Independent support for Children's direct payments
As part of Camden Council’s Direct Payment service, there is independent specialist support provided by People Plus to help you manage your Direct Payment. The service is for anyone who receives a direct payment, including their carers and families.
Click on the below links for information on how People Plus can support you.
Independent support is provided by People Plus who can help you to set up a direct payment and provide ongoing support the whole time you receive direct payments. If there are any changes to a Care Plan, or you have any queries about the direct payment, People Plus can assist and advise you.
People Plus's contact details are:
Email - email@example.com
Phone – 0330 123 2815
A direct payment gives you flexibility and choice to meet your child’s care needs but it must be used in the way agreed in the Care Plan. People Plus will talk you through the various options so that you can decide what is the best way to meet your child’s needs.
The various options include:
1. Purchasing non-personal care services
You may wish to use your direct payment to pay for services, such as activities or classes. People Plus can support you by signposting to what is available.
2. Hiring a Support Worker from a homecare agency
You may wish to hire a Support Worker through a homecare agency. This means the homecare agency is the employer and you have less control over choosing your Support Worker.
People Plus will explain what that involves and support you to set up payments to the agency.
3. Recruiting your own Support Worker
You may wish to recruit your own Support Worker. This means you become an employer and you have more choice and control over who your Support Worker is.
People Plus will explain what the legal responsibilities are and help you budget for staff costs. People Plus can also support with the recruitment process, such as writing a job advert, job description, preparing for the interview stage and drawing up an employment contract.
More information is available below to help you consider whether you want to be an employer.
When you agree to receive a direct payment, you are responsible for ensuring services you purchase and staff you employ get paid.
If you wish to recruit a Personal (Care) Assistant for your child, there will be some budgeting required that People Plus will help you with.
Depending on the services you are purchasing, People Plus will explain the options for setting up the payments to ensure they are paid on time.
The options include using a Managed Payroll service or a separate bank account. Children and Young People’s Disability Service is exploring an additional option to be made available in the form of a Pre-Paid Card which doesn’t involve having to set up a separate bank account.
1. Using a Managed Payroll service for making and receiving payments
A managed payroll service is a way to receive your direct payment and pay for services. This means you choose to have your direct payment fund paid directly to the managed payroll service. The payroll company then takes on responsibility for the financial administration of your direct payment and they make payments to services etc upon your instructions. Also, you stay in control of your child’s care.
Using a managed payroll incurs a small fee but it will save a lot of time and trouble in the long run because it takes on the full administrative responsibility of making payments. A managed payroll may be the preferred option for many people. For others, it will be the payment method they will be required to move to if they are unable to manage their account appropriately using other methods.
Children and Young People’s Disability Service (CYPDS) is required to carry out regular checks to see how you are using your direct payment fund. If you use a managed payroll service, CYPDS will contact the payroll service for any queries that arise as part of the checks that CYPDS make. The payroll service will also submit the required quarterly documents on your behalf.
There are many payroll companies on the market. You can either do your own research to select a payroll company or People Plus can provide contact details of companies that other direct payment recipients in Camden are using.
Payroll support if you employ a Support Worker
If you wish to employ a Support Worker, there are a number of admin or payroll tasks such as calculating tax and National Insurance. These tasks can be easily completed by a payroll service.
A payroll service can also deal with HM Revenues and Customs on your behalf, and help you get registered with the Inland Revenue as a new employer. They can also do other tasks such as process payments for you, such as staff wages and produce payslips.
Many payroll companies also support with the day to day management of money and payments.
Using a payroll company incurs a small fee and People Plus can support with budgeting for these costs. In the long run, a payroll service will save a lot of time and trouble because they take on the full financial administrative responsibility. However, it means that your direct payment funds are held by the payroll company, which they put in a separate bank account.
But payments are only made upon your given instructions, so you are still responsible for managing the funds. Also, you stay in control of your child’s care.
There are many payroll companies on the market. You can either do your own research to select a payroll company, or People Plus can provide contact details of companies that other direct payment recipients in Camden are using.
2. Using a separate Personal Bank Account for making and receiving payments
In some circumstances, a separate bank account may be the most suitable way to manage your direct payment. This would involve increased responsibilities on your part when CYPDS makes checks your direct payments, such as submitting regular, detailed documents when requested.
Children and Young People’s Disability Service process funds on a monthly basis in advance. They are transferred into the account of the person who is responsible for the financial side of a direct payment, which is usually the child’s parent. This person is called a Financial Appointee. When the child reaches 18 the parent can choose to continue the role.
When a direct payment is first set up it, whenever the agreed start date is, a part payment will generally be made for the period to the end of that first calendar month.
Similarly, whenever a direct payment is increased, the additional funds for the remainder of that month will generally be paid from the date of the increase.
Funds are transferred either to your chosen payroll company or a separate personal bank account – whichever payment system you have decided to set up.
Purchases that are made using a direct payment may only be for the needs agreed in your child’s Care Plan.
So that Children and Young People’s Disability Service (CYPDS) can ensure direct payments are used properly they are required to regularly check direct payment accounts.
If you use a managed payroll service, CYPDS will contact them as part of the checking process.
People Plus can explain what the checking process involves and what you need to do to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Separate bank account
If you are using a separate bank account for your direct payment, CYPDS will regularly ask for records of spend and additional information from time to time. To ensure this process goes smoothly, proper records of spend should be kept for up to 6 years. This is in case there is a dispute regarding the spend which requires back-up evidence. Therefore, it is essential that you keep records such as receipts for 6 years as part of the checks that CYPDS is required to make.
