Self-directed support allows you to have more flexibility and choice in arranging the services you need, who provides them and when they are provided. We recognise that you are in the best position to know what kind of support will enable you to live as independently as possible. It’s your care… and your choice.
We have to make sure that we help those people with the greatest need for support. To do this we use the Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) eligibility criteria. We only arrange support for those people with critical or substantial needs.
What is self-directed support?
Self-directed support is about you being in control of the assistance you need to live the life you choose.
Self-directed support is the way that social care in Warwickshire is delivered. It involves identifying and allocating a “personal budget” – an upfront sum of money to meet your social care needs.
If you have been assessed as being eligible for social care support, or have been a customer in our reablement home care service and have been assessed as needing continuing support, you will be offered a personal budget.
Steps to self-directed support
There are seven main steps to help you be in control of your support:
Step 1: Completing a supported assessment questionnaire
The questionnaire called “My Assessment” helps us to find out:
- if you are eligible for social care support
- about your day-to-day life and
- your social care needs.
We will arrange to visit you to help you complete the assessment. If you want, you can involve a family member, carer, friend or someone else who is important in your life to help with this too.
You can tell us about the changes you would like to make, the things you would like to stay the same, and what you would like to achieve.
It may be that you need some support to make decisions about what you would like to achieve. If you are unable to make your own decisions about your needs, we will make sure we meet your best interests.
After we have completed the assessment we will look at what you have told us and work out an estimated amount of money you may need to pay for your support. We call this your estimated personal budget. This will help you as a guide to plan your support.
We also want to support carers. We will assess someone who regularly cares for you, for example, a family member, friend, neighbour etc. provided they are not being paid to care for you.
A carer who provides regular and substantial support to you can be offered a separate carer’s assessment, which looks into their own needs as a carer. They may be able to access services in their own right as a result of this assessment.
Step 2: Developing “My Support Plan”
The information you provide in the “My Assessment” questionnaire is used to calculate your estimated personal budget. How you wish to use this money will be written in a plan called “My Support Plan”. This describes the support you want to meet your social care needs and how you plan to achieve them. This must also keep you safe and well, and be legal. It will include:
- how having support will help you achieve your plans and outcomes
- how having support will help you be as independent as possible
- how having support will help you keep safe, healthy and well
- any help you need to organise your support
- what you will spend the money on, and
- evidence that your plan is within your personal budget.
A social care practitioner will meet with you to help you with your plan. You can also have a friend, family member or a trustee to help you as well. The final amount of money is only confirmed when your support plan is agreed. This is called your “personal budget”.
Step 3: Agreeing “My Support Plan”
Your personal budget must be spent on meeting your eligible social care support needs and the outcomes in your support plan. You can use your personal budget on many different things within the amount of budget available to you, for example:
- employing someone to support you in your day-to-day life (we call this person a personal assistant)
- buying support from a care agency
- meeting other people, perhaps at a local club
- keeping well by having regular exercise, perhaps swimming, or being part of a local walking group
- having help to run your home
- having a break so that your family carer can have some time off or
- learning a new skill or maintaining an existing skill.
Often talking about this with someone else can help you think about the different possibilities.
If we cannot agree over your support plan, or the amount of funding, the plan will need to be reviewed. We will discuss with you ways we can agree your support plan, but if you still disagree with our decision, you will be given details of how you may appeal.
Step 4: How do I use my personal budget?
There are a number of ways you can choose to receive your personal budget:
Direct payments provide greater choice and flexibility in the way you arrange the support you want, and you can include things we (the Council) do not organise and directly pay for.
Choosing direct payments allows you to receive your personal budget as a cash payment, which you can use to buy services that assists you to achieve your agreed outcomes.
You will receive the money every four weeks paid into your designated bank account to pay for your support.
We will explore with you ways to make managing direct payment as easy as possible.
If you have capacity to agree to direct payments but you do not want to manage it alone, you may wish to discuss with us about the different ways you could manage the money and arrange the support. There may be other ways the money could be received for you. For example, as a:
- A Managed Account – we could agree that someone, or an organisation, can receive the money for you and pay the bills on your behalf. You would be accountable for the way the direct payment is managed and for arranging the services.
- A family or member could help you with managing the direct payment .
- Trust – this is usually a small group of people who manage the direct payment on your behalf and can include anyone you agree to, such as members of your family.
- If you support someone who does not have the capacity to agree to direct payments you may be able to act as a Suitable Person. If you are appointed as a Suitable Person, you will be accountable for receiving and managing the direct payment. The law tells us who can be appointed as a Suitable Person and we must follow a process to understand who can act as this person.
