Direct Payments Consultation

Direct Payments

Introduction

North East Lincolnshire Council, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Navigo and focus independent adult social work (‘we’) have been thinking about making some changes to the way we make direct payments, and the way we help people who get direct payments. 

Between 1st October 2020 and 31st December 2020 we asked people to tell us what they thought of our ideas for change. Our ideas are only about adults who get a direct payment from social care, mental health or continuing healthcare. This includes people with care needs and carers with support needs.

What did we ask?

About 360 people in North East Lincolnshire get direct payments, as a regular or one off payment.  We asked them to tell us what is good about getting a direct payment, and what could be better.  Where someone gets help to manage their direct payment from an organisation, we asked what is important about that help.  We are thinking about how to make the best use of resources (money and time), both for us and for people who use direct payments.    

These are the ideas that we asked people about:

What did people say?

We sent questionnaires in the post to people we think might be directly affected by our ideas for change.  We also offered an online link for people who care for someone who has a direct payment, work with people who have direct payments, or just had thoughts to share, to give their views.  The consultation closed on 31st December 2020. 

In summary, people who use direct payments told us that:

We have written a report about what people told us.  You can read the report here on the following link  Changing our approach to direct payments for adults (the document will download).

What did we decide?

We have given a lot of thought to what people told us.  We have changed our idea on direct payment card accounts to take people’s views into account.  Our original idea was that both existing and new direct payments would be made using a card account from April 2021.  Instead, we will take longer to make the change.  Taking longer will mean we can take extra time to help people feel more comfortable with the move to direct payment card accounts.  So we have decided that:

  1. From 1st April 2021 all new direct payments will be made via a direct payment card account
  2. Instead of moving all existing direct payments to card accounts at the same time, we will work with existing direct payment users to plan which direct payments we will move first, starting in April 2021.  We aim to have all existing direct payments moved to card accounts by April 2022
  3. We aim to have a new relationship with organisations that help people manage their direct payments, from April 2022.  We know that we want a clear agreement with organisations, but we don’t know for sure yet which organisations might want to work with us in a new way.  We will share more information about that later in 2021, or early in 2022.

We are working towards making direct payment card accounts available as close to 1st April 2021 as possible.  There are some technical set up changes to our system that we are making in the background, but we are trying to have everything ready for as soon as possible after April 2021. 

We have written to people who have a direct payment to tell them about our decisions.   

What happens next?

All new direct payments will be made via a direct payment card account from April 2021.  We will move existing direct payments to card accounts between April 2021 and April 2022.  Direct payment users who have help from a support organisation or a way to get online, are more likely to move to a card account later in 2021.  Whenever it is each direct payment user’s turn to move to a card account, we contact them and help them with the move.

We have created a new page about direct payments to keep people up to date with the changes.  You can find that page here: https://livewell.nelincs.gov.uk/direct-payments

I am a direct payment user.  Can I get any help with these changes?

Healthwatch is the independent champion for people who use health and care services.  Healthwatch listens to what people like about services and what they feel could be better.  Healthwatch has the power to make sure those running services hear people’s voices. 

If you want to share your worries with an organisation that is independent from us, you can phone Healthwatch on 01472 361459.  Healthwatch will not be able to answer technical questions about direct payment card accounts, but they can listen to your general concerns about the changes.

If you want to talk through what a direct payment card account might mean for you, please phone the community care finance team on 0300 330 2910.

Is there a local policy on direct payments?

You can read a draft of the direct payment policy by clicking the following link: Draft Direct Payment Policy.  We are in the process of updating the draft policy to reflect the decisions we have made.      

What is the link between changes to direct payments and the talks on the adult social care charging policy last year?

Changes to direct payments are separate from any possible changes to how much adults pay towards the costs of their adult social care.