FAQs – Direct Payments

What is a Direct Payment?
A direct payment is a payment given to people, by the council, who have been assessed as needing support.  It gives more flexibility over how your care and support is provided for by enabling you to arrange and pay for your own care and support services instead of receiving them directly from the council. They are given to both people with care and support needs, and also to carers.
How do I get a Direct Payment?
Firstly an assessment is carried out by a worker from Wiltshire Council.  They will look at the support you need and discuss with you the options available for providing this support.  You can ask for a direct payment so you can purchase the services/support you have been assessed as needing.
Do I have to pay towards the cost of my care under a Direct Payment?
The council will determine how much you will pay towards the cost of your care.  A financial assessment will be completed prior to any decision being made on whether you need to financially contribute.
I’ve been told I can have a direct payment? Can you help me?
We can provide all the help and guidance you need on managing a direct payment once we have received a referral from the Council.
Does Wiltshire CIL manage my direct payment?
No.  Wiltshire CIL is a support service only and does not manage the direct payment.  If you receive a direct payment, you will have signed an agreement with Wiltshire Council accepting responsibility for managing the funding. But Wiltshire CIL will provide help and guidance when your direct payment is being set-up and thereafter.
What should I do if I have a problem with my direct payment?
Contact Wiltshire CIL in the first instance.  If we are unable to help, we will usually know who can.
Where can I find a PA?
Please try our PA Register http://www.wiltspa-reg.org.uk/ or contact admindp@wiltshirecil.org.uk, or ring 0300 1233 442.    See also Recruitment Support Information Sheet  
Can I employ a family member as my PA?
You can employ a family member as long as they are not your spouse or partner wherever they live, or a close family member (or their spouse or partner) living at the same address as yourself
I am about to employ someone and have been told I must check whether they are allowed to work in the UK.  How do I do this?
In order to comply with the law on illegal working, you must retain a copy of one of the following proofs of identity on the employee’s file: British passport or a P45/ P60 and a UK birth certificate or a work permit and an endorsed passport.  For a full list of possible evidence documents https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acceptable-right-to-work-documents-an-employers-guide Or access the government website for a tool which guides you through the process https://www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk
I need to get my PA to have a criminal records (DBS) check.  How do I go about this?
If you are in receipt of a direct payment, then you can have your employees DBS checked (Disclosure and Barring Service replaced the old Criminal Records Service) by contacting Wiltshire CIL on 0300 1233 442 Option 2 to make an appointment.  We can carry out identity checks at our offices in Devizes or in the Council offices in Salisbury, Chippenham or Trowbridge but all are by appointment only.
Does my personal assistant have to have a DBS check?
Disclosure & Barring Service (the old Criminal Records Bureau) checks are strongly recommended by both the Council and Wiltshire CIL. If you are receiving your funding from the Children & Young People's Disability Team, then all your PAs must have a DBS check.  
I was told I have to have employer’s liability insurance.  Do I have to pay for this? 
 If you are in receipt of a direct payment, then the Council will pay for this.  Please contact Wiltshire CIL for an application form.
Am I an employer?
If you pay for someone to provide you with care and they are not - from an agency or -  self-employed then you will be an employer.  Wiltshire Council expect you to manage your direct payment funding formally and you should therefore be registered as an employer with H.M.Revenue & Customs (HMRC).  As part of your direct payment, you have access to a free payroll service provided by Wiltshire CIL who will undertake all the necessary work with HMRC on your behalf.  See also Advice and Support
I have a direct payment for 2 hours a week for my neighbour to sit with my husband while I go out.  Do I have to be an employer?
Whether you employ someone for 35 hours a week or 2 hours a week, you are still an employer and should be registered as such with H.M. Revenue & Customs.
Do I have to pay my PA when they are sick?
Your PA may be entitled to statutory sick pay.  If you are not sure, then you have access through your Employer’s Liability Insurance, to a 24 hour legal and employment law helpline with an organisation called MSL  ( 0161 6032167).
Do I have to give my PA holiday?
Your PA is entitled to at least 5.6 weeks’ holiday a year and should take it.  Untaken holiday allowance is normally lost at the end of the leave year unless there is specific provision in the contract of employment to carry over a limited number of days.  An employee is only entitled to be paid for unused holiday on termination of their employment.
I only employ a PA for a few hours a week.  Does the Workplace Pension legislation affect me?
 Every employer is affected by this legislation and every employer, whether they employ someone full-time or only for a few hours a week, should set up a pension scheme whether or not their employee wishes to take advantage of this.
What should I do if I have a problem with my PA?
Through the Employer’s Liability Insurance you have with PremierCare, you have access to a 24 hour legal and employment law helpline with an organisation called MSL.  Their contact number is: 0161 6032167
When will the Direct Payment funding be paid into my account?
The initial payment will be backdated to the start date of your Direct Payment and can take up to 2 weeks from authorisation of your support plan. Subsequent payments will be made on or before the 1st of the month.  The funding is paid in advance.
Can I change from agency to Personal Assistant?
Yes but you would need to contact your social worker for a change to be made to your support plan as the funding will be different.
What happens if I have to go into hospital?
The Direct Payment funding will continue for up to 8 weeks after you have been hospitalised with a provision to continue to pay for care for the first 4 weeks. You should let the Council know when you are admitted (if possible). If your hospital stay is planned and you employ a PA, please contact a DP Adviser at Wiltshire CIL for further guidance.  
What do I do if my PA leaves?
Contact a DP Adviser at Wiltshire CIL in the first instance.