Direct Payments - Who decides payment rates?

Hi everyone,

Just curious about something, but not sure if anyone here would know the answer…

One of my carees is having an issue with one of their paid carers due to the national minimum wage and the new rules on overnight care pay.

It seems the agency they employ to handle all the employment side of things, who acts as a middle man with the caree and the local council (direct payment funding) and the agency are adamant the carer is only entitled to minimum wage per hour and a flat rate for the overnights.

Looking at some job ads for the same agency, it seems that many similar roles are costed much differently than for this carer. For example, most jobs are getting an hourly rate of £10-15…and overnights can be anything from £40 to £90 a pop.

So my question is - if the person receiving direct payments is legally the employer, surely they are allowed to decide how much they pay their employees?

But where does the council stand on that though? Can they refuse to pay more than the bare minimum for care? Are they in any way obliged to cover what the employer considers a fair wage for their worker?

So if the employer wanted to pay a living wage, rather than minimum wage, would the council have to stump up the funding, or would the employer have to cover the shortfall from their own pocket?


I don’t know the answer to this one, but first of all, but the Direct Payments scheme enables you to employ someone as your Personal Assistant, (However, you cannot employ a member of your family or a relative) which means that person is NOT employed via an agency. should be able to source the information and rules regarding this from your local council. The money you get has to be handled and managed by an accountant, (because in the past, people were abusing the system by using it to fund their addiction to things like booze and drugs) and you have to keep signed records of the hours worked, signed by yourself and the PA you are employing.

Some councils are signposting those who are on Direct Payments to employ people in this manner, because of the fees that Agencies charge, On the face of it, this does sound a rather complicated process, but many of these Council departments will provide you with the processes involved such as DBS checks done, a template for the contract of employment etc.

I am paying my PA £11.50 per hr, and I’ve been told that depending on the skills that if you require your PA to possess, (eg. dispensing prescribed medicines etc) that their rate of pay can be higher than that. Hopefully, other people who are more knowledgeable about this subject than I am will pass on their expertise on this subject.

I was told the social worker is responsible for deciding how much a PA is paid, and it’s all tied to a tier system and is (loosely) based on complexity of care and skills provided, but ultimately, it’s down to the social worker and they won’t spent a pound if a penny will do.

There was a big court case about how overnight care is funded, and it’s still in dispute with unions who are petitioning the government, but as it stands currently you only need to be paid the NMW when you’re awake and working.

If the PA is working all night, they should be paid as such, but it’s difficult to prove in private residences. However, I’m told, most councils consider you awake all night if you have to assist two to four times during the night.

They can and do refuse to pay more than the NMW for care. They are budget orientated and will never allow anyone to pay more than the bare minimum for services.

Out of interest, can I ask what the flat rate is for the overnight care?
And what the agency is called? Because this sounds like a very similar situation that one of my friends is in.

If you make a “Subject Access Request” to the council for a copy of all information held about the way the DP is calculated, the reports, meetings etc. you might learn a lot. Just look at the council’s website, you should be able to make the request online, and they must comply within about 20 working days.