More residents opting for direct payments to tailor care

Residents in South Gloucestershire are increasingly taking advantage of being able to choose individually tailored, social care services under the “direct payments” initiative.

Direct payments are designed to give people who have been assessed as requiring social care, and their carers, complete control over how services are provided.

Rather than the council deciding what care and support services it believes residents need, they can make their own decisions about how their care is provided, which ensures it is tailored to their personal needs.

Feedback from residents taking up the direct payments option has been very positive.

From a young woman with learning difficulties: “I feel in control. I can decide what I want to do and when I want to do it. I can decide on the times I have support, either earlier or later I have flexibility with my hours. I have better quality of life and it has made me feel more settled.”

From a woman with physical impairments: “It’s the best thing that you can do to take control over your life and services that you may need. You don’t have someone telling you what to do and when to do it.”

From a mental health service user: “The isolation and loneliness that I experienced before isn’t there anymore. If I need to, I can call my PA and she will either talk on the phone or come and visit me.”

The number of people in the district choosing to receive direct payments has increased significantly, from 185 in 2006/07 to 550 in 2009/10, a trebling and the highest increase in the South West.

Councillor Matthew Riddle, executive member for community care and housing, said: “We know that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not the future so I’m delighted that the direct payments option is really capturing the imagination of our customers.”

“I have met many direct payment recipients, both young and old, and I have heard from them the positive impact this has had on their quality of life.”

“Instead of the council paying for the services it thinks people need, the direct payments initiative very much puts residents in control and means that they can pay for services that are specifically tailored to meet their own personal needs.”

“We are determined to roll this approach out as much as possible and ensure that all of our service users know of and can take advantage of the freedom, flexibility and independence a direct payment can offer.”

“Direct payments very much herald the end of the ‘one size fits all’ approach to social care.”

As more and more people choose to receive direct payments, some providers will have to look at how they attract them to use the payments on their particular services.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council


One comment

  • Steve Mills

    It’s encouraging to see more and more people taking up Direct Payments in South Gloucestershire. At DoCare we provide home support services (i.e. domiciliary care) to older people across South Gloucestershire and have been adapting and tailoring our approach to Direct Payments to make the process as easy as possible. The result has been fantastic with a doubling of this type of work in the last year.

    Our experience has shown that clients who use Direct Payments feel more in control and prefer to deal with their affairs in a more direct manner. There is still a lot of confusion and uncertainty amongst our clients about how it all works but this will change over time as Council Staff and our own people at DoCare continue to help with the education process.