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My Inflexible Friend

January 24, 2014

I’ve been winding myself up quite a bit in the last two days since my meeting with the Support Planner (see blog post below).

I guess I’ve been on a bit of a mission, with the original proposal for how Steven’s care is paid for, to achieve real “personalisation”, “in control”, call it what you will. I’ve naively thought that, with all the threats of cuts, this is the best way of Steven getting his care needs met. And at the same time, remove the middle men making such a lush profit from Steven’s disability. As it’s turned out, I have less control than before and we’ve gained three new middle men to replace the two we’ve lost.

Here is the piece from Hillingdon’s website about personal budgets: http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/media.jsp?mediaid=28190&filetype=pdf

It made me laugh because it is typical Hillingdon language. It’s full of “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” and “if we find you’ve done this, we’ll slice your testicles off”. As a piece about selling their direct payment scheme, it’s guaranteed to have people running a mile from the scheme.

My big problem, apart from the glut of new middle men, is the pre paid card and the complete inflexibility of how they expect you to use it. It’s a pre paid card or nothing.

For the past few years, I’ve received direct payments to pay one support worker and to pay for respite. The money has always gone into a bank account every four weeks and I’ve kept meticulous records of how the money has been spent. The account is audited by the council every three months and they’ve never had a problem with the way I’ve managed it. Likewise, I have always paid the tax on time and never had any issues with HMRC. The support workers like the way I manage the package as well. I pay them one month in advance. And if I ask them to cover a shift at short notice, I can pay them on the spot. I know the guys appreciate this – they all live hand to mouth and this arrangement works very well for them.

Under the pre paid card scheme, I will have to use a payroll company to administer the wages and tax. One of the new middle men. Their preference is to pay a month in arrears. And they won’t pay more often than once a month because that is what their contract with the council stipulates. More frequent than that and they will charge the council extra. This is problematic. If I ask a support worker to cover an extra three hours tonight, under the new arrangement, it will be two months time before they get paid for that. The new middle man will slow the process down considerably.

It’s not like it can’t be done. In order for me to pay the cab firm, the council have agreed that I can transfer a sum each month from the pre paid card into the direct payment bank account, and then draw out money weekly to pay the cash fare. Why can’t I do the same with the wages? Because the council has a contract with the payroll company and another one with the company that supplies the pre paid cards, and another one with a local disability organisation to provide “advice and support”. And they have major trust issues.

I’m sure there are lots of carers that would want the opposite course to me. Who’d love to have a payroll company take over all the admin for them. That’s fine. But I thought personalisation was about flexibility and ….. well, personalisation.

My first ever post on this blog, nearly two years ago, was called “It’s Not What It Says On The Tin”. Here we go again…..

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From → Social Care

4 Comments
  1. Alice Moore permalink

    There`s too many companies been set up to cream off taxpayers money. It`s wasteful and frustrates the whole idea of personalisation.

  2. swanarchie07 permalink

    Its a terrible way of doing it but it seems this is the way forward with a few LAs. Councils just dont no what they ae doing xx

  3. Em coconoir permalink

    Time to address forcefully with commissioners as most comm contracts start in April? Also ask for written confirmation from senior lead if there is no possibility of opt out. Once you have that, time to send direct to Norman or even PM. This is not why they are in post . .

  4. Suzanne permalink

    Its about all those things you removed and dealt with the cash value of stevens care package,
    Its supposed to give independence quality care when the person requires it its about dignity of not having 28 carers in a week who come in to wash and bath you. Oh now i have said all the wrong things for the council its about an element of control. I would like them to come do my job because i could do their job a damn site better

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