Direct Payments

Most prevalent issues surrounding direct payments involve; setting arbitrary limits, delaying/incorrectly backdating payments, or delaying the approval of DPs.

In terms of assessing a person’s eligibility for a Direct Payment and applying for one, there are no set guidelines for how long this should take. The LGO consider it reasonable to expect services to complete a non-urgent application in 12 weeks.

As long as there are sufficient records and evidence, the LGO will go through exact care costs and time scales, and work out exactly how much of your DPs should be backdated and paid to you if the Council failed to do so correctly in the first place.  Some of the reports have highlighted that, because the LGO is not a court of law, it can be more generous in order to put people back in the position they should have been in. So, an unreasonable delay, resulting in a person losing out on additional support, can be compensated for by way of an LGO recommendation.

The LGO reports emphasise that a Council cannot withdraw your DPs without review.

Name of CouncilTitle of ReportNumber
SheffieldSheffield City Council at fault for multiple errors in a care assessment and incorrectly commissioning care with a provider previously complained about19 019 521
WorcestershireWorcestershire County Council at fault for failing to properly explain the charging and net direct payment process, failing to monitor a direct payment account, and failing to engage consistently with a person’s financial representative19 019 886
KentKent County Council at fault for incorrectly backdating payments 18 002 469
Buckinghamshire County CouncilBuckinghamshire County Council at fault for deciding to stop Direct Payments without a formal review, without giving notice and without ensuring established needs would still be met on transfer to Continuing Health Care17 016 036
Cheshire West & ChesterCheshire West and Cheshire Council at fault for stopping direct payments without explanation and applying an arbitrary DRE disregard18 010 441
London Borough of BromleyLondon Borough of Bromley at fault for setting an arbitrary limit on a personal budget and failing to show how assessed needs could be met within the final sum offered10 007 855
CalderdaleCalderdale Council at fault for poor communication, failing to involve a person in decisions surrounding their care, wrongly stopping direct payments and severe delays in carrying out an assessment19 004 821
Cornwall County CouncilCornwall County Council at fault for forcing a carer to carry on meeting needs by stopping direct payments and leaving any alternative source of care undelivered19 004 581
StaffordshireStaffordshire County Council at fault for stopping respite care funding, and not sufficiently involving the person and their family in assessments and reviews19 003 615
Cheshire West and ChesterCheshire West and Chester Council found not at fault for recovering direct payments, but found at fault in delivering care not in line with the care plan 18 005 390
DorsetDorset County Council at fault for unreasonable delays in funding Direct Payments 18 012 800
HampshireHampshire County Council at fault for failing to backdate direct payment to match increase in cost of care 18 007 332
KirkleesKirklees Council at fault for removing respite care and setting arbitrary limit to funding19 008 980
KirkleesKirklees Council at fault for the poor quality of care and record keeping evident at an agency it commissioned (Locala HomeCare Limited)18 002 031
LeicestershireLeicestershire Council at fault for failing to arrange home care within a reasonable timescale, and failing to provide information about direct payments18 017 173
SomersetSomerset Council at fault for facilitating accrual of charging debts and for stating it ‘could not’ provide care until settlement of that debt 18 016 382
CornwallCornwall Council at fault for delays in approving direct payments 18 018 350
HaveringLondon Borough of Havering Council fails to ensure a sufficient personal budget to cover care and support needs, and offers an arbitrary ‘standard’ amount
18 018 467
RedbridgeLondon Borough of Redbridge Council at fault for incorrectly charging a carer the full amount of his support costs, after wrongly requesting financial assessment 18 015 695
NorfolkNorfolk County Council at fault for failing to produce a clear care plan and incorrect advice on direct payments and Disability Related Expenditure 18 012 426