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EnfieldChildren's Services Procedures Manual

The Joint Service for Disabled Children Personal Budgets – Comprising Short Break Grants and Direct Payments

Contents

  1. What are Personal Budgets?
  2. Who can Get Personal Budgets?
  3. How Often are Personal Budgets Made?
  4. What is the Process?
  5. Hospital Stays
  6. Personal Budgets Can Not be Spent On
  7. What are the Benefits of Personal Budgets?
  8. Decisions Not to Make Personal Budgets
  9. Monitoring and Review of Personal Budgets
  10. Change in Circumstances
  11. Audit
  12. Review of Personal Budget
  13. Reducing the Amount of Personal Budget
  14. Repayment and Recovery of Personal Budgets
  15. Ceasing Personal Budgets

1. What are Personal Budgets?

A Personal budget provides families with an agreed level of funding.

In Enfield we provide personal budgets through the provision of Short Break Grants, both Activity and Service Grants (See the Local Offer for more information) and through Direct Payments.

Both involve money being given by the Local Authority to Young people aged 16 years or over who have a disability and to parents or carers of disabled children.

An Activity grant is a sum of money which contributes to the cost of a regular or one off activity which parents and children can do together. For example horse riding, drama, music lessons, soft play and cinema – see the Local Offer for fact sheets with more information.

A Services grant is intended to contribute to the cost of short break services for child and young people for example play schemes, weekend activity groups, after school groups and care via a home care agency.

Direct Payments enable families and young people to buy the personal care support they have been assessed as needing. This is instead of the Local Authority identifying a carer to provide the assessed support.

If the parents or young person disagrees with a decision it will be reviewed by the Specialist Panel and then the Head of Service.

The JSDC endeavours at all times to be reasonable and to prevent escalation to a formal complaint.

Direct Payments do not affect benefits.

Local authorities must offer the option of a personal budget which includes Short Break Grants and Direct Payments

The local authority must be satisfied that the person who receives a personal budget is able to manage this funding either by themselves or with whatever help the authority considers necessary.

Families should use their budgets in an appropriate way to ensure an enjoyable play or leisure opportunity for the child or young person, an opportunity for the child or young person to be included in a leisure activity with friends or an opportunity for a child to learn a new skill and a chance for parents to have a short break from their caring responsibilities.

2. Who can get Personal Budgets?

Children and young people who have been assessed as meeting the criteria for the Joint Service for Disabled Children.

To receive a direct payment a social work assessment is necessary.

Direct Payments cannot be used to pay for services from a spouse, partner or a close relative living in the household unless the local authority consider it is necessary to do so in exceptional circumstances. However, a direct payment can be used to employ a relative if they are not living in the family home.

All families with children aged 8 yrs +are offered the opportunity to arrange their own short breaks using a short break grant for activities or services. Children aged 5yr – 8 yrs are offered a short break grant for activities only.

3. How Often are Personal Budgets Made?

Short break grants are paid 3 times a year and direct payments are paid two monthly. All payments are made via an E Card.

4. What is the Process?

The Personal Budget is agreed at the Joint Service for Disabled Children's Resource Panel. Parents are written to and have the choice of receiving commissioned services or to receive the Short Break Grant for either activities or services.

If parents or a young person chooses to receive a grant then they are required to complete an application for an E Card bringing with them proof of address, ID and their National Insurance number. The application form takes 15 minutes to complete.

Parents are also sent an agreement to sign which clarifies what the grant may be spent on. Parents need to keep receipts as proof of expenditure as audits are undertaken.

5. Hospital Stays

When a child or young person under 16 yrs needs to go into hospital, the parent, carer or the person managing the Direct Payment, should advise the local authority straight away to discuss the continuation of the payment.

Where a Young Person is 16 yrs or older and in receipt of Direct Payments, hospitalisation may not necessarily mean that the Direct Payments should cease. Guidance advises that consideration should be given by the local authority, the carer, the holder and NHS Trust to as to how the payments might be used to meet non-health needs or to ensure that the employment arrangements can be maintained. For example, the holder may prefer some personal care tasks to be undertaken by the carer rather than hospital staff. However, the personal care and medical input need to be tailored so as not to interfere with the medical treatment. (Terminating or suspending the carer's employment may lead to a delay of continuity of care and a delay in discharge).

In instances where the authorised or nominated person requires hospital treatment, the local authority must conduct an urgent review to ensure the holder continues to receive the care and support they need. This might include the duties to be carried out by a temporary nominated person, or through short-term authority arranged care/support.

6. Personal Budgets Can Not be Spent On

  • Any thing that is not stated on the direct payment agreement or short break grant activities/services factsheets.

7. What are the Benefits of Personal Budgets?

Personal Budgets allow parents and young people greater choice flexibility and control, regarding short break services and activities.

Direct payments provide opportunities for families to employ their own carers at times convenient to them and in the way they wish, to provide an individual service to meet their needs. Payments made do not affect welfare benefits.

Families employing a carer are strongly advised to request a DBS check particularly if the carer is not known to them. The Local Authority cannot insist that a DBS check is carried our but will support families to ensure this is completed.

Short break grants enable parents and young people to access the services/activities they feels meet their needs bests, they can also use up to £200.00 per year towards the costs of the child's holiday, this could be a break with the family or a school trip.

8. Decisions Not to Make Personal Budgets

Where the local authority decides not to make Direct Payments it must inform in writing the child's parent or the young person of its decision and reasons in a format that is accessible to them and in line with the Data Protection Act. It must also advise of their right to request a review of the decision.

