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What is a direct Payment?

A direct payment is a cash payment made by a local authority to a parent or young person to contract, purchase or manage services themselves.

What can the Direct Payment be used for?

An assessment will determine the social care needs of your child and then make recommendations regarding how the money can be used to meet those needs.

Benefits of a direct payment

Flexibility and choice. You can use a service that best suits your child’s needs in line with the assessment recommendations

Key things you need to know!

The money will be paid into a Derbyshire County Council bank account that you have full access to.

You will need to keep receipts for all monies for a period of 7 years for auditing purposes. 

Payments for Personal Assistants (PA’s) will have to be by an online banking system (BACS).  No cash payments are allowed.

If the money has not been used in a 3 month period this may be reclaimed. However we will ensure you have sufficient funds to pay for the agreed service.

What are my responsibilities?

For a Personal Assistant (PA):

  • You will need to identify a PA.
  • You will become an employer if you choose to use a PA.
  • You will need to ensure the PA has a current police check (DBS check).
  • You will need to set up a contract with your PA (Support can be given).
  • You will have to arrange and purchase public liability insurance. (Children's Services will pay for the first year only).
  • You will be responsible for paying your PA the agreed rate of pay, in line with employment legislation. 
  • You will be responsible for tax, National Insurance, sick/holiday pay and pension for your employee. (Payroll services can help with this).
  • You will need to read, understand and sign an agreement as the direct payment will not be released without this.
  • You will be responsible for dealing with any issues concerning your PA. Citizens Advice or yours child’s Social worker (if involved), may be able to advise you. 

Your child’s social worker can assist you in setting up the direct payment for a PA.

For an Agency:

  • If you use an agency, you are responsible for paying the agency on time.
  • Agencies are responsible for the police checks and paying their staff.
  • Agency costs are generally higher and you may have to pay additional monies yourself e.g. from DLA payments, to access services from some agencies.

Support and advice can be given if requested around using an agency.

What is the process and how long may it take?

  • An assessment is completed – this can take up to 45 working days. The findings of the assessment will be summarised – this is when a direct payment could be identified to meet your child’s needs.
  • Once the Direct payment has been agreed, then the process will begin but can take some time.
  • Recommendations are submitted to a panel for decision making – up to 21days.
  • You will need to identify a PA and relevant checks to be completed – may take several months.
  • Once the Payment is processed and paid into a bank account - up to 10 working days.
  • The Direct payment will be reviewed every 12 week by your child’s social care worker (if involved). At this meeting you will need to provide invoices, receipts and bank statements.

You don’t have to do this aloneSpeak to your child’s social care worker. They will be able to advise and guide you.

Useful Contacts:

Penderels Trust will help you with finding a Personal Assistant and employing them.

Citizens Advice can help with employment law, finances and legal advice. 

Derbyshire Information Advice and Support Service for SEND (DIASS) can provide advice and information in relation to your family. You can call the Helpline on 01629 533668 or email:

Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190