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4.2.3 Disabled Children and Young People Direct Payments

Please note with effect from 1st December 2012, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) replaced the ISA and the CRB (see the Disclosure and Barring Service website).

AMENDMENT

In September 2016,Services that May Not be Purchased Via the Use of Direct Payments, Section 6, was updated to include that Direct Payments are not usually used to provide care for a disabled child to enable carers to go to work. However they can be considered in exceptional circumstances. Passing the threshold for exceptional circumstances is judged on the individual case, taking into account the complexity of the child’s needs, the environmental circumstances and the wider support network available. They will only be authorised following approval by an Assistant Director.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Children and Families Direct Payments Support Service
  3. Eligibility for a Direct Payment
  4. Child and Family Assessment and Child in Need Plan
  5. Needs that Can be Met Via the Use of Direct Payments
  6. Services that May Not be Purchased Via the Use of Direct Payments
  7. Determining the Cost of a Direct Payment
  8. Setting up the Direct Payment
  9. Reviewing the Direct Payment
  10. Safe Recruitment Practices
  11. Positive DBS Checks
  12. Contingencies

    Appendix 1: Direct Payment Process flowchart

    Appendix 2: Provision and Costings for Overnight Short Breaks

    Appendix 3: Direct Payments Agreement

    Appendix 4: Direct Payments - You and Kent County Council - Rights and Responsibilities


1. Introduction

Meeting the needs of vulnerable children can be complicated and the procedure contained in this document has been developed to address issues that are specific to Specialist Children’s Services and provides guidance for practitioners when working with families or young people who take up Direct Payments to meet assessed needs. It is supported by a flow chart outlined in Appendix 1: Direct Payment Process flowchart.

Direct Payments policy is set out in the multi-disciplinary document Direct Payments Policy and Practice Guidance, which should be read in conjunction with this procedure.


2. Children and Families Direct Payments Support Service

The Families and Social Care Directorate has commissioned a dedicated Direct Payments Support Service.


3. Eligibility for a Direct Payment

To be eligible for a Direct Payment a child must be disabled and meet the criteria as a Child in Need for either the Specialist Children’s Services or the Disabled Children’s Service (DCS) (see Disabled Children’s Services Procedure).


4. Child and Family Assessment and Child in Need Plan

A Direct Payment can only be made once a social worker has completed a Child and Family Assessment, and a Child in Need Plan. The Child in Need Plan should identify the child’s assessed needs and how these needs are to be met.

In considering how to meet the assessed needs, the social worker should always offer a Direct Payment, whilst ensuring that this will be in the best interests of the child.

The option and appropriateness of a Direct Payment should be discussed with the family. Where the young person/parent/carer is unable to manage a direct payment but wish to make use of this option, the social worker should seek advice from the Children and Families Direct Payment Service (CFDPS), and consideration should be given to the use of an Independent Living Trust. The family should be provided with a copy of CFDPS leaflet, which gives information about Direct Payments. The family should be advised that they can obtain further information from the CFDPS. Should the young person/parent/carer want to explore the option of Direct Payments, the social worker will then need to make a referral to the CFDPS. A referral form can be obtained from the CFDPS. It is important to work alongside the CFDPS and the family to achieve the best outcomes for the child.

The social worker will establish the cost of any equivalent service provided by the local authority and obtain agreement to the funding of the care package from their manager/supervisor, ensuring that it does not exceed this cost.

Where a Direct Payment is going to be made, the following should be included in the Child in Need Plan:

  • The child’s identified needs;
  • The level of services required to meet the assessed needs;
  • The needs that will be met through Direct Payments;
  • Those services that will be provided by some other means.


5. Needs that Can be Met Via the Use of Direct Payments

  • A short break as part of a child’s assessed need and care plan;
  • Personal care and support for the child within the child’s own home where this forms part of the child’s assessed need and care plan;
  • Personal care and support to facilitate a child to access leisure, cultural and sporting activities within the local community where this forms part of the child’s assessed need and care plan;
  • Personal care and support necessary to access out of school and holiday activities where this forms part of the child’s assessed need and care plan;
  • Equipment to support independence following an assessment by a Children’s Occupational Therapist;
  • Overnight Short Break provided by a Personal Assistant in the child’s own home, where this forms part of the assessed need and care plan. We are currently taking legal advice about short breaks in the home of a Personal Assistant, and until the legal position is clarified a direct payment cannot be used to fund such an arrangement;
  • Overnight Short Break in the child’s own home provided by an Independent Agency registered with the Care Quality Commission where this forms part of the child’s assessed need and care plan;
  • Overnight Short Break provided by an Independent Residential Unit registered with the Care Quality Commission where this forms part of the child’s assessed need and care plan.

