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Your life, your choice

Direct payments - paying for services from an independent care provider


Information for people with social care needs

You can use some or all of your direct payments to pay for services from an independent care provider. We recommend that you check they are registered with the Care Quality Commission or another organisation that regulates care providers. You can find information about care providers in the West Sussex Care Guide.  You can also contact our  Adults’ CarePoint and ask for a copy. 

Employing a personal assistant

If you want to use your direct payments to pay for a personal assistant, we have to be satisfied that you understand your responsibilities as an employer. For advice and information about employing a personal assistant, we strongly recommend you contact Independent Lives. We pay them to advise, support and provide information to people using direct payments. If appropriate, Independent Lives will give you one-to-one support to make sure you understand the responsibilities of being an employer. Please see Useful contacts for their contact details.

What happens if I don’t spend all the money?

If we agree this with you, you can build up money in your personal budget to make sure you can cover future costs and unexpected expenses.

Currently, if you have more than eight weeks of your personal budget which you have not spent, we will look into the reasons why this has happened. If you receive direct payments and you have not agreed with your social care worker that you can build up money in your personal budget, we will reclaim the money that has built up. If you have a council-managed budget (where we manage your personal budget), we may take the money back.

Keeping you safe

Everyone has the right to live their life free from abuse and neglect. We work hard to protect adults and children who cannot keep themselves safe. If you have direct payments, you should know about the arrangements in West Sussex for protecting adults and children. Please see 'Keeping you safe from abuse and neglect' for more information.  You can also ask our staff for details if you would like to know more.

Council-managed budgets

A council-managed budget is where we manage your personal budget for you and arrange your support. You may need a council-managed budget rather than direct payments because you:
• want to use services we provide (you cannot buy services from us, even with a direct payment)
• do not want to manage the money yourself
• cannot agree to receive direct payments because you are not able to make decisions for yourself and there isn’t an ‘authorised person’ who can manage the personal budget for you or
• are in prison and so are not eligible for direct payments.

Please see the ‘Prisoner care and support’ leaflet for details of
arrangements for prisoners. You can read this on our  ‘Adults’ social care publications’ webpage or you can contact our Adults’ CarePoint and ask for a copy.

You can use a council-managed budget to pay for:
• care an independent provider provides in your home (domiciliary care)
• day care which an independent provider or we provide
• respite (short-term) care in a residential or nursing home
• transport to and from an activity identified in your care and support plan or
• practical support in your home or in the local community. Practical support can include, for example, someone to help you to go to your bank, to collect your prescriptions from the pharmacy or to arrange for necessary repairs to your home, if you have no-one else to do these things for you.

You will need to discuss what support you need with the support broker in your local support brokerage team. We will include this information in your care and support plan.

We will arrange the services you need, but you will need to agree with the provider how and when you want to receive them.

We have arrangements that mean we must give a provider at least four weeks’ notice if we need to cancel a service. If you want to change your care provider, it is important that you tell us in good time.

If you want to change some of your support arrangements at any time, please discuss this with the support broker in your local support brokerage team.

If you would like more choice and flexibility in the way your support is provided, it may be possible for you to receive direct payments for some of your personal budget.

Last updated: 23 November 2021