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Bun Fight at the Personal Budget Corral

April 12, 2014

I’m two weeks into the Personal Budget universe now. Admittedly, I’d spent hours (days?) in the weeks beforehand calculating all the figures. But I have to say, it has not been arduous at all.

Last week, it took me 40 minutes to pay five lots of wages, transfer money to pay the cab fares and allocate the funds for the monthly tax bill. It probably took me that time because (a) I have never done online banking before, and (b) I was having to set all the support workers’ bank details up for the first time. Today it took ten minutes!

And I want it to stay this way. The beauty for me is that I can do the wages in the small chunks of free time I get. Today, Steven and his support worker were watching the horse racing (Steven likes counting how many jockeys have red hats on), so I thought, as I had half an hour before starting tea, I’d get cracking on the wages. So, the support workers will get paid a day early – who gives a monkeys. It was convenient for me.

So, why am I standing by for a bollocking? Well – I was notified the other day that at the end of May I have to attend the 6 week review of the personal budget. Attending will be the social worker, the support planner, and my favourite person, the direct payments manager. I’ve asked if Uncle Tom Cobbley can come as well. They will draw up an agenda.

I can guess what will be on it.

1) Why am I disobeying orders and transferring the money from the prepaid card into the direct payment bank account and paying the workers and the cab firm from there? I’ve only done one transfer so far at a cost of 50p. But the main reason again is convenience for me. I may have weeks where, at my only free time, I don’t have internet access and have to do the wages by telephone transfer. Also, it takes up to four days for the money to get from the card into a bank account. There may be some weeks where I am pushed for time and I don’t want to pay the support workers late because of that. It takes two hours to get the money from my account into the support workers’ accounts as opposed to four days via the card. It’s a no brainer to me.

2) Why am I refusing to submit the support workers’ personal bank account statements along with all the other paperwork Hillingdon expect from me? Well, for starters, it’s none of their damn business. I checked with the information commission who agreed that it was “excessive”. When I set up the bank transfers, the records show the worker’s initials, their NI number and the pay period. Their full names, dates of birth and addresses will be on their contracts, which the council also insist is their right to “examine”. What more do they want?

I’ve reread the personal budget several times (and got a few other people to read it too) and there is no mention that the only way to pay people is directly from the card. There is also no mention that the workers personal bank statements must be submitted for scrutiny. But when Hillingdon say something is their “prefered” way, woe betide you, if you have another preference. I learned that lesson back in 2010.

Let’s wait for May. I’ll stick to my guns which may set about a collision course. I’m not sure whether the entire FACS assessment is reviewed at this stage as well. The support plan lists the two most important outcomes to be achieved by the personal budget as:

1. To maintain physical health and well being and appropriate levels of hygiene.

2. Continued 2-1 support with day to day activities and accessing the community (via direct payments on the prepaid card). To be able to access resources in the community safely and to maintain personal safety and wellbeing. To have meaningful participation in activities that aid development and reflect Steven’s personal choice.

Not a lot to it, is there? Certainly no scope for snow boarding in the Alps.

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From → Social Care

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