Direct Payments & Personal Budgets Bring Greater Personal Flexibility and Choice

Direct Payments help Elderly with Home Instead Cleveland
Direct Payments help Elderly with Home Instead Cleveland

Few people realise that when assessed as being eligible for Social Services funded care, they can still choose which care company provides that care. You don’t have to simply choose from the Local Authority contracted block providers.

In some instances, this may mean paying a little extra to ensure a high quality service but this is often a small price to pay for ensuring continuity of carers and choosing the precise time and length of your visit that is suitable for you. In many instances, you or your loved ones might agree that this is essential criteria, especially if unreliability, or different visitors and inconsistent visits cause confusion and frustration.

Direct Payments from social services are payments made to you or the person you're looking after so that you can buy care services relevant to you, when you want them and for as long as you want them.

The aim of Direct Payments is to give you more flexibility in how your services are provided. By giving you the money instead of social care services, you have far greater choice and control over your life and are suitably positioned and able to make your own decisions about how exactly your care support is delivered.

How to get direct payments

The decision to award direct payments takes place after an assessment by social services. This could be:

• A community care assessment for the person you're looking after,

• Based upon your own carer's assessment

If the outcome of the assessment is that services will be provided, you, or the person you're looking after have a right to ask for direct payments instead of having the service arranged by social services using their block booked contractors. 

If you're already getting support from social services, you can ask to get direct payments instead.


Mary has a community care assessment. It results in a care plan that indicates that she needs the help of a care worker for eight hours a week. Her local authority could either arrange to send its own choice of care worker or give Mary direct payments so that she can employ a worker of her own choice. 

Choosing direct payments

In most cases, social services must offer you or the person you're looking after direct payments as an option.

If someone isn't able to manage their own direct payments, it is possible for another person to manage the direct payments on their behalf.

The choice of direct payments is entirely voluntary. Neither you nor the person you're looking after can be forced to have direct payments. If you decide to have direct payments, you can change your mind about this at any time. If you no longer want direct payments, contact your local social services office and ask them to arrange services instead.

It's possible to try direct payments for a trial period by asking social services for a direct payment for some of your support while you continue to get your other support directly from social services.

The link below provides more detailed information about Direct Payments and Personal Budgets you’re your Local Authority :

Home Instead Senior Care provides top quality home care for the elderly in the Cleveland area. Our service is tailored to the needs of individual clients and ranges from companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping to convalescence care, personal care, medication reminders, shopping and errands. These services are totally flexible to meet client needs and is available from as little as 1 hour to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Please call us on 01642 309650 if you are interested in discussing care for you or your relatives.

A group of Home Instead CAREGivers talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home