What your budget can be used for
- What can your budget be used for?
- Direct payments for equipment and minor adaptations
- Mixed package of care using an agency and employing your own personal assistants
- Employing your own Personal Assistant (PA)
- Paying your Personal Assistant
- Providing a work place pension
- Insurance and redundancy
- PA training
- Buying services from an agency
- Care Quality Commission (CQC)
- Accessing and finding day opportunities
Direct payments can be spent on care support that has been identified and agreed within your support plan. You can make arrangements to employ someone directly or go to a care agency of your choice. You can have a mix of direct payments and services arranged by the council.
When using a direct payment it is your responsibility to make all appropriate arrangements to meet your identified care support needs. You will be given a copy of your individual support plan for reference and information.
You can use your direct payment to pay for:
- Support which will achieve eligible outcomes on the support plan
- Employing a personal assistant or using a provider for support with activities of daily living
- Costs associated with employing a personal assistant
- Using day opportunities where it meets an eligible need
- Respite care
- Equipment which substantially increases independence and reduces support needs
You cannot use your Direct Payment to pay for:
- Anything which does not achieve outcomes agreed in your support plan
- Anything which is an ordinary living cost, such as ordinary bills, furniture, white goods and food shopping
- Anything illegal, alcohol or gambling
- Permanent residential care
- Health related services and equipment
With direct payments you can have a mixed package of care using an agency and employing your own Personal Assistants (PA), or you could use an agency to cover when your employee is on holiday or sickness absence.
If the agency chosen charges a higher rate than the standard direct payments rate, then you should pay the difference from your own personal monies.
Finding the right Personal Assistant is important and it can be difficult to know where to begin to find that person. If you wish to employ your own PA, and do not already have somebody in mind, you will need to recruit someone to be employed directly by you.
Becoming an employer can be very daunting, but the council’s Direct Payments Support Team can help you with advice and support on:
- Advertising for staff
- Interviewing for staff
- Job descriptions and contracts of employment
- Training available for staff
- Disclosure and Barring checks
- Payroll services
Please see the list of template documents below, that can help support you in recruiting a PA:
- Sample job description and person specification (Word, 18KB)
- Sample interview checklist and sample interview questions (Word, 20KB)
- Sample letter telling someone they haven't got an interview (Word, 18KB)
- Sample letter offering the job (Word, 19KB)
- Sample contract of employment (Word, 22KB)
- Sample risk assessment (Word, 20KB)
- Sample application form (Word, 19KB)
- Sample letter inviting people for an interview (Word, 18KB)
- Sample letter asking for a reference (Word, 18KB)
- Sample letter turning down an applicant (Word, 18KB)
- Sample safety in the home checklist (Word, 19KB)
- Sample disciplinary form (Word, 22KB)
The Skills for Care toolkit below provides step by step support:
Haringey Council recommends that a DBS check (formally known as CRB) is carried out on any person you wish to employ. The Direct Payment Support Team can provide you with more information and support.
Remember you should not pay your PA cash, you should pay your PA by cheque, by bank transfer or if you use a pre-paid card, you can make payments over the internet, or by phone.
Your payroll company will also advise you of any payments you need to make to HMRC to cover tax and national insurance. You must keep payroll informed of any changes in your PA's working times, sickness, holiday, or if you go into hospital.
In April 2016 the Government introduced the national living wage. This means that anyone employed by you who is 25 years of age or over must be paid at least the national living wage.
For more information on national minimum wage and national living wage rates, see the national minimum wage rates on GOV.UK (external link).
In 2008 the government introduced the Pensions Act. From 2012 all employers need to enrol all their employees into a workplace pension. This is called automatic enrolment.
You will need to speak to your payroll company and ask if they have an auto enrolment pension scheme you can use, and ask what level of support they can offer you.
The Government has set up a pension scheme called National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) to accept all employers wishing to use the scheme for automatic enrolment. This is one option and there are other providers available.
See The Pensions Regulator website (external link) for information on what other schemes are available.