If you support someone who does not have the capacity to agree to direct payments you may be able to act as a Suitable Person. If you are appointed as a Suitable Person, you will be accountable for receiving and managing the direct payment. The law tells us who can be appointed as a Suitable Person and we must follow a process to understand who can act as this person.
There are only a few things you cannot use your direct payment for:
- you cannot purchase long-term residential care but you can take short breaks
- you cannot buy a service from us, as the council is not allowed to sell their services in this way
- you cannot use it for health-related services i.e. dental visits
- you cannot use it for your own personal bills i.e. personal clothes, food, household bills, rent, and mortgage
- you cannot use it for gambling, buying alcohol or cigarettes
- the law tells us you cannot pay someone who lives in the same household, unless we agree, and
- you cannot use it for things that don’t support you to achieve your agreed outcomes.
In Warwickshire, we have a Personal Budget Support Service Team . Here you can access Direct Payments support, information and advice.
Should you wish to speak with one of our officers contact details are:
Personal Budget Support Service
Tel: 01926 745120 / 01926 413908 email email@example.com.
The Council also have a contract with a voluntary sector organisation to provide support to people using Direct Payments and who require support to recruit and retain a personal assistant or employment related .The organisation who can support you with this is :
The Rowan Organisation
Eliot Park Innovation Centre
Tel: 02476 322 860
Minicom: 02476 374 439
Fax: 02476 374 948
The Council also have a contract with a voluntary sector organisation to provide support to people using Direct Payments who require support with a direct payment payroll service . The organisation who can provide free payroll advise, information and support in Warwickshire are Compass Disability Service.
Compass Disability Services
Unit 11-12 Belvedere Trading Estate
Tel: 0330 333 0089 / 01823 282823
Fax: 01823 351790
And by clicking here you can find more information and our factsheets on direct payments.
A personal managed budget
You may decide that you prefer not to receive your personal budget as money, and instead you want us (the Council) to make your arrangements for you.
If you choose to do this, we will use the money to pay for your support. Your support will be limited to the organisations that we contract with, and the services we provide.
If we agree with you that residential care is the best way to meet your support needs, this will be arranged as a managed budget for legal reasons.
A combination budget (a mixture of a direct payment and a managed budget)
You may decide that you want a direct payment for some of your support, but you want your social care practitioner to arrange some things for you – we call this a combination budget.
Individual service funds
Once you know what your personal budget amount is you may decide that you want to use an “individual service fund” instead of managing the money and organising services yourself. An individual service fund is where you choose a provider who will receive the money on your behalf and provide you with a service(s).
We will work with you to choose a provider that will help you meet the needs and outcomes agreed in your support plan.
If you agree, we will give your personal budget (some, or all of it, depending on what has been agreed) to the provider on your behalf. The provider can only use your budget for your support and must account to you. This gives you some flexibility and control as you agree with the provider the exact detail of your support.
Step 5: How much will it cost me?
We will carry out a financial assessment with you to see how much money you can afford to pay towards your support. Depending on the outcome of the financial assessment, you may be asked to pay towards your personal budget to buy the support you need.
You will be told how much you need to pay before being given your personal budget.
Step 6: Keeping records and spending the personal budget (if received as a direct payment)
If you are going to receive direct payments, we advise you to open a separate bank account in your name, or the name of the person you have agreed will help you with managing the money.
We will advise you how to keep simple records and how to get the types of help and support to make things easier for you.
At first, we will need to look at your bank statements for the separate account for direct payments every three months, to help you manage and keep on top of things, and we will write and request these from you.
If you find that you are spending more money each month than you have coming in, you must tell us. We can help you to find out why. You may need to spend your money in a different way to meet your agreed outcomes. However, we cannot give you more money if you run out.
We will look at how much you have in your personal budget. If you do not spend the entire personal budget, we will ask you to pay back anything above the agreed reserve amount.
We support the flexibility of personal budgets and we will allow you to build up an amount of money to help you to plan for such things as your employer responsibilities and achieving your agreed outcomes. Usually around eight weeks of funding would be acceptable. Anything saved above this must be agreed during your support plan or review.
Step 7: Reviewing
We arrange review meetings with you, the purpose of these review meetings is to look at your support plan and see if your support is still helping you to achieve your outcomes. We will look at what you want to change, or keep the same, and check that the allocated funding is meeting your needs. A large underspend may trigger a review to ensure the resource relates to your support need.
However, you can tell us at any time if you feel your needs have changed.
Your personal budget could be at risk if you break the rules and spend the money on something illegal e.g. gambling, or something outside of the agreed outcomes. We will work with you to stay within the rules and discuss alternative arrangements to maximise the choice available to you.
You will only continue to receive a personal budget if you are eligible for social care support. If your circumstances change and you are no longer eligible you will be supported to close down your personal budget responsibilities.