9. Monitoring and Review of Personal Budgets

Short Break Grants

Payments for Short Break Grants (SBG) are made:
End of March (for period April to July)
End of July (for period Aug – Nov)
End of Nov (for period Dec – March)

SBG monitoring will be undertaken by the service manager and operational support officer a minimum of twice a year for the SBG for services (£1,000 per year) and for the SBG for activities (£500 per year).

If when the balance in the E card account is checked, 50% + of the annual grant has not been spent, the parent will be contacted to confirm if there are plans to spend this, if there are not, payments will be suspended until the balance reduces.

Please note: Parents tend to spend a larger proportion of the grant during the summer holidays. Parents are able to use up to £200.00 per year towards holiday costs for their child.

If there is any prohibited spending of the grant funds the account will be suspended while this is investigated.

Parents will then be asked to provide evidence of receipts and invoices of expenditure.

If there is prohibited expenditure parents will be advised to reimburse the E card account. If this is not repaid, and the amount is up to £100.00 the Service Manager has discretion to waive this, any amounts over this will be discussed with the Head of Service and a decision made to pursue repayment of funds.

Parents in this situation will be advised that the short breaks will need to be provided by a commissioned service.

A record of the SBG monitoring and Managers decision is recorded on Liquidlogic.

Direct Payments

Payments for Direct Payments (DP) are made:
End of January, March, May, July, Sept, Nov

DP monitoring will be undertaken by the service manager

The direct payment monitoring will be undertaken proportionately according to amount of allocated DP funding and any other risk factors i.e. previous failure to manage account or inappropriate use of funds.

DP payments up to £2,000 per year will be monitored a minimum of 3 times a year, £2,000 to £4,000 4 times a year and over £4,000 monthly.

If, when the balance in the E card account is checked, there is a balance in excess of two months payments, the parent will be contacted to confirm if there are plans to spend this, if not payments will be suspended until the balance reduces.

Please note: Parents may have payments for tax, Ni, payroll, holiday pay for the carer or insurance outstanding.

If there is prohibited expenditure parents will be advised to reimburse the E card account. If this is not repaid, and the amount is up to £100.00 the Service Manager has discretion to waive this, any amounts over this will be discussed with the Head of Service and a decision made to pursue repayment of funds.

Parents in this situation will be advised that the care for their will need to be provided by a commissioned service.

A record of the DP monitoring and Managers decision is recorded on Liquidlogic.

10. Change in Circumstances

If there are changes in the child or family's circumstances, i.e. death of child, the family move out of the Borough, or when the child is 18 years. The account will be suspended and funds in the E card account recouped.

11. Audit

Parents are required to keep receipts and invoices, for 7 years for direct payments and 2 years for SBG cases, but are no longer required to submit them.

Audits of this monitoring will be undertaken on 10 random SBG cases and 10 DP cases per year.

U Direct will be undertaking the random audits of the DP cases and will provide a report to the Service Manager.

Operational support will undertake the random audits of the SBG cases and report to the Service Manager.

12. Review of Personal Budget

When carrying out a review, the local authority must consider whether:

  • The Personal Budget continues to meet the child/young person and their family's outcomes;
  • The Personal Budgets have been used effectively;
  • The amount of Personal budget continues to be sufficient to secure the agreed provision;
  • The recipient has complied with their obligations on the use of Personal budgets.

Following a review the local authority may:

  • Substitute the person receiving the Personal Budget with a managed account or a directly commissioned service;
  • Increase, maintain or reduce the amount of Personal Budget;
  • Require the recipient to comply with either or both of the following conditions:
    • Not to secure a service from a particular person;
    • To provide such information as the local authority considers necessary.
  • Stop making Personal budgets.

13. Reducing the Amount of Personal Budgets

Where the JSDC decides to reduce the amount of Personal Budget, it must provide reasonable notice to the recipient, and must set out in writing the reasons for its decision.

If the parents or young person disagrees with a decision it will be reviewed by the Specialist Panel and then the Head of Service. The JSDC endeavours at all times to be reasonable and to prevent escalation to a formal complaint.

14. Repayment and Recovery of Personal Budgets

The local authority may require the recipient to repay part or all of a Personal Budget where:

  • The circumstances of the child or young person have changed in a manner which has an impact on the appropriateness of the agreed provision;
  • All or part of the Personal Budgets have not been used to secure the agreed provision;
  • Theft, fraud or another offence may have occurred in connection with the Personal Budget;
  • The child or young person has died.

It must give notice in writing to the recipient, setting out the reasons for the decision, the amount to be repaid and a reasonable timescale within which the amount must be repaid.

The JSDC may only seek repayment of any portion of the Personal Budget that has not already been spent on the agreed provision. See Monitoring outlined above.

14. Ceasing Personal Budgets

The JSDC will stop providing Personal Budgets if:

  • The recipient has notified the JSDC in writing that he or she no longer consents to receive the Personal Budget;
  • The recipient ceases to be a person to whom a Personal Budget may be made;
  • Following a review, it appears to the JSDC that:
    • The recipient is not using the payment to secure the agreed provision;
    • The agreed provision can no longer be secured by means of a Personal Budget.
  • At any point the Personal Budget becomes aware that the making of Direct Payments is:
    • Having an adverse impact on other services which the local authority provides or arranges for children and young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan which the authority maintains; or
    • No longer compatible with the Local Authority's efficient use of its resources.
  • It has taken reasonable steps to ascertain whether the young person consents to Personal Budgets and the young person has not notified the local authority of their consent.

Where the JSDC decides to stop the amount of Personal Budget, it must provide reasonable notice to the recipient, and must set out in writing the reasons for its decision.

If the parents or young person disagrees with a decision it will be reviewed by the Specialist Panel and then the Head of Service. The JSDC endeavours at all times to be reasonable and to prevent escalation to a formal complaint.