To be eligible for a Direct Payment to meet the cost of an overnight short break a child/young person must meet the agreed Overnight Short Break Criteria (see Short Breaks Procedure). Please refer to the table Appendix 2: Provision and Costings for Overnight Short Breaks for a detailed breakdown of the costings associated with overnight short breaks.


6. Services that May Not be Purchased Via the Use of Direct Payments

  • Where there are concerns that Direct Payments may pose a risk to the safety or wellbeing of the child or young person;
  • Purchase of any service from the local authority, e.g. Kent County Council’s residential or fostering short break services;
  • Care within a residential school;
  • Purchase of care away from the child’s home, including foster care, in excess of 28 days for any single period or 120 days in any twelve-month period;
  • Purchase of any care that contravenes the law or government regulations;
  • Purchase of services that would usually be the responsibility of another agency, e.g. physiotherapy, speech therapy, home tuition, portage services. It may be possible to reach agreement with the other agencies for them to directly fund such provision;
  • Direct Payments relate to the child’s needs following an assessment and are not used to provide care for a disabled child to enable carers to go to work. However they can be considered in exceptional circumstances. Passing the threshold for exceptional circumstances is judged on the individual case, taking into account the complexity of the child’s needs, the environmental circumstances and the wider support network available. They will only be authorised following approval by an Assistant Director.


7. Determining the Cost of a Direct Payment

The amount of a Direct Payment must be related to the cost of the service that would have otherwise been provided to meet the assessed need, and should not therefore exceed that of a similar service provided by Kent County Council.

The actual costing of a Direct Payment to meet the needs identified in the Care Plan is undertaken by the CFDPS Support Worker, with the family. The Direct Payment must be sufficient for the recipient to fulfil his/her duty as a responsible employer e.g. to cover holiday entitlement; National Insurance; training; contingency for sickness cover, payroll costs, etc. The Direct Payment must also comply with legislation governing a minimum wage. The Support Worker will ensure this does not exceed the cost of the equivalent service provided by the local authority. The social worker will need to advise the support worker what this amount would be. The agreed maximum notional rate for one to one support has been set at £12.80 for social hours and £14.80 for unsociable hours across the County.

When considering the potential training needs of a Personal Assistant employed via a direct payment, a training plan should be drawn up at the beginning of a direct payment and reviewed on an annual basis, so that appropriate costings can be included in the direct payment.

Information on costing a Direct Payment can be obtained from the Direct Payment Support Worker. Once completed, the proposed costing will be sent to the Social Worker who should advise their manager/supervisor of the total cost of the care package to the local authority.

In cases where it is difficult to provide a service through a Direct Payment the social worker should consult further with their supervisor/manager and the Direct Payment Support Worker, who will have to consider whether it is appropriate to continue to offer a Direct Payment or whether the child/family's needs can be met in some other way.


8. Setting up the Direct Payment

The Social Worker will ensure that Kent County Councils Direct Payment Agreement is signed by the parent/carer. This Agreement sets out the terms and conditions of using the Direct Payment, see Appendix 3: Direct Payments Agreement.

If the young person/parent/carer is unable to manage a Direct Payment but wishes to make use of this option, the social worker should explore the use of an Independent Living Trust in consultation with the Direct Payment Support Worker.

When funding has been agreed, the parent/carer will need to set up a separate bank account for the Direct Payment, or alternatively apply for a Kent Card. This is not necessary where the Direct Payment is for a single payment e.g. for a one-off short break or a piece of equipment. The Direct Payment Support Worker will assist the parent/carer in setting up the account or applying for a Kent Card.

The Social Worker should send the DP1 (Finance Form - available from CFDPS) to the Finance Department at least 10 days before the Payment is due to start.


9. Reviewing the Direct Payment

The Direct Payment Support Worker will review how the parent/carer is managing the Direct Payment at regular intervals agreed with the parent/carer.

The Child in Need Plan will be reviewed at six monthly intervals. Authority to continue payments will need to be given by the budget manager. The review should consider any changes in the assessed need, the services that are required to meet the need, and which services will be provided via Direct Payments.

