Talking About Adult Social Care - Direct Payments
17/03/2016 11:08:00......Posted by Yvette Hopley
I attended an information event for people who use Croydon Adult Social Services and their carers at Fairfield Halls. As one of the facilitators my task was to ascertain what people thought of the direct payment scheme.
Service users who were already on the scheme spoke quite positively even though some had experienced difficulties such as overpayments. They liked the fact that “they could choose who and when you could have people in your home which also cuts down on the amount of people in your home. It gives you dignity”. They talked of specialist payroll services and insurance companies that were there to support you along with the council.
In terms of disadvantages and comments from those who hadn't taken up the scheme:
There was a fear of change and concern that the system appeared over complex. To have to take responsibility for interviews, opening new bank accounts, pensions, tax, insurance, quarterly returns, inevitable book keeping and process was daunting along with the assumed liability of that employment and what would happen if you were taken to tribunal over an employment issue.
In relation to the new service users’ card there were questions over small cash payment and how to procure services from small businesses or individuals using the card.
There was also concern over the lack of support from the council, in particular social workers who don’t call back or were unable to support questions over transition to direct payments.
Issues were raised over the cost of purchasing services without the council’s bulk purchasing power which was thought to be cheaper.
In conclusion members had a perception that this was going to be complex and found the idea quite daunting. They were worried that they may not get the support they required and were fearful of changing to a system that they were not going to be able to cope with without full support.
Much work is going to have to be undertaken by the council if they want to increase the number of people using direct payments and to solve the underlying fear of the system.