Want to find out how to get your Direct Payment rate put up every year?

or get your customers’ direct payments put up, so that you can implement a fee increase?

We’re launching a public information drive to improve the value of Direct Payments for adults’ social services (care and support) clients, by teaching people how to get the council to put the rate up.

Direct Payments have spiked in poplularity, and dropped off now, partly because the pandemic has changed the labour market, beyond all recognition. Many people have found they can’t attract a PA for the rate they’ve accepted from the council. And small businesses, providing care and support, having been excluded from the council’s radically cut-back numbers of commissioned providers, have embraced direct payments, too, but then found that nobody puts the rate up for the clients they’re supporting. It’s common to find that Direct Payment rates haven’t gone up for 5 years, and that people are going without care, skimping to stretch an obviously insufficient rate, over fewer hours per week, in order to keep great staff, or a great provider – but without knowing what to DO about it.

Councils don’t have to ration care if they can only get the clients to do it for themselves! Something to think about, eh?

That needs to change. CASCAIDr is determined to make the law MEAN something to people who have become their own commissioners, so that the vision of personalised and person-centred plans for meeting peoples’ needs can still be achieved.

Direct Payments are derived from Personal Budgets. Under the Care Act, Personal Budgets must be sufficient, transparent and timely, in order to be lawful. Who sets the rate? The MARKET sets the rate…. the labour market, that is, in people willing to work as PAs for a given salary, without an agency as an employer.

Sorting out one’s increase OUGHT to be a matter of a council officer just pressing the ‘Computer says Yes’ button, when the council is persuaded to address the evidence that the rate provided is no longer even defensibly ‘sufficient’. The law says that they can’t just reject the request with any of the following one-liners:

a) Clients can always top up the rate, in order to stay with their preferred provider/employee

b) WE set the salary rate for PAs for all our direct payment clients – it’s Take it or Leave it, I’m afraid.

c) Maybe you should cut down the hours a bit to make the budget work – if you ask for a review, there’ll be a cut!

c) You simply can’t HAVE a direct payment if you think you need more than it would cost US to meet your needs….

We’re inviting people to get some training on care law and direct payments and how to challenge councils’ decisions about the sufficiency of direct payment rates – from CASCAIDr’s Belinda Schwehr.

The course consists of 4 sessions, online, 2 hours each, making 8 in all – on 14/21 June and 5/19 July 2022– with examples and template letters included. That’s 4 Tuesday evenings, 7-9pm, avoiding Easter and Bank Holiday weeks and the start of the summer holidays. Certificates for those who pass an online multi-choice follow-up exercise.

The cost is £50 per person and £200 if you are a provider organisation, for one member of staff. You can pay via card or Paypal – and an organisation or a peer support group can pay for you.

Here’s some feedback about this offer, from a student currently attending CASCAIDr’s Legal Framework course, (nb running again in September 2022):

…this is incredibly good value. We’ve seen the depth you go into for what I thought would be a ‘light touch’ overview course, so I’d expect this new project would be the campaign equivalent of a scud missile….

In these days of ‘free’ briefings that often turn out to be just more marketing, here’s the incentive to pay for this in-depth sort of education and supervised broadening of knowledge and skills.

CASCAIDr will offer a contract for services to anyone who graduates from this course who would like to try an advice role for the organisation, under supervision, to do real cases for proper money,

This means that you have an incentive to study hard; you get to practise the skills you’ve learned, and you can apply the knowledge acquired, ultimately, for a very small fee indeed.

If you find you like helping people in this way, you can continue formally, afterwards, and earn money from us, on a part-time contractor basis, to suit your own availability, or just use the skill and knowledge, to further your own career.

AND whether or not you take up that opportunity for the future, you keep the knowledge and the materials, in order to spread the word around your own community.

Applying for the course:

We want to ensure the places are put to best use, and we can’t afford to make this course merely a matter of paying, and then just hoping that the session recordings make sense to you, and spreading the materials around the country.

The course is bound to be popular and there are limited spaces available, so that we can be sure to have time for people’s questions in the sessions.

We’re interested in your experience of studying serious stuff, and whether your current commitments (personal or professional), make your full and active participation on this course a realistic prospect (even if say, one of the Tuesday evening dates doesn’t suit your calendar).

So, in order to apply for this course, please just email us on pamelahoyer@cascaidr.org.uk explaining how you think that you will be able to use the skills you learn from the course and how you will demonstrate the attention to detail and the judgement required, to make this campaign work. Mark your application email Direct Payment Course Application, please.

Please try to tell us about all of that information we’ve mentioned above, and 

  • the highest level at which you’ve previously studied e.g. school (GCSEs/A levels), Further Education or Higher Education (a degree). 
  • what you think of your own comprehension of written material, your self-directed study skills, your writing skills and your judgement.
  • whether you have a disability or a condition that would require reasonable adjustments in the delivery of the course, as we want to include as many people with lived experience of paying for their care services, as possible.

Lastly, if you can’t afford the course, upfront, then do email us to ask for a CASCAIDr Hardship Funded Place, please, to pamelahoyer@cascaidr.org.uk

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