It should be noted that Personal Assistants are the employees of the parent/carer or the young person themselves and should only be present at the review by the specific invitation of the parent/carer or young person.

The Children and Families Direct Payment Support Worker will complete the DP4 Form and send it to the social worker. Upon receipt of the DP4 Form, the social worker will take steps to recover any unspent money, or review payments if required. To recover Payments, the completed and signed last section of the DP4 should be forwarded to KCC Finance. For Kent Card holders there will be different arrangements to recover unspent money.


10. Safe Recruitment Practices

The Protection of Children Act 1999 enables a person considering employing someone to care for their children, or a disabled 16 or 17 year old who is considering employing someone themselves, to ask the Local Authority to carry out a check to determine that the proposed employee is a suitable person to work with children. When a person with parental responsibility, or the young person, requests such a check, the Local Authority has a duty to comply.

The DBS check will be carried out by the CFDPS and paid for by KCC.

Kent Specialist Children’s Services policy is that everyone working with children should have a current DBS check. Parents/carers/young people should be advised that a DBS check should be carried out in respect of the person they plan to recruit to care for the child/young person, as without this the Direct Payment will not be agreed. It is preferable if the employment of a Personal Assistant can wait until DBS clearance is received (providing this is appropriate), as it avoids actions being taken to terminate employment if the DBS check is unsatisfactory.

If a DBS check has been requested but has not been received by the time the Personal Assistant (PA) is required to start work, the parent/carer/young person should be advised that the PA should not be left alone with the child/young person they are providing care for, until DBS clearance is received. Disclosure and Barring Service checks should be updated every 3 years.

If a PA has been DBS checked and cleared to work with one child and then identified to work with a different child the PA will not need to be DBS checked again unless the DBS check is coming up for its 3 year renewal.

If, during their employment, concerns about the employee’s performance or behaviour are raised in relation to the child/ young person’s safety, it is expected that a review meeting will be held with the social worker at the earliest opportunity. All decisions from this meeting should be recorded and shared with interested parties on a need to know basis. It is likely that the parent/carers/young people will need support from the Children and Families Direct Payment Scheme in these circumstances.

Should the concerns raised be of a safeguarding nature, the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Children Procedures should be followed and a referral made to the KCC Central Referral Unit, and also immediately to the Local Authority Designated Officer.

The following document provides more detailed information on employment issues: Guidance on Direct Payments for Community Care, Services for Carers and Children's Services: England 2009.


11. Positive DBS Checks

If the Children and Families Direct Payment Scheme receives information of concern about an individual, either employed already or being considered for employment through a Direct Payment, immediate advice should be sought from the KCC social work Team Leader. Agreement will need to be reached between professionals about what information is shared and with whom. The Local Authority and the Children and Families Direct Payment Scheme are bound by the Disclosure and Barring Service Code of Practice in respect of the use, handling, storage retention and disclosure of DBS checks. Further information on the DBS Code of Practice is accessible on the Disclosure and Barring Service website.

On receiving positive DBS information about an applicant:

  • The information should be passed to the Team Leader/ Social Worker;
  • The Team Leader/Social Worker should undertake a risk assessment with the applicant and a decision should be made within four weeks to decide whether the person can be employed as a Personal Assistant. This decision will need to be ratified by a Senior Manager within Specialist Children’s Services;
  • On completion of the risk assessment should the Local Authority consider the applicant unsuitable because the use of a Direct Payment would place a child/young person at risk, the applicant should be advised by the Team Leader/Social Worker and the decision confirmed in writing. The applicant should also be informed that the family/young person will be advised not to employ them.
  • In consultation with the CFDPS Direct Payment Support Worker, the Local Authority should advise the parent/young person of the Local Authority’s decision not to agree to the direct payment, without giving details of any offences that have come to light. The parent/young person has no right of access to DBS disclosures and it would be an offence for the Local Authority to disclose the information. The Local Authority can however share information with the parent/young person if they have the specific written consent of the prospective applicant, alternatively the applicant him/herself could voluntarily pass the disclosed information onto the parent/young person.

Should the concerns be of a safeguarding nature then the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Children Procedures must be followed and a referral made to the KCC Central referral Unit, and consultation take place immediately with the Local Authority Designated Officer.


