Direct Payments : LAs And Families Of Disabled Children : Cereba Report : Prof. Luke Clements

Courtesy of Professor Luke Clements … a real 43 page heavyweight in .pdf format :

( Scroll down to DIRECT PAYMENT RESEARCH … and then click on the download link which opens up in Adobe Reader format. )


**_Key Messages PAGE 4

  1. Introduction PAGE 5
  2. The Law and Direct Payments PAGE 10
  3. Methods PAGE 12
  4. Survey of Local Authorities PAGE 14
  5. Survey of Families PAGE 16
  6. Discussion and Findings PAGE 30
    Appendix 1: Freedom of Information request PAGE 32
    Appendix 2: Payment rates for Direct Payments PAGE 33
    Appendix 3: Survey questions for families PAGE 36
    Appendix 3: List of authorities featuring in the family survey responses PAGE 41_**

    **_Key Messages
  7. The survey reveals deep levels of dissatisfaction with the way that Direct Payment arrangements are been administered by local authorities (para 5.59).
  8. Rates of pay for Personal Assistants (PAs) were very low, typically at minimum wage rates. It appears that in consequence that in many local authority areas there is a serious ‘market failure’ – such that authorities are arguably in breach of their statutory and public law obligations to families with disabled children (para 1.14).
  9. Getting an assessment of needs was often said to be a matter of chance, with some families learning about services through word of mouth and some reporting a wait of as long as two years to get an assessment (para 5.03).
  10. Many respondents commented that Direct Payment rates were too low to employ suitable PAs despite their local authority being willing to pay much higher rates for agency staff (para 5.17 – 5.18).
  11. The difficulty of finding suitable staff who were prepared to work for the rates imposed by local authorities was a major and reoccurring theme of the survey (para 5.32) as was fear by respondents of losing the Direct Payments if they were not able to find such staff (5.32; 5.45).
  12. The complexity of some children’s support requirements, in conjunction with poor conditions of employment, meant that many families reported finding it impossible to recruit PAs. In conjunction with increased restrictions on the permitted use of money, this could result in money being unspent (para 5.47).
  13. Money that remained unspent was usually reclaimed by local authorities after periods of time that ranged from two weeks to two years, leaving families without any support. There was only one report (from 256 replies) of pay rates being increased in order to promote recruitment of a PA (para 5.47).
  14. There was a lack of knowledge as to how Direct Payments were calculated and indeed what the actual rate was in individual cases (paras 5.09; 5.12; 5.14; 5.20).
  15. There are considerable shortcomings in realising the original intentions behind Direct Payments. Strict rationing of resources is resulting in families experiencing stress, an acute lack of support and prolonged ‘battles’ to secure basic services that they are entitled to by law._**

    In short , ESSENTIAL reading for any reader with an interest in this subject !

First thing I see on the page is: Social care charges and pet care costs

Gonna give it a read but the title sounds like one of my daughters Disney titles, im wondering does the princess of Social Care wave a wond at pet care costs and like magic the frog transforms into a wonderful world of welbeing and respect for all ? hehe


I saw that too, and thought if we get to the stage thats all we worry about getting funding for then we’d be in Utopia with carers properly fed, funded, housed and supported.

The actual report is a bit further down. Interesting but just confirms what we know already

Yep … that " Pet care costs " was a real misnomer.

All too often , the cost of keeping a pet is not funded by LAs through DPs or PBs.

For many senior citizens , a pet is their own constant companion … unless one rules out that paid care worker , on roller skates ,
that drops in for 10 minutes on somedays … and charges for a full 30 minutes ???

Even lesser mortals like me during my 10 stretch …in the early years … my labrador was my only companion other than my caree.

Hi Mrs A

I didnt intent to belittle the research and as Chris says in his post lot’s of people rely on pet for their “Wellbeing”, myslef as a carer I have a dog that i walk for relaxation, 30mins out the house “jail” with my mate helps me cope with the isolation and stress, I also enjoy taking my camera with a selection of lens to capture these moments -it’s me!. but just like You I have never thought of this as a matter for the LA or NHS, how little I knew that my wellbeing should also be accounted for. I shouldn’t have to ask my son to keep an eye on ****** because it’s not his responsibility nor should I expect to remain isolated! these are stipulated in the Care Act, Guidelines and Code of Conduct for both Social Services and NHS. It is hopeless to expect this will happen whilst the current ideology holds fast, all we can do is shout and scream while they push us under!

I will dig down and have a look at the report. Thank You

Hi Chris,

I think maybe the misnomer is only to advertise (to the unknowing) with shocking evidence contained within. It is devised so that Disney ideas of reality can be laid to rest. the title suggest utopia (Thanks Mrs A) but the bones suggest neglet? Yes I do understand why pet cost have a real impact, why pets are important for large swathes of the community (my own dog has saved me from accessing amargeddon more than once!) - (no im not suiciadal lol).

I guess we just don’t view our pets/friends/comatriots as tools for our wellbeing, I know there is plenty of evidence showing we should look at our pets in this way, but unless we do reach utopia as Mrs A says these are just a wish list.