Implementation and Management of Direct Payment Schemes

summary:

This PSI research paper presents the findings of a new project to investigate progress on the implementation of the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act throughout the UK.

The first part of the report contains findings from a national survey which was designed to collect baseline information on where local authorities are up to with implementation of the Act and to identify their priorities for detailed information and guidance. In all, 185 of the 189 UK local authorities have participated in the survey, making it the most reliable, comprehensive and up-to-date source of information on the development of direct payments schemes throughout the UK. Information is provided on the eligibility criteria adopted by different LAs; intentions and time scales for implementation of the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act regional variations in implementation of the Act; consultation undertaken with user organisations; and both quantitative and qualitative information on authorities' main practical concerns about implementation and management of direct payments.

The second part of the report details the findings from consultation with seven local case study authorities which have adopted contrasting approaches to the development and management of direct payments. Specific issues covered in the report include: assessment methods and criteria; financial arrangements; accountability and audit; monitoring and review; advocacy; contracting arrangements; provision of support and advice for users; ensuring equity between payment schemes and direct service provision; and direct payments and charging.

This report is aimed at social services managers, care managers and voluntary sector organisations involved in the management of direct payments and provides invaluable information on how this important and innovative piece of legislation is being developed in practice.