12. Contingencies

Where a parent or carer chooses to use Direct Payments the social worker must ensure that they understand their responsibility to take all reasonable steps to arrange and organise the service to meet the assessed needs of their child. This may be achieved through additional support, such as an advocate, or by establishing Independent Living Trust etc. The arrangements must include a robust contingency plan to ensure that the assessed need of the child they care for can still be met in the event of the service they purchase is not available, e.g. the Personal Assistant being ill.


Appendix 1: Direct Payment Process flowchart

Click here to view the Direct Payment Process flowchart.


Appendix 2: Provision and Costings for Overnight Short Breaks

Description of Overnight Short Break Provider Costs
Family Home

In the child's own home by a Personal Assistant.
Both waking and sleeping hours for a 12 hour period.
Costs cover both weekday and weekends and Bank Holidays.
Waking only cover, based on assessed need.

£12.80 per hr (daytime hours)

£69.90 gross

Care provided by an independent registered agency, registered with Care Quality Commission.
Based on 12 hours both waking and sleeping hours.
Covering both weekday and weekends and Bank Holidays.

£12.80 per hr

£143.00

Independent Sector Unit Maximum payment for overnight care provided by an Independent Residential Unit registered with the Care Quality Commission:  
Weekdays £324.00
Weekends £324.00
Bank Holidays £324.00


Appendix 3: Direct Payments Agreement

This is an agreement between you and Kent County Council. If you have any doubts about its contents you should take independent advice before signing it.

1.1 Kent County Council (KCC) have assessed the need of a person for whom you have parental responsibility for support services and are satisfied that you are capable of managing by yourself or with such assistance as may be available to you direct payments from KCC to enable you to secure the provision of support services.
1.2 You will receive £........ per week as your direct payment to enable you to buy........ hours of support per week both of which (that is the amount and the number of hours) will be subject to review.
1.3 KCC and you agree to be bound by and to comply with the terms and conditions set out in Appendix 4: Direct Payments - You and Kent County Council - Rights and Responsibilities.
1.4 You confirm that you have read and understood this Agreement including the attached document.

1.5

In this Agreement:

1.5.1 References to “you”, “your” and “yourself” are references to the person named below as the first signatory of this Agreement and references to “we”, “us” and “our” are references to KCC; and
1.5.2 “Support services” means the social care services specified in The Community Care, Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) (England) Regulations 2003 and as may be specified in any amendment of the regulations by any future legislation.

1.6 All amendments and variations of this Agreement must be in writing, signed and dated by you and us and attached to this Agreement.
 
Your Full Name _______________________________

Signature _______________________________

Date __________


Full Name of KCC _______________________________
authorised signatory

Signature _______________________________

Date __________


Appendix 4: Direct Payments - You and Kent County Council - Rights and Responsibilities

This document sets out the terms and conditions of the agreement between you and Kent County Council.

1.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

1.1 You or the person nominated by you to receive the payment must open a separate bank or building society account for the receipt of payments. The direct payment must be used towards the cost of the support services which we have assessed are needed by a person for whom you have parental responsibility and for no other purpose. You must ask the bank or building society to forward you a monthly statement of the account.
1.2 You must pay into that account every four weeks your own financial contribution (the amount having been agreed with us) towards the cost of those support services.
1.3 The bank or building society account must be used for the receipt and payment of money relating to the cost of those assessed support services and for no other purpose.
1.4 You must inform us of any change in your financial circumstances as soon as possible after the change.
1.5 You must use the payment to secure the provision of the support services which we have assessed are needed by you and for no other purpose.
1.6 You must keep, and if we ask you to do so, let us examine all information and documentation relating to the direct payment and the provision of the support services including all financial records (that is of income received and payments made) and, in particular, the bank or building society statements, receipts for payments for the support services, agency invoices and receipts (if applicable), signed receipts for wages if the support services are provided by your employee and all employment records specified by us (including income tax and national insurance payments to the Inland Revenue).
1.7 You must keep all supporting documents relating to the direct payments and the provision of the support services for at least six complete financial years. 
1.8 You must complete and return a six monthly Financial Record Sheet (a copy of which is attached to this Agreement) and, if we ask you to do so, produce supporting evidence for the information set out in the Financial Record Sheet.
1.9 You must ensure that you have the support services when a person for whom you have parental responsibility needs them and have back up arrangements if things go wrong.
1.10 You must not secure the provision of the support services from certain persons (generally close relations) details of whom will be given to you by us.
1.11 If the person providing the support services is employed by you for that purpose, you must ensure that you comply with the duties and obligations of an employer towards an employee including those relating to income tax, national insurance, employer’s liability insurance, public liability insurance, training and health and safety.
1.12 If you do not employ the person to provide the support services, you must ensure that the person or organisation providing those services has relevant and sufficient insurance cover from the outset and you must check on a regular basis that such cover remains in place and, when necessary, is varied in accordance with changes to the support service provided.
1.13 You will ensure that the person or organisation providing the support services is reputable and can meet the standards of quality expected by us. You will not make any arrangement for a child supported by a direct payment to stay overnight in the home of anyone employed via a direct payment without first seeking approval for such an arrangement from Kent County Council.
1.14 About three months from and including the date of this Agreement there will be an initial review of the management of the direct payments and a review and re-assessment of the support needs of the person for whom you have parental responsibility (including a review of the quality of the support services (s)he is receiving). Any proposed changes to the direct payments and/or the support services will be the subject of discussions between you and us.
1.15 On or about each anniversary of the date of this Agreement or more frequently if there is a change in circumstances, there will be a review of the management of the direct payments and a review and re-assessment of the support needs of the person for whom you have parental responsibility (including a review of the quality of the support services (s)he is receiving). Any proposed changes to the direct payments and/or the support services will be the subject of discussions between you and us.
1.16 Where we are satisfied that the whole or any part of a direct payment has not been used to secure the provision of the support services to which it relates then you must repay the whole or part of the payment if we ask you to do so.
1.17 Where we are satisfied that you have not complied with any term or condition of this Agreement then you must repay the whole or part of the direct payment if we ask you to do so.
1.18 You have the right to bring this Agreement to an end at any time by giving four weeks written notice (or less by agreement) to our officer acting at that time as the Social Worker of the person for whom you have parental responsibility.
1.19 If this Agreement is brought to an end by you or by us, for whatever reason, you will be responsible for settling any outstanding payments due to your provider of support services. Any surplus monies held under this Agreement must be repaid to us in accordance with our instructions.

2.

Our Rights and Responsibilities

2.1 Every four weeks we will pay the agreed sum of money into the bank or building society account which you have opened for the purpose of receiving payments towards the cost of the support services which we have assessed are needed by the person for whom you have parental responsibility.
2.2 We will reimburse you for any interest or charges claimed by your bank or building society as a result of a late payment by us provided that the late payment is not due to circumstances within your control and provided that you supply us, if we ask you to do so, with written evidence from the bank or building society of the amount claimed and the reason why it has been claimed.
2.3 We may alter the amount paid by us to you if your financial circumstances and/or the needs of the person for whom you have parental responsibility for support services change and following discussions between you and us when we will take account of your contractual obligations with others providing those services.
2.4 We may suspend or discontinue making payments to you if we become aware or are notified that the direct payments are not needed for a period exceeding 21 days but before doing so we will discuss the matter with you and take into account any contractual agreements you may have and the continuing needs the person for whom you have parental responsibility may have.
2.5 Where we are satisfied that the whole or any part of a direct payment has not been used to secure the provision of the support services to which it relates then we may require you to repay us the whole or part of the payment.
2.6 Where we are satisfied that you have not complied with any term or condition of this Agreement then we may require you to repay us the whole or part of the direct payment we have made to you.
2.7 We have the right to bring this Agreement to an end immediately if it appears to us that you are no longer capable of managing a direct payment by yourself or with such assistance as may be available to you or you are a person whose ability to arrange your support is restricted by certain mental health or criminal justice legislation (details of which we will give to you).
2.8 Even if you appear to us no longer to be capable of managing a direct payment by yourself we may continue to make such payments if we are reasonably satisfied that your inability will be temporary and another person is prepared to accept and manage such payments on your behalf and the person or organisation with whom the arrangement for the provision of the support services has been made agrees to accept payment for those services from the person acting on your behalf.
2.9 We may bring this Agreement to an end immediately if it appears to us that the welfare of the person in respect of whom the support services are needed will no longer be safeguarded and promoted by securing the provision of them by means of the direct payment.
2.10 We may bring this Agreement to an end immediately if you have not complied with any term or condition of this Agreement.

End