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council pushing agency or direct payments - Carers UK Forum

council pushing agency or direct payments

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
my mom is 97 and lives in birmingham.
the council careworkers from the local district are fair to excellent , and they are reliable.
for several years there has been relentless pressure from the council to take direct payments or accept agency careworkers. we have some experience of the latter - nowhere near as good and very unreliable - often just didnt turn up. they dont give email addresses and have revenue sharing 'phone contacts.
direct payments mean we would take on full responsiblity for everything and substantial extra work.
my brother is the daily carer and i deal with major issues.
we are both pensioners, i am in my 70's.
he gets worn down by the daily slog and my mental health is suffering due to being in permanent conflict mode due to the ongoing struggle with the council.
we suspect many carers have just rolled over and given in to the councils pressure, many carers are elderly, unwell and/or just not up to arguing their case.
all this due to government cuts.
Hi Dave and welcome.
I should give the cuk helpline a ring or drop them an e-mail as they will be able to give you specific advice on this.
Hi there Dave...just wanted to welcome you to the forum too.

Bell x
Mum used to have council care workers, very poorly motivated and things "disappeared" especially little things like cutlery. When her care was transferred to an agency, we were both very concerned, but there was actually a great improvement. Many of the girls came from Eastern Europe, highly motivated, many were well qualified but they worked as carers until their English had improved sufficiently to practice their professions in the UK. English was always mum's favourite subject at school. The girls loved caring for her, because if they said anything which was grammatically incorrect, she would correct them very gently. Whilst strictly speaking this shouldn't have happened, it worked very well for all concerned, mum liked to feel she could do something in return for the care which they gave her. More recently there have been problems with the agency when they introduced some unpopular new rules. Whether public or private care is provided, it all depends on the people running the service, and the staff they select. The agency is arranged by the local authority, and they pay the bills etc. Even with direct payments, I understand the LA can appoint a "payroll agency" to deal with that side of things, it might be worth seeing if that service is available in your area. Hope that helps.
Local authorities are tasked with offering Personal Budgets, Direct Payments, not imposing them and clients, or their appointees/representatives where applicable, have a right to refuse them.

DPs are usually paid at a lower hourly rate based on assessed hours than the hourly rate charged by agencies and/or the cost of managing and providing sevices in-house giving LAs a financial incentive to convert clients using directly-commissioned services to DPs, especially at a time of spending cuts, but this is does not provide grounds for pressurising clients and their carers to accept DPs.

DPs do work well for some people but are not suitable for everyone. The primary advantage of Personal Budgets is that they offer greater flexibility than directly-commissioned services and can be used to meet assessed needs in a more individual way, for example they can be used to engage in hobbies and interests rather than attending a day centre or for employing a PA rather than using in-house LA care workers or an agency.

The disadvantages include the fact that the management role is passed onto the personal in receipt of the DPs or the carer if a carer is managing the DPs on his/her behalf, for example, finding and dealing with care agencies; recruiting and managing PAs if this the way in which the client chooses to use the DPs; maintaining financial records and making returns to the LA, etc., this can be particularly problematic for carers who already have a very heavy caring role and are not in a position to take on additonal work and responsibilities.

I would also advise you to contact the CUK helpline who are more able to advise you than we are, especially on how best to ensure that you do not have to repeatedly argue your case. And welcome and good luck.
Thanks for the clear explanation Parsifal. I've been sent the literature on DP but haven't got around to reading it yet. From my phone conversation with Dad's care manager I suspected my workload would increase if we went down this route (probably a reason why I still haven't looked at the materials she sent!). I'm not sure I can manage more than I'm doing. While this might provide more autonomy, it seems to come with additional workload.
My son's ILF money is managed by Penderels Trust. A care agency is responsible for providing care at set times (although I am allowed to vary these if he wants to come home for a family party, for example). By employing an agency, if someone goes sick, they have to find someone else to provide cover. The care agency send the time sheets to Penderels. ILF money is paid direct to Penderels, and they pay the care agency. It was set up like this a while ago when I was about to have major surgery. Their fee is very, very modest, I don't know how they can do it so cheaply! I've just looked at Penderels website, and it has a lot of information on Direct Payments etc. should anyone wish to look. Hope that helps.
Hello and welcome from me Image
We used to use Penderels Trust. In fact, hubby was the instigator of them working with Flintshire County Council, when we lived there, cos they'd never heard of Penderels.
to update my post of 10oct12 --

from 10dec12 moms care will be provided by an agency - birminham council have finished.
the councils management of the whole matter has been incredibly incompetent.

a short history of our experience may be of interest.

in august we were told there would be "changes" and then given a "script" for a meeting.
the script said we would have to use a council agency or go direct payments.
i complained to the chief executive that we should have had a proper explanation signed by a director.
we never actually got that - it seems as if no-one would put their name to it.

the information we were directed to said if we went direct payment we would have to employ a personal assistant -
P/A - or we could continue to have council management .

at the meeting with homecare and social services we were told if we stayed with the council their "broker" would select an agency -- we had no say in the matter.
alternatively if we took direct payment - it transpired - with some probing - that we could use an agency - of our choice - ie not a P/A as we had been told up till then - so we would not be an employer - and it is the agencies job to handle sickness cover etc.
after the meeting, after contacting several agencies , i challenged the councils use of a broker - succesfully.

the outcome is care will be managed and funded by the council - as now - by an agency - not P/A - of our choice.

it seems the council were less than honest and open on our options - and there was substantial bullying.
i have to say that the P/A route seems insane to me - why would anyone take on the encumbrance and expense is beyond me.
if the p/a goes sick they still must be paid and a replacement found and paid also.
the use of an organisation such as penderels would seem only to assist with direct payment admin.

i will post again in a month or so when the changeover has bedded in - we are told we can change the agency if we are not satisfied.