Direct payments are paid to individuals so they can arrange and pay for their own care. This gives people flexibility and freedom to choose the care they buy. Calderdale Council supports people to make sure care is good quality and they are confident managing those providing the services.
Why we needed a change
- People who receive direct payments had to complete an audit of their direct payment bank account every 12 weeks to evidence how the money had been spent to meet their care.
- More and more people were receiving direct payments and to audit everyone’s bank account every 12 weeks was becoming inefficient.
- Audit officers would regularly make home visits to help recipients with their audit because of the complexity of completing it.
- When submitted, audits were checked by audit officers who would contact the recipient with any queries or concerns. This was time consuming and difficult for both sides.
- Because there was no assessment of risk, some had audits too often and some not enough.
- Many recipients are already managing difficult life circumstances that an audit was adding to.
- Audit every 12 months unless someone needs extra support.
- Recipients no longer complete an audit themselves – they send evidence to the audit officers relating to how the direct payment has been spent.
- Audit officers use the previously agreed Support Plan to check that what has been purchased meets the outcomes identified.
- Independent payroll providers offer a “managed account” whereby they open the direct payment bank account for the person, pay all the invoices and provide audit information to the Council when required.
- Audit information is scanned and all original documents returned.
- Direct payment recipients are invited to join our direct payment reference group to give us feedback on how we can improve our service to them such as how to keep them informed.
Difference it made to the Council:
- Easier for the direct payment recipient so happier customers
- Cost of the “managed account” is offset by the reduction in mileage for audit officers and the extra work involved in chasing up missing invoices, bank statements etc.
- Better control of information through scanning
- Audit officers spend more time directly supporting people most in need
- Risks are better managed
Difference it made to local people:
"I am mum to a 12 year old child with Autism and receive direct payments for respite care. I just wanted to congratulate you on changing the audit process and making it much easier. I have thought the process was lengthy for some time, particularly for parents with disabled children who already have enough to think about!"