Direct payments: Answering frequently asked questions

Question 05. How do we know direct payments actually work?

There is much evidence from service users of the incredible difference direct payments have made to their lives and lifestyles.

Additionally, there is testimony from staff within local authorities who have seen the impact of working in an environment that offers choice and the opportunity for service users to have more control over their own lives.

Original examples of creativity and innovation in the application of direct payments appear every day - the possibilities are endless. The following are just a few of the success stories:

Three people who were living close to each other in a shared almshouse were each awarded direct payments for a number of hours. The hours allocated were not by themselves enough to make recruiting individual personal assistants (PAs) a very viable prospect, but by combining them, three people were able to create a joint package that was sufficiently attractive to recruit one PA to work with all three people. All three had separate work contracts with the PA so there were three employers, but through negotiation with each other, they were able to make the process work for about two years, before they each moved on to employing their own PAs. Their close physical proximity in the home was clearly helpful in enabling the PA to make maximum use of the time available and for the disabled people to plan their activities.

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Direct Payments Support Service

Direct payments have supported individuals who have been able to employ support workers who speak the same language as they do. They have had greater flexibility on the hour they choose to be supported - more choice of activities and overall consistency.

Southwark Choice Support

Direct payments allowed a disabled gentleman to employ a friend, to be able to go fishing on holiday, visit his children's school, have a life.

Isle of Wight DIAL

One woman who had multiple sclerosis - worked full-time and needed assistance with household chores so could conserve energy for work and maintain income and independence.

Gateshead LA

A disabled adult who does voluntary work for a national charity uses her direct payments to employ a PA to accompany her on visits to the HQ in London when she needs to work there.

Milton Keynes LA

Direct payments were given to a single parent of a two-year-old. The mother has a particular condition requiring periods of rest and six-weekly hospital visits. Her DP has enabled her to pay for a live-in nanny.

Isle of Wight LA

Direct payment has been used to purchase a trip on a sailing ship manned by disabled people. Package offered full-care support during a two-week trip.

Buckinghamshire People's Voices

Service user with specific cultural dietary needs was able to employ someone to prepare a meal once a day.

Brighton Direct Payment Advice Service

An older person employs a personal assistant to work with the physical tasks required and another support worker to assist with payroll support work. As the disabled person also experiences a visual impairment, a third support worker assists with reading information and figures from the payroll service. Together they provide a useful interconnecting network of support to enable the disabled person to continue their work as an artist and creative poetry composer.

Example supplied by NCIL