies to you, your direct payments advisor will talk to you about your options. We have policies and procedures in place to make sure that whoever is managing your direct payment is acting in your best interest and you still have control over the support you are receiving.
Spending your direct payments
The Barnet Centre for Independent Living can offer advice if you need a helping hand to think about the support you need, and the best places to purchase that support.
There's many different and creative ways you can choose to spend your direct payment, as long as you are meeting your agreed social care needs, as set out in your support plan.
Employing a personal assistant
If you decide to use your direct payments to directly employ a Personal Assistant (PA) to support you, Direct Payment Advisors can help you to understand all of your responsibilities as an employer, such as:
- arranging public liability insurance
- understanding health and safety issues
- managing wages, tax and national insurance liabilities
They can also advise you on suitable places to advertise for or find a suitable personal assistant, or point you in the direction of agencies who can find someone for you. We have also created some factsheets to support you with:
- Recruiting a personal assistant yourself and staying safe
- Using an agency to recruit a personal assistant
- Understanding your responsibilities as an employer
- Ensuring your personal assistant has any necessary training
The National Centre for Independent Living also has a range of resources to help you when recruiting a personal assistant, including job descriptions and application forms, as well as an interview checklist and personal assistant skills checklist.
If you're employing someone directly rather than using an agency, you may be able to claim a one off ‘start-up’ payment to cover expenses such as advertising costs and insurance. Your Direct Payments Advisor will tell you more about this when you first receive your direct payment.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
If requested we can carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on any potential assistant on your behalf. A DBS check will identify people who may be unsuitable to undertake care work because they have a criminal record. This reduces the risk of abuse by ensuring that those who are unsuitable are not able to work within the caring professions.