It is a legal requirement to have employer’s liability/public liability insurance if you employ a personal assistant. Failure to have this will mean the employer will be personally liable should things go wrong. Liabilities may include redundancy costs, or employment tribunal costs. Haringey Council will cover the cost of insurance cover through your direct payment.
The insurance is paid from your direct payments account and you must provide the Direct Payments Support Team with a copy of the insurance certificate. It is your responsibility to renew the insurance policy every year.
We recommend that you take the full insurance policy that includes employment law specialist support. They will provide you with a 24 hour employment law and Health and Safety advice line, should you require any support in relation to your PA.
Some of the advice they could provide you with in relation to your employer responsibilities includes:
- Redundancy payments
- Disciplinary procedures and dismissal of staff
- Statement of employment and job descriptions
- Notice periods
You should ensure that your PA has the appropriate training before using specialist equipment - refer to your insurance policy for further information. You can access training for your Personal Assistants through the Direct Payments Support Team.
The Direct Payments Support Team can use Haringey’s Council’s e-learning training modules for PAs free of charge. Courses available include:
- Introduction to Health and Safety Training
- Responsibilities and legal requirements
- Hazards, risks, safety signs and personal protective equipment
- Workplace emergency procedures and calling emergency service
To request access to the council’s e-learning modules for direct payments PAs, please email the request to the Direct Payments Support Team:
For additional information, please see Employing personal assistants (PDF, 128KB).
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Direct payments can be spent on care support that has been identified and agreed within your support plan. You can make arrangements to employ someone directly or go to an agency of your choice.
You may want to use an agency - sometimes known as a domiciliary care agency - to provide your care. If you choose to use an agency, the staff who will work with you will usually be employed by the agency. In this case you will not be the employer and the agency will be responsible for managing the staff and paying their wages.
You will still maintain your choice and control as you will make arrangements directly with the agency and will be able to say how, when and where your support will be provided.
When using a direct payment, it is your responsibility to make all appropriate arrangements to meet your identified care support needs.
Purchasing services directly from an agency means that you do not directly employ the people who provide your care and you do not have responsibilities as an employer. Instead you have a contract with the agency.
Ensure that the agency has given you a breakdown of all their charges in writing. You do not want any unexpected costs, such as additional charges for mileage, bank holidays etc. that you have not previously agreed to pay. Sometimes an agency may charge an hourly rate which is more than the direct payment hourly rate paid to you - it is likely you will have to pay the difference from your own personal funds. The direct payment can only pay for care hours. The council advises you to discuss any additional costs with your social worker when your direct payments are arranged.
There are many agencies that provide specialist care within the Haringey area - your Direct Payments Support Team will provide you with a current list. We advise you to contact more than one agency before you make a decision.
In England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the Health and Social Care regulator and has an online directory of registered independent care services. The agency that you choose to contract your direct payment care support with must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
When you make contact with agencies we advise you to ask the following questions:
- What services they provide ie personal care, shopping etc.
- What is the rate that will be charged for assessed hours
- Is the rate inclusive of VAT, travelling expenses and any other additional costs
- Do they charge a higher rate for weekends, evenings or bank holidays
- Can I expect to see the same person on a regular basis
- Do they have availability for the calls you need
- Do they have employer's liability insurance
For additional information, please see the Using an agency (PDF, 87KB) guidance.
Find a full list of Care Agencies on Haricare.
There are a variety of council, voluntary and private day opportunities across Haringey, offering people the opportunity to:
- Meet with others
- Participate in a range of social and leisure activities
- Receive personal care
- Give carers a break from caring responsibilities
Day opportunities offer training or work projects for people with disabilities. Some help people with learning disabilities, autism or dementia.
If you have been assessed as needing day opportunity services then you can elect to have the money paid as a direct payment.
The council will be able to provide you with a list of specialist day opportunities which you can contact and arrange to visit. It will be your responsibility to book your preferred days and pay the day opportunities centre directly.