People Plus can support you with submitting the quarterly returns as part of CYPDS’s financial checks.
If you are considering employing a Support Worker, you can contact People Plus to discuss what is involved. You can also visit the Skills for Care website which has an Employing Personal Assistants toolkit to help you think about your responsibilities as an employer.
Also, below are some points that you may help you to decide:
- If you are considering using a Support Worker provided by a homecare agency, you can find out about getting a service agreement in place with the agency to ensure you receive care to a standard you expect
- Recruiting a Support Worker in London has its challenges due to a shortage of staff. People Plus will do their best to support you by writing a job advert and advise where the advert can be placed to ensure effective publicity
- If you have any questions about finding a Support Worker, contact People Plus in the first instance by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0330 123 2815
- There are restrictions to who you can and cannot employ. People who live with you cannot be employed as your Support Worker unless there are exceptional circumstances. But you may employ someone you live with to provide the management and administration of your direct payment, if it is agreed by CYPDS
- You may employ a relative who doesn’t live with you to be a Support Worker
- As an employer, you have responsibilities to your employee. These include: paying your Support Worker at least the minimum wage, ensuring you deduct tax and NI from their wages, paying their NI contribution, getting employers’ liability insurance, and others. People Plus can provide more details about your legal responsibilities. Email People Plus at email@example.com or phone them on 0330 123 2815
- As an employer you are required to check that a prospective employer is eligible to work in the UK.
- If you are recruiting a Support Worker you strongly advised to request an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. A DBS check is to see if someone is fit to work with adults and children for safeguarding purposes. It enables employers to make safer decisions regarding whom they recruit. People Plus will be able to tell you more about how to get a DBS check
- Using your direct payment to employ a Support Worker may involve some setting up costs. For example, getting a DBS check requires a one-off fee that you need to pay for.
- If you are employing someone for the first time, People Plus can provide advice on managing your staff, such as conducting performance reviews and providing access to activities or training. Email People Plus at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0330 123 2815
- If you need support with employment issues you can contact People Plus in the first instance. Alternatively, the Camden Advice Network, https://www.camden.gov.uk/advice-money-benefits-debt, offers free and independent advice for Camden residents.
1. Why contingency costs are needed
If you employ staff, it is advisable to calculate or budget for sufficient funds to pay for expected costs as well as unexpected costs and one-off events.
When your direct payment is being set up, People Plus will explain what contingency costing is and what the calculations are so that you are clear from the outset. They will also answer any questions you have.
It is important that you have enough contingency so that your care continues to be provided when the unexpected happens. This could be things like if:
- your staff is on sick leave and temporary cover is required
- your staff is unavailable due to urgent annual leave and you need to find cover
- there is a short-term increase in your care needs and you require additional support
If your child's care needs have significantly increased and you need additional support over a longer period of time, please contact Children and Young People’s Disability Service on 020 7974 3597 (Duty Manager) or email email@example.com to review your child’s Care Plan and have your direct payment increased accordingly so that you do not run out of contingency funds.
2. How much contingency can be built up
Up until the coronavirus pandemic, all direct payment recipients were advised to hold between 4 to 6 weeks’ contingency on their direct payment account.
Since April 2020, recipients may hold up to 10 weeks’ contingency on their direct payment account. The arrangement is temporary and we will review it in due course.
3. Checking your contingency levels
As part of your annual Care Plan and direct payment review, Children and Young People’s Disability Service (CYPDS) are required to check your direct payment account to see whether you have a sufficient level of contingency funds.
If the contingency fund is low, CYPDS will try to determine why this is and look at what expenditures have been made.
Other things that CYPDS checks on are expenditures that are not part of meeting your agreed care needs, or whether contingency funds have needed to be used because of unexpected situations such as a Support Worker going on sick leave.
If your account has more than the 10 weeks’ amount currently allowed for contingency, CYPDS will need to understand why that is. Sometimes, it may be necessary to redeem any amount that is over the 10 weeks back to CYPDS.
4. Ensuring your contingency remains within the permitted level
To manage your contingency so that it doesn’t go above the permitted level, you can regularly monitor your direct payment account and check the balance is below the 10 weeks' contingency
If you use a managed payroll provider, you can request a balance on a regular basis to monitor your contingency level.
If you employ a Support Worker, People Plus will ensure you receive all the support you need. This includes:
- ensuring quality of care that your Support Worker provides is to a standard you expect, such as by providing written guidelines for supporting you to meet your care needs
- agreeing reasonable expectations for the role of your Support Worker and a code of conduct that may include time keeping and boundary setting
- identifying training opportunities to develop your Support Worker’s skills, such as lifting and handling; health and safety; epilepsy management; how staff can support you to make day to day priorities about your care and make good choices (eg. Talk for Health training https://talkforhealth.co.uk/training). You can also visit the Skills for Care website to find out how to access some of the essential training on offer
- contingency planning and risk assessment such as making plans for unexpected events and ensuring your care needs continue to be met. This includes making a contingency plan and budgeting so that you have sufficient funds in your direct payment account to cover emergency situations.
- recalculating budgets such as when direct payment rates are updated to reflect inflation or an increase in the London Living Wage. When this happens, we will write to inform you that the rate has been adjusted. Changes to the rate may mean you need to reset your budget, which People Plus can help you with.
- The things that need to be budgeted for are staff wages, holiday pay, sick pay, tax & NI, and other costs. People Plus can also help you work out a pay rate for your Support Worker.