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Living Better Lives (ASC)

Direct Payments

What are Direct Payments?

A Direct Payment is money you can receive from the Council to buy care and support services, rather than having social care staff arrange them for you.

This puts you in charge of your own care or support arrangements, giving you independence and flexibility over who provides your care and how and when it is delivered.

The services purchased using Direct Payments must be safe, legal and meet your care and support needs.

Who can receive Direct Payments?

Most people who are eligible for social care services are also eligible for Direct Payments including:

  • older people
  • disabled people over the age of 16
  • people with physical and/or sensory disabilities
  • people with learning disabilities
  • people with mental health issues
  • a person with parental responsibility for a disabled child aged under 16 including parents and people with legal parental responsibility and who are not necessarily the child's parents
  • carers who are over the age of 16 and have been assessed as needing services to support them in their caring roles and to maintain their own health and wellbeing

People who do not have the mental capacity to consent to Direct Payments can have an appointed person to manage Direct Payments on their behalf.

Why choose to use Direct Payments?

Having the money to pay for your own care and support services means you have more choice and control over who provides your care and support services and when they are provided.

Goods and services can only be purchased if they are safe, legal and meet your needs and agreed outcomes as shown in your care and support plan.

Examples of how you can use Direct Payments:

  • to provide support for personal care in order to keep you safe, healthy and comfortable
  • to help you access opportunities that may boost your employment potential or improve your wellbeing
  • to help you access your local community
  • to buy care and support services from a provider of your own choice or to directly employ someone to help you
  • to employ someone to give additional support in your caring role if you have parental responsibility for a disabled child

Find out about  Personal assistants

Examples of what Direct Payments cannot be used for:

  • buying health services, only continuing health care
  • buying long term residential care
  • pay household bills or other personal expenses
  • Buy services directly provided by the Local Authority

Direct Payments is not income or benefit money and therefore it will not affect any benefits you may already receive.

If you are over 18 you will be financially assessed to see if you need to make a contribution to the cost of any support you are entitled to. You must be willing and able to manage the Direct Payments with support if required.

Those who lack the capacity to consent to Direct Payments will need to have a suitable appointed person agreed by the Council to receive the Direct Payments on their behalf.

Direct payments cannot normally be used to employ close relatives who live in the same household. A small number of people may not be able to have Direct Payments and this would be discussed with your Social Worker or the Self Directed Support Team.

Can I get help to manage my Direct Payments? 

There are companies that will administer your Direct Payments for you for a small charge and these services are for payroll administration. If you meet a certain criteria a management service can be provided to look after your funds and make payments on your behalf.

Which providers can I use?

Apart from certain restrictions, you can use Direct Payments to get help from wherever you want.

Examples of providers

  • someone who provides care directly
  • payroll providers
  • companies who specialise in a particular areas of care

How to get a Direct Payments assessment

You need an assessment to see if Direct Payments can be offered to you as an option for care services.

If you are interested, speak with your Social Worker or Care Manager. If you need more information about this, contact the Self Directed Support Team on 0191 427 1717 or email

What happens once I've been assessed?

Once you or your child has been assessed, a Self Directed Support Assistant will visit you at home to provide more details and explain the scheme to you. If you decide to go ahead, the Self Directed Support Assistant will handle the process with you.  

A Direct Payments officer can provide you with:

  • Initial information
  • Employer information
  • Help with paperwork
  • Payroll service (if required)
  • Leaflets and fact sheets
  • Access to support groups of young people/ families in a similar situation to your own, which you will be invited to

Direct Payments service providers

Many people who receive Direct Payments pay service provider companies for support so they can live as normal a life as possible. We do not control these companies so we can't give any guidance on their performance or quality - we advise people who are looking to use services like these to do their own research.

Payroll providers

There are several payroll providers that will look after your Direct Payments for you.

You must check with the individual company for information on how much they charge. The council does not run these companies so we cannot provide information on quality or performance.

The list of payroll companies that the Self Directed Support Team are aware of and that service users are currently using, this is only to be used as a guidance. Service users can choose  the company they would like to use which may not be on this list. We don't control these companies so we cannot comment on their quality or the service they offer.


(0191) 492 1222 

(0191) 410 9178
Bede Services(0191) 286
B.H. Accountancy Ltd(0191) 281



(0191) 454 5322
Optimal Accountancy(0191) 455

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