Personal budgets, direct payments and support plans

Personal budgets

Your local authority must set a personal budget for you.

This is a statement that sets out the:

  • cost of meeting your eligible needs
  • amount you must pay towards the costs of meeting your needs based on your financial assessment
  • amount the local authority must pay towards meeting your needs

You can use it to:

  • arrange your own care and support using direct payments
  • authorise the council to arrange care and support for you
  • arrange some care and support yourself, and have the council arrange some for you

Your social care worker will go through this with you when you agree your care and support plan.

Direct payments 

Direct payments are payments we make to you so you can arrange the care and support we have agreed you need.

You can arrange and pay for your own care and support instead of us doing it for you.

There are some limited circumstances where a direct payment is not appropriate and an adult care worker will be able to tell you about these.

Who can get direct payments

If you're aged 18 and over, and already getting support from us, you can ask for direct payments. You can ask your social care worker for information and advice.

If you're not already getting support from us, you can contact us to discuss your care and support needs. The discussion will identify whether you do need care and support and how these needs could be met.

The amount you get depends on your income and savings. We will carry out a financial assessment to tell us how much you can afford to pay towards your care and support. Your contribution is deducted from the direct payment before you receive it.

How direct payments are paid to you

You can choose from the following:

Pre-paid card

A pre-paid card is like a debit card which you can use to pay for your care and support. You will receive the money as monthly payments.

We can manage your budget for you

If you do not wish to have a direct payment the council can manage your budget on your behalf. This is called a Holding Account.

You must have arrangements in place to manage the necessary paperwork and prepaid card account, either alone or with help and will also need to satisfy the council that the services which you intend to buy will meet your assessed needs.

Some ways a direct payment can be used

Employing a personal assistant

Employing a personal assistant is one option that can give you a more tailored and flexible package of support which suits you. If you plan to employ staff, you will need to show that you will meet your legal requirements as an employer.

We can provide you with free comprehensive payroll support and with advice on employer responsibilities and best practice.

Buying services

If you don't want to employ staff, you can buy your care and support from a service provider to meet your needs.

You may wish to arrange your support yourself directly with the people you think are best to provide the help you need. You can discuss this with your care manager as some conditions may apply.

Employing staff and buying services

Alternatively, you can employ staff and buy care and support.

A service provider is an agency or business that sells you care services, like care workers.

Your adult social services worker can provide names of regulated service providers in your area that provide the services you need. If you have a contract with a service provider, they will be answerable to you, not the council.

Reviewing your direct payments

We will review your direct payments every year, or as we think necessary, to make sure this is working well for you. This is set out in your direct payments agreement.

We will ask you to show your records of how you’ve spent the direct payment money. This could be:

  • bank statements
  • invoices and receipts
  • payroll records

Suspend or end your direct payments

You can choose to end direct payments at any time if:

  • you're no longer able to manage the direct payments
  • you no longer need the care and support

We will suspend or end your direct payments if:

  • you're using your direct payments for anything other than what we agreed
  • you're assessed to no longer need the care support your direct payment is used for
  • we consider the direct payment is not suitable to meet your needs

If your direct payments are suspended or ended, we will still arrange your care and support to make sure your assessed eligible needs are met.

Check your support plan is meeting your needs

Once the support you require has been arranged, we will work with you to make sure it continues to meet your needs.

We will review your support plan with you regularly (at least once a year, but more often if you need it).

This may involve making changes to the care and support you receive, to reflect:

  • changes in your circumstances
  • your priorities
  • the different things you may want to achieve

It may involve reviewing your eligibility and the contribution you make towards your care and support from us.

Request an assessment or review

We can give you information, advice and guidance to help you remain independent. Where you may require additional help we can assess you to see if you have eligible needs or review your current care package.

Request an assessment or review

Last updated 